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Anatomy of the First Video Game, Born 1958

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the go-ahead-and-present-your-counter-theories dept.

Classic Games (Games) 137

afabbro writes "Fifty years ago, before 'Pong' and 'Space Invaders,' a nuclear physicist created 'Tennis for Two,' a 2-D tennis game that some say was the first video game ever. Built in 1958, it was 'gynormous.' 'In addition to the oscilloscope screen and the controller, the guts of the original game were contained in an analog computer, which is "about as big as a microwave oven."' 'We have to load it into the back of a station wagon to move it. It's not a Game Boy that you put in your pocket.'"

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FUCK JON KATZ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25490733)

and all his articles, like this piece of shit.

Writing quality? (3, Informative)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 5 years ago | (#25490743)

The prefix "gyn" means female. Maybe you meant "ginormous", but even so...

Re:Writing quality? (5, Funny)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#25490795)

Come on now, don't get hysterical.

Re:Writing quality? (1)

kulakovich (580584) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491747)

Use of hysterical: +1

Re:Writing quality? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25490819)

He obviously means to indicate that it is fat and womanly, like the average modern-day video game player.

Re:Writing quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25491063)

Worst post ever!

Re:Writing quality? (3, Insightful)

middlemen (765373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491037)

That error came about because the editor probably hasn't had access to a vagyna in a long time...

Re:Writing quality? (4, Funny)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491659)

With all the rental services around now, that's inexcusable.

Re:Writing quality? (0)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491057)

Now u ter us that!!!!

Re:Writing quality? (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491089)

Agreed. Using ginormous at all is a sure sign of a retard, but misspelling it is next level.

Re:Writing quality? (4, Funny)

lgw (121541) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491535)

Agreed! Clearly "hugantic" is the preferable adjective.

Re:Writing quality? (4, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492691)

True. He should have used gargantuan,after all you so rarely get to use it in a sentence.

Re:Writing quality? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 5 years ago | (#25493689)

Hey-- don't be a big bitch about it!

No, they meant GYN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25490793)

Like in GYGANTIC VAGINA....

pretty good... pretty pretty... good

Where can I download the emulator? (5, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#25490827)

Sounds like a great game!

And I don't want to play pong tennis. I want the whole analog computer emulated in some way and the oscilloscope's vector graphics too.

Re:Where can I download the emulator? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25490879)

you're a dumbass

Re:Where can I download the emulator? (2, Insightful)

FridgeFreezer (1352537) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491399)

Depends how anal you want to be - you could write code that would put out the relevant signals from a soundcard using 3 channels - one for X, one for Y, one for Z (brightness), or perhaps add another channel and run dual-trace with the second one generating the net along the bottom. A standard old dual trace scope for £50 from eBay would be fine for the display.

Depends how anal you want to be (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25492391)

And how analog

Re:Where can I download the emulator? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 5 years ago | (#25493045)

I actually really want an emulator for this as well.

Shopping Cart Pants. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#25490845)

"Built in 1958, it was 'gynormous.' 'In addition to the oscilloscope screen and the controller, the guts of the original game were contained in an analog computer, which is "about as big as a microwave oven."' 'We have to load it into the back of a station wagon to move it. It's not a Game Boy that you put in your pocket.'"

Guess no one had the foresight to invent baggy pants. Youngsters have it easy now.

Re:Shopping Cart Pants. (1)

DeadPixels (1391907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25490945)

Even so, your pocket would have had to be the size of a small country to accommodate the original GameBoy.

Re:Shopping Cart Pants. (1)

Jabbrwokk (1015725) | more than 5 years ago | (#25493691)

So the game was almost as big as an actual tennis court, because station wagons in those days doubled as aircraft carriers.

Re:Shopping Cart Pants. (2, Funny)

Weedlekin (836313) | more than 5 years ago | (#25494675)

That's because marine aircraft were smaller in those days. You wouldn't more than three of today's planes into the back of a 1950s station wagon, and even they'd be a tight fit.

5 Inch Screen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25490847)

I have to wonder why this project was so forgotten if "hundreds of people lined up to play". I'd never heard of it before now.

