The Pi Pong clock

First of all, thank you to everybody who sponsored us on yesterday’s London to Cambridge bike ride in support of Breakthrough Breast Cancer. We got to the end unscathed, Eben “won” by sprinting away from the rest of the pack about five miles out at Duxford, and many cereal bars and bananas were consumed. If you’d still like to sponsor us, you can do so at JustGiving.

Eben (can’t sing in tune, makes a mean risotto), James Adams (director of hardware, brews beer in his garage, welds things) and Emma (office manager, PhD in entomology, knows more about ladybirds than anyone else alive, good at punching). Click to sponsor.

Back to the matter at hand. We found a Pong clock on YouTube, powered (of course) by a Raspberry Pi. It made us laugh. One side wins once an hour, the other once a minute: the result is a clock that’s weirdly compelling to watch.

Don Clark, the Mind Behind, has made the code available at his Bitbucket account: it’s written in Python, and you’ll need PyGame to run it; Don was using Raspbian as his OS.

Let us know if you incorporate a Pi into your home decoration scheme. We thought this was a super-cute way to tell the time.



Dutch_Master avatar

Liz, you need to put up the correct video ;-)

Dutch_Master avatar

Right, solved :)

The Raspberry Pi Guy avatar

Congratulations you guys! Hope you raised lots of money and I wish I could of been there!

That Pong clock is too cool. Too cool. Might just make one myself me thinks!

The Raspberry Pi Guy

Martin OHanlon avatar

I love the pypong clock… Very imaginative.

Krishna avatar

That’s cool idea.

brox avatar

Excellent idea)

Zak avatar

Originally, I thought pong clock would some how involve dropping ping pong balls…

colin allison avatar


For some reason, I cannot see any video, just a large white space.


liz avatar

Odd – you’re the second person today who it’s not displaying properly for. Have you tried clearing your cache?

colin allison avatar

Yes – just cleared it again and still no video. It has never been visible for since the piece was put up.

I am running on WIN 7 64 bit, and FF v.22

colin allison avatar

Just tried on IE v10 and no video, but a big black square this time. No run radio button to click either.


colin allison avatar

Maybe you could give a clickable link too?

brox avatar

If it does not work on youtube, something with your computer is really wrong)

colin allison avatar

Thanks Brox – you’re a star!

Since this all happened, the problem cleared. I had tried clearing cache numerous times, disabling adblock and the other add-on I have installed, Disconnect. None of these solved it. I even rebooted with all these things done. So, after re-enabling my add-ons, and browsing elsewhere for a while, I came back and the videos are now visible. Another MS undocumented feature?


Jim Manley avatar

Hilarious! It takes longer to get to the current time than I would prefer and sometimes lags as much as a minute behind, but is entertaining.

For code providers, if you’re going to post source, please include a .zip file containing all of the files/directories with as short a direct URL as possible so that everything can be downloaded with a single wget. Lightweight Pi browsers don’t display typical browser-based source management site pages properly (especially those with gobs of Javascript) and don’t react to button presses correctly. Heavyweight browsers that do allow proper display and operation can barely run on the Pi.

Don Clark avatar

Thanks for the suggestion. I added a link to the zip in the YouTube video.

colin allison avatar

Just noticed that the video in the Carputer piece has disappeared too. Strange!


The Raspberry Pi Guy avatar

Seems to be working perfectly for everyone running Chrome… Give that a try?

The Raspberry Pi Guy

Juan avatar

This idea has actually been available as a screensaver for a few years now. The screensaver was very buggy though!

I still like it :)

AndrewS avatar

It also tends to crop up quite often on the HackADay site ;-)

Jonathan avatar

Weird. My display has been fine. Windows Vista Dell inspiron 530 using newest bleeding edge of Google Chrome.

Don Clark avatar

Thanks for the comments.

It definitely wasn’t an original idea of mine to build a clock around pong. I saw one on the web 5 or 6 years ago that used a microprocessor. Implementing that would have taken too long for me, using the Rpi I was able to do this over a weekend.

If anyone builds one please let me know. My email address is in the source code.

David Booth avatar

If Eben broke away from the pack to “win” at a charity cycle event, does that mean he is competitive, just a keen cyclist or could smell the beer at the finish line? ;-)

liz avatar

All three, I fear.

Giles avatar

Memo to self: make sure new monitor can’t tip over when attacked by cat.

Robert_M avatar

Eben seems to have his
Jason Statham “Transporter” persona down pat. Not a cyclist to be trifled with.

RandomDude avatar

Haha, I been thinking he looks like Jason for a while xD. Just goes to show when RaspberryPi Magic ain’t happening, they are still being heroes for other charities =)

Carolon Ulrich avatar

I love it!! :)

? avatar

Doesn’t work for me, it only shows 00:00?! And when playing 01:00 and so on, but not correct time?!

don clark avatar

Is the time set on your pi?

The score initially starts at 00:00. At first the left hand player will score to increase the score until it matches the hour. Then the right hand player.

? avatar

Wahoo! When waiting for matching, it runs fine. Using it now under debian wheezy on my laptop. Thank you. :-)

duck jane avatar

Jason Statham on the left :O

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