If you want to use my idea, feel free to take it an run with it. Just promise to cut me in for a small share. ;-)
Pong is tired because it's a flat the game needs to evolve.
At the start screen you first choose a character, like baseball player, karate guy, lacrosse player, soccer player, etc.
- Stage 1: classic pong, that looks nearly identical to the classic. Only some minor variation based on your character choice. For example, the baseball player may have a little longer paddle, and the soccer player can get more deflection on the puck if he hits it on the edges. The puck slowly gets faster with each hit (to ensure the round progresses quickly). Play to 6 or whatever round-number so puck serves to each side equal #'s.
- Stage 2: upgraded pong. I call it "force pong" in my notes. You have the ability to hit a button to effect the puck. Effects depends on character. Baseball = harder (but less deflection) . Lacrosse may nab the puck for a split second and release it with extremely high deflection, karate guy "damages" the puck so on it's next rebound to him it travels at a slighter slower speed, etc. If you use a special effect then it take xx seconds to recharge, and your paddle moves slower while you recharge.
- Stage 3: 3D pong, with player. Now you see a 2D render of your selected character, and the world looks like a 'Street Fighter' type match-up screen. There are now physics in the game (gravity from top of screen toward bottom) will pull the puck downward, etc. Instead of only slide up and down now you need to crouch, stand, jump, or double jump to get to the puck. Players still only get very basic "effects" on the puck. Eg, baseball guy can get line-drive and bunt.
- Stage 4: battle ball. Same as above but now you get attacks and more special moves. (And ability to go into a "block" stance). Lacrosse player tries to peg you with a rock, baseball player "greases the ball" to reduce your deflection or even allow ball to go past on a near-hit. All effects still only effect the puck movement, or effect the players move speed or special power attacks. Scoring is still classic pong style: ball goes past == 1 point.
- Stage 5: Hero mode. Your players turn full-blown comic book style, with styling like Street Fighter. You now have a full retinue of moves. Your scoring in rounds 1-2 determine your health bar, and rounds 3-4 determine your special power bar and recharge speed. Now is the only "real" round to determine the winner. Any puck that goes past you now only lowers your health a bit, and then it will rebound back to the opposing player. This allows fast, non-stop action, and the potential for combo attacks. Karate guy can now throw energy balls, baseball guy can hit a line-drive flaming ball directly at the opponent (stand in way == health damage, block == slight damage, but successful riposte == extremely high speed return), etc.
As you can see, this game becomes more of a classic 2D fighter than just straight pong. But it sticks with the heart of pong since at it's heart it's still a "goal defense" game. I think it'd be fun to play. You can also offer a direct-to-stage-5 mode to play for players that only want the "final" game.
Anyhow, I hope somebody sees this, and thinks it's worth a shot. I wish you the best of luck! If you want to catch me you can email me at my username at gmail.com.