Re:5 Inch Screen? (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491645)

I've heard of it before...but hundreds of people isn't exactly that many, especially when you're talking about a time before blog-style reporting.

Thank you, captain obvious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25490851)

It's not a Game Boy that you put in your pocket.

You know how sometimes, something in TFS sounds so stupid that reading TFA becomes unthinkable?

Re:Thank you, captain obvious. (4, Funny)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491653)

It's not a Game Boy you put in your pocket. It's a series of tubes. No, literally, I mean it.

video of the game here (1)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 5 years ago | (#25490877)

This shows video of the game [thedoteaters.com] and other's, along with the History of each.

Re:video of the game here (2, Interesting)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491067)

Sorry jumped the gun there is video in the article, but the article I linked to has
Spacewar! - mistakenly said to be the first video game ever.
Magnavox - first ever commercially available home videogame
Nolan Bushnell's - Atari
All with more detail than the main article, along with video.

Re:video of the game here (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25494329)

It depends how you measure the first video game. I count tenis for two as the first computer game because that's what it is. Just because space war was played by more people doesn't change anything.

Re:video of the game here (2, Interesting)

Novus (182265) | more than 5 years ago | (#25494995)

Figuring out what the first video game [wikipedia.org] or first computer game is quickly becomes a matter of definitions. If you allow games that could be played without a computer, e.g. Noughts and Crosses, OXO on the EDSAC in 1952 appears to be the first computer game. U.S. patent #2455992 [pong-story.com] from 1947 describes an early electronic game (arguably a precursor to Missile Command) implemented using technology similar to Tennis for Two.

Re:video of the game here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25495437)

Wasn't there also a "Suitcase computer" (possibly analogue?) that could play a simple guessing game, sometime in the mid 30's? I'm at work away from my books so I don't even know where to start Googling...

Re:video of the game here (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25495889)

Although "Tennis for Two" is clearly a game played on a video monitor, I don't find it too useful to buy something that can only play one game, and nothing else. The first *reprogrammable* videogame would probably be the Fairchild Channel F in 1976. There's no limit to how many games a Channel F can play, except the programmer's imagination.

TRIVIA:

The Atari VCS/2600 was the longest-lived console in history. It arrived in 1977 and officially discontinued manufacturing in 1992, giving it a span of almost fifteen years.

Re:video of the game here (2, Informative)

lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) | more than 5 years ago | (#25495359)

as always, the first varies by the definition of "first". this could be the first graphical game, but turing was playng chess in the early '50 (http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Lab/7378/comphis.htm [geocities.com] ) on univac.

spacewars was the first game on something recognizable as a "computer", and so on.

if stretching the definition of computer to include oscilloscope is valid, then I propose as first video game gladiators fight, which uses swords as controller and display the game trough a high fidelity real reality helmet.

neat trick in space invaders (0, Offtopic)

huwgently (1337863) | more than 5 years ago | (#25490925)

I know it's not what the article is about, but I thought it was a cool hack nonetheless... remember how the invaders changed colour as they moved down the screen? Well it wasn't because they had a full colour screen. Instead different coloured strips of plastic were placed over different areas to give the illusion of a colour display. But I guess most of you knew that...

Re:neat trick in space invaders (1)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492669)

Yeah but it don't work so well in MAME so some people forget that the original had plastic colored strips over the screen.

I still remember the Atari 2600 version of Space Invaders, Invisible Invaders was hard to beat.

Nope, it was the second video game. (5, Interesting)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 5 years ago | (#25490929)

I've seen this story bouncing around the media all week. It's wrong. The first video game was Sandy Douglas' Noughts and Crosses, which took advantage of a 35×16 pixel CRT connected to the EDSAC mainframe at the University of Cambridge in 1952. Unlike Tennis For Two, the computer was digital and you played against the computer - a far more sophisticated effort, actually.

Re:Nope, it was the second video game. (5, Informative)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491111)

And your suggestion is in turn the third oldest according to wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_video_game [wikipedia.org] "

And now for the biggest old game: CDC 6600 (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492079)

The CDC 6600 [moorecad.com] had a version of Pong. Only $5,000,000 and 14 people to run and maintain it.

Re:Nope, it was the second video game. (-1, Troll)

Swizec (978239) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491121)

Don't you get it? America is the world, so if it was built in England they don't care, they're going to say they were the first for as long as it takes to make everyone believe it.

Re:Nope, it was the second video game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25491169)

Don't you get it? America is the world, so if it was built in England they don't care, they're going to say they were the first for as long as it takes to make everyone believe it.

I believe you, now stop complaining!

Re:Nope, it was the second video game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25492027)

Great American Chimp-Out coming 1/20/09 Oooh Oooh oooh Ahh Ahh Bongo Boogie Time!

Re:Nope, it was the second video game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25491469)

Unlike Tennis For Two, the computer was digital and you played against the computer - a far more sophisticated effort, actually.

Yes, implementing an AI in Pong is h4rdzZz.

Move the AI paddle move in the Y-direction with respect to the current Y-coordinates of the ball. Increase AI paddle speed according to desired difficulty.

Although, 50 years ago, given the tools (compilers, languages)available, I'll bet it was kinda a bitch.

This post is a contradiction, mod AC down *slaps head*

Re:Nope, it was the second video game. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25491571)

I've seen this story bouncing around the media all week. It's wrong. The first video game was Sandy Douglas' Noughts and Crosses, which took advantage of a 35×16 pixel CRT connected to the EDSAC mainframe at the University of Cambridge in 1952. Unlike Tennis For Two, the computer was digital and you played against the computer - a far more sophisticated effort, actually.

Actually the Antikythera mechanism was an early hand cranked version of Pong. The first electrically charged game was invented in 28,000 BC. It was called Lightning Rod. Players would gather on a hilltop during a thunderstorm and the first one to get struck by lightning was the winner. The players would then celibrate by burying the dead winner. The game was abandoned several weeks after it was invented due to a lack of willing players.

Re:Nope, it was the second video game. (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491777)

a far more sophisticated effort, actually.

No it's not, tic-tac-toe is a trivially solved game and anyone can tie (or win) if they following something like nine rules. It'd actually be sad if you couldn't write an AI to play it perfectly given that.

The rest of the game wasn't exactly complex either since it didn't have to actually compute much (ie: a bunch of if loops were all it really needed). Computing the physics, edge cases, etc. for something akin to pong is on the other hand can be a major pain in the ass (if done in hardware, for example).

Re:Nope, it was the second video game. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25493075)

No it's not, tic-tac-toe is a trivially solved game and anyone can tie (or win) if they following something like nine rules. It'd actually be sad if you couldn't write an AI to play it perfectly given that.

OK, so tell us how you'd write an AI that follows "something like nine rules", please? I'm dying to see someone code that.

Re:Nope, it was the second video game. (1)

Dzimas (547818) | more than 5 years ago | (#25493293)

Tennis for Two was implemented on analog hardware, which is a bit of a cheat. Noughts and Crosses was coded on a primitive digital mainframe which initially had only 512 18-bit words of storage (later expanded to 1024), implemented in mercury delay lines. The digital logic predated the transistor, so it was all tube-based. Douglas had to cram the code to display a raster image of the board and moves on a CRT, along with key debouncing routines and game logic into less than 1K. And he didn't have an assembler or compiler at his disposal. So, yes, tic-tac-toe is a trivial coding exercise by today's standards, but it was impressive for the early 1950s.

"Not video at all" Re:Nope, it was the second... (1)

Fubari (196373) | more than 5 years ago | (#25494787)

I was surprised that the courts weighed in on what is a "video game" - (excerpt from Magnavox Odyssey [wikipedia.org] ):

In 1985, Nintendo sued Magnavox and tried to invalidate Baer's patents by saying that the first video game was Higinbotham's Tennis For Two game built in 1958. The court ruled that this game did not use video signals and could not qualify as a video game. As a result, Nintendo lost the suit and continued paying royalties to Sanders Associates.

"Tennis for Two... did not use video signals" - wtf? TV vs CRT? I'm surprised that made a difference.

Not the first (2, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25490931)

"It wasn't the first video game" post in 3.. 2.. 1..

