Model # C-100
Consumer sales and marketing was an entirely new direction for Atari who had up till that time only dealt in the coin-op area. Distribution would be the key, and Atari didn't have any on the retail level. Atari needed help and found it in the form of Sears Roebuck & Co. Well.... just barely. It was gentleman from of all places, Sporting Goods within Sears who was the one who made the decision. His name was Tom Quinn and it was he who gambled on the new product to add to Sears catalog, a home version of Pong which had become so popular in the bar scene. During a demonstration of the Home version of Pong at Sears headquarters Al Alcorn ran into several problems with the unit, but quick thinking and some skilled tinkering quickly solved a channel setting issue in the rats nest of wires inside the base of the demo home Pong and Sears was sold.
Atari went into production with the idea of selling 50,000 units. Atari ended up doing nearly 150,000 in total for the Christmas '75 season. People were waiting two hours in line to sign-up on a list just to get an Atari home version of Pong.
The combination of the Sears retail channel, Atari's name and well known "PONG" label all came together to form a sales explosion of Home Pong units that would overshadow the Magnavox "Odyssey" console line. The "Odyssey" was the first home video game console, yet poor marketing and sales pitches by un-knowledgeable sales persons hindered its sales figures. Also Atari Pong had full color graphics, score counter and excellent sound effects, giving it a better advantage over the string of Magnavox "Odyssey" series of consoles that followed.
According to Al Alcorn - the original Home Pong chip was designed on a system called an Applicon Machine. To see the machine in operation - follow this link to a YouTube video showing this highly advanced system which was designed around a DEC PDP-11 Minicomputer and uses a very advanced vector graphics display:
Currently the Atari Museum archives has on file the original Mainframe tape with the PG Chip data for the original Home Pong chip. The Atari Museum has contacted Applicon's Alumni to request assistance in the restoration and recovery of the original circuit data for Atari's first custom chip.