It was on this day in 1972 that Atari officially released Pong. A prototype of the game had been in a California tavern for the past two months, and the machine was so popular that it kept breaking due to an overflow of quarters. After having been turned down by most major banks for financing (due to pinball machines, the closest thing to arcade games at the time, being associated with organized crime) the company was finally able to secure funding and start manufacturing the game to sell to bars and taverns. By the end of the following year they sold over 2,500 units, inspiring many copy-cat versions. A home version was released in 1975 and it is now considered the product that launched the video game industry.
The earliest event that Wiki says happened on this day is “800 – Charlemagne arrives at Rome to investigate the alleged crimes of Pope Leo III” and the most recent are two from 2007: “The Armed Forces of the Philippines lay siege to The Peninsula Manila after soldiers led by Senator Antonio Trillanes stage a mutiny” and “A 7.4 magnitude earthquake occurs off the northern coast of Martinique. This affected the Eastern Caribbean as far north as Puerto Rico and as far south as Trinidad.”
A couple other things that also took place on this day are:
1942 – As part of the war effort, coffee rationing begins for civilians in the US.
1975 – President Ford signs into law a requirement for states to provide an education to handicapped children.
Happy birthday to Tom Sizemore, Howie Mandel, Joel Coen, Jeff Fahey, Barry Goudreau, Felix Cavaliere, and Chuck Mangione.