Not a Game Boy (1)

sokoban (142301) | more than 5 years ago | (#25490935)

"Back when the original âoeTennis for Twoâ was built, Higinbotham used a vacuum tube analog computer"

So it's not a game boy you put in your pocket, or a big truck?

It must be a series of tubes!

Re:Not a Game Boy (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491415)

It is nice that the summary informs me that something the size of a microwave is, in fact, NOT a gameboy and I can't put it in my pocket. I woulda never figured that out.

Re:Not a Game Boy (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491701)

Oops, apologies. I duplicated your post above, just now.

inb4 get off my lawn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25490981)

But these newfangled chips don't tolerate the big voltage spikes generated by the game's operation as well as the old-school analog computer, and they kept blowing out. Takacs and his colleagues had to put protective circuits in to keep them from being destroyed. The current technology doesn't work as well as the old technology," he says. "It's too sensitive."

Born in 1958.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25491225)

Born in 1958 and still living in its mothers basement..

depends on the definition (1)

jaguth (1067484) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491235)

It depends what the definition of a "video game" is.

If it is anything that can produce visuals that can be manipulated by humans, then yes, Tennis for 2 was the first video game. However, it was not programmed; it is a serious of electrical hard-hacks and an oscilloscope.

It is something that is programmed with software, than Space Wars was the first video game created.

Re:depends on the definition (1)

AtariKee (455870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25493747)

"It is something that is programmed with software, than Space Wars was the first video game created."

Pong, Breakout, and Tank are all solid state hardware machines that didn't run on software in their original, coin-operated forms, and I can safely assume that they're true video games.

There is a debate over Tennis For Two and whether it can be called a video game. I think Steven Kent called it the "first computer game" in his book The Ultimate History Of Video Games, and I took him to task about it in my Syzygy Magazine review of the book. My argument is that just because its a game that runs without software, does not mean it isn't a video game. If this were true, the first true coin-operated video game would be 1975's Gunfight and not the myriad of coinops that were released from 1971 to 1975 that ran on TTL logic and sometimes graphics PROMs.

reminds me of something i used to have (1)

nawcom (941663) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491493)

One time I bought this handheld game for 50 cents at a garage sale - it had the same oscilloscope screen, and for some reason i think it was a soccer game - I was 9 at the time. Anyways, I tried it out and of course didn't like it, so I returned it and said it was broken. I am always curious if that thing was worth any money as an antique.

whatever (1)

meeya (1152133) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491523)

well even it is not the first ever video game , its a great work, and it introduces a real pioneer, of course its not like the pinball but still its a real hard and creative effort.

Tax money (1)

camcorder (759720) | more than 5 years ago | (#25491539)

Good to see where US tax money spent in past.

Re:Tax money (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492309)

Yeah, because video games haven't contributed anything to the economy, created any jobs or in any way driven forward our technological development.

Re:Tax money (1)

pcolaman (1208838) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492407)

As many other industries are struggling, gaming is actually booming. So really, we probably should have more US tax money invested in the gaming market. Hell, I say subsidize a television and game console for every family in America that cannot afford one. It's a good thing I'm poor (or at least that's what I'm going to tell the gaming board when they call to find out if I qualify for a free console).

Re:Tax money (1)

British (51765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492491)

Good to see where US tax money spent in past.

And think of how much revenue & jobs it has created for US companies many years later. I would say it was a damn good investment.

Re:Tax money (1)

AtariKee (455870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25493753)

Imagine what would have happened if the government patented the game...

Re:Tax money (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 5 years ago | (#25493907)

The video on the TFA answers that. Apparently, the game was strung together with demos in the instruction book regarding bouncing balls or ballistic missiles. Higinbotham hadn't even considered it to be patentable before being asked because he felt it was an "oh so obvious" thing to do. Also, the gov't would own the patent.

What was interesting though was his "oh so obvious" thought -- 50 years later and we have companies patenting breathing, eating, and sleeping. I guess not all social values of the 50s were laughable.

Tennis for Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25491625)

Could someone explain where the players are? Whenever I'd see pics of the game, I always noticed there doesn't appear to be any player/paddles on the screen. At best I figured maybe some kind of quirky limitation between the oscilloscope and camera taking the photo (unlikely, but I couldn't think of anything else.)

