Introduction: PONG Video Game Costume
Second Prize in the
Halloween Costume Contest
Originally released in 1972, the game PONG was one of the first successful video games. It simulated a game of table tennis with a ball that bounced between two paddles that players moved up and down on the sides of the screen.
This costume is fun homage to those simpler days, and it's sure to get attention at your Halloween party. You can play it by yourself or invite friends to take each paddle while you bounce the "ball" between them. It's quick and easy to put together and only requires about $15 in materials and an hour of time.
Step 1: Materials & Tools
- Black foam core board – 20″x30″
- White tape - duct tape, electrical tape, whatever you’ve got
- Styrofoam block at least 2″x4″x8″ (or enough smaller pieces sized as needed)
- Face paint – black and white
- Scrap cardboard – 6″x12″
- Elastic band – 1″ x 18″
- Skewer, metal coat hanger, or 1/8″ dowel
- X-Acto knife
Step 2: The Board
Cut the white tape into 1″ strips and apply it as a border around the foam core board, slightly inset from the edge.
Cut some more of the tape into 1″ squares and apply it as a dotted line down the middle of the board, one inch between each piece. Skip the middle, because you’ll be cutting that out to put your face through.
What score do you want your game board to show? Cut some blocky, pixelated numbers from the tape and apply them at the top of the board on each side of the center line.
Cut a face-sized hole in the center of the foam core board, then tape or glue the elastic band on both sides of the opening in the back of the board. How much elastic to use depends on how big your head is.
Cut a 1/4″ slot along the short sides of the foam core board, far enough from the border that your paddle stays in bounds. The paddle handles will slide in these slots.
Step 3: Ball and Paddles
Cut two paddles from the styrofoam, each 2"x2"x6". You can use the X-Acto knife if you go in from each side of the styrofoam rather than going all the way through from one side.
Cut two handles from the scrap cardboard, cut a slot about an inch deep down the center of each paddle, then insert and glue the handles. The notch between the handle and the styrofoam lets you hook your paddles onto the board when you take your hands off for a break from game play.
Cut a 2" cube from the styrofoam to use as a ball. You might be tempted to make a round ball, since that's how most balls are, but don't. Remember that it's a low-res game!
Cut the skewer, coat hanger, or dowel to 12″ long. Blacken it with a marker, stain, or even the face paint so that it disappears against the background of the foam core board, then spear it into the foam cube.
Step 4: Face Paint
Strap on the foam core board and use the white makeup to mark where on your face the white dots would continue down the middle of the board. Take the game board off, then fill the dots with white. Cover the the rest of your face with black. If you pay attention to where the edge of the board's opening is, you might not need to cover all the way to the sides of your face.
Step 5: Insert Coin
From the front of the board, insert a handle into each slot. Grasp the handle from the back and move it up and down to make sure it's not binding. If it is, widen the slot a little.
Put the end of stick in your mouth to move the ball back and forth between the paddles. Be careful! You don't want to fall or be bumped with a stick in your mouth.
Be warned that if you need a break and take off the game board, you're going to get a lot of questions about your costume because all they'll see is a black face with white dots down the middle. Bring a toy car and you can be a road!
Now head out and serve that high score!
*video sound effects were added in editing, but you can easily make your own beeps and boops as you move the ball around
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