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Atari co-founder Ted Dabney dead at age 81: reports

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A version of Pong is played on the orignial Magnovox Odyssey 200 during the launch party for the International Video Game Hall of Fame and Museum on August 13, 2009 in Ottumwa, Iowa. — AFP

San Francisco — Atari co-founder Samuel “Ted” Dabney, who helped create hit video game “Pong,” has died at the age of 81 at his Northern California home, according to reports.

His death was announced Saturday in a Facebook post by a friend, Leonard Herman.

“RIP dear friend,” Herman wrote of San Francisco-born Dabney.

“Your legacy will live on a long time!”

The New York Times on Thursday cited confirmation from Dabney’s wife that her husband died on May 26 from cancer.

Electrical engineer Dabney and Nolan Bushnell founded Atari in June 1972 and began shipping “Pong” arcade machines later that year, according to the company’s website.

The game was a digital spin on table tennis, with players using joy sticks to slide on-screen paddles to serve and return balls represented by squares of light.

“Pong” became a sensation and coin-operated machines could be found in pubs, bowling allies, and shopping malls, as well as arcades.

California-based Atari and Pong have been credited with helping lay the foundation for the multi-billion dollar video game industry existing today.

“Ted Dabney, who we lost on Saturday, designed the incredible, true genius circuit behind ‘Computer Space’ and ‘Pong,’ which truly and directly has its beautiful tendrils in every pixel you will ever see,” video game designer and industry icon Jonathan Seamus Blackley said in a tweet from his official account.

“Think of him today, and thank him.” — AFP