Now that I get to see video of it in action, I still see nothing resembling players on the oscilloscope. But the people are clearly controlling something other than the return, there's a knob on the controls marked up/down. Are they free to return the ball at any time? Only thing I can think of to keep this from turning into a button mashfest is the player gets one chance to hit the button until the other player returns the ball (and the ball crosses back to their side of the net. So if you hit the button while the ball is on the other side, you lose your chance.)

Dupe :-) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25491933)

Isn't this a dupe with the recent story about the user interface of oscilloscopes? :-)

So it's the same size as an ATX PC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25492217)

I don't understand why the article implies that the computer was somehow grossly unwieldy. Microwave ovens aren't big, they're more or less the same size as an ATX case, in terms of volume, which everybody still uses today. I get the feeling that this was a failed attempt to conjure up images of ENIAC and truly ancient computers.

If you happen to own a station wagon, the back is logically where you would put stuff. If you didn't own a station wagon, you'd have put the computer in the trunk or back seat. What exactly is the purpose of telling us this?

gynormous? (1)

bigbigbison (104532) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492227)

The article contains the word "gynormous" and not in a quote from someone. Is that an acceptable word in a published article? I'm usually pretty lenient on grammar and word choice but that word just seems like something a junior high kid would use.

Gynormous? (1)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492477)

Built in 1958, it was 'gynormous.'

Come on, /. editors, I'm pretty sure the proper English word is "ginormous" (as in gigantic), not "gynormous" (as in a big thing that spins really fast). Look it up.

Re:Gynormous? (2, Insightful)

emandres (857332) | more than 5 years ago | (#25493121)

Actually, "gynormous" is the way they spelled it in TFA. Blame MSNBC.

Court says 1972: (1)

Saysys (976276) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492549)

"These trials defined a video game as an apparatus that displays games by manipulating the video display signal of the raster equipment: a television set, a monitor, etc. The previous computer games did not use a video display, so did not qualify as such in the courts."

sorry folks you'll have to wait until the middle of Hilary's second term in order to celebrate 50 years of video games.

Re:Court says 1972: (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#25494967)

You mean the first game won't be invented until after hell freezes over?

Games as inspiration (5, Interesting)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492559)

I remember the first computer I ever saw, on display in a mall, circa 1975-76. Some homebrew thing, probably about as beefy as a VIC-20. It was playing the old "guess the card" game: think of a card? Is it red? Is it a spade? Is it higher than 8? And so forth, guessing your card fairly quickly (basic binary search).

At 9 years old, I thought that was pretty cool. My dad bought me a few computer mags of the day (Creative Computing and the like), and I got the gist of basic. I remember writing out my first "program" in a Hilroy scribbler, trying to clone what that computer did. Basically 52 or so IF/ELSE statements for every case. Brute force, but hey, I was 9. When I learned that I could use variables to reduce it to a few lines of code, I was hooked; there was no going back.

Got my first computer, an Exidy Sorcerer (Z-80, 1Mhz or so), and had a great time learning the ins and out, writing and selling a few games, pimping it out, and pushing it to the limits. Even got a job (at 11) working on an APL Interpreter for the Z-80. (I was basically paid in hardware :).

On through the PC generation, university, 286, 386, a career in programming, emergence of the Internet, founding a .COM (worth $100M on paper at one time, whoo hoo, damn paper :), and two more subsequent companies.

But it all really started seeing that 8080 play a simple game of "guess the card." If it weren't for seeing that, and getting inspired, who knows where the career might have led.

I'm not sure if today's games could inspire kids in the simple way that old game did for me. The skills and techniques involved in a modern rendered game are so far beyond the grasp of the average kid, the inspiration might be lost, requiring too great a leap to "get it."

Re:Games as inspiration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25494339)

Given that early history, what notable software have you written?

Re:Games as inspiration (3, Insightful)

Kirth Gersen (603793) | more than 5 years ago | (#25495847)

PhotoGuy:

I'm not sure if today's games could inspire kids in the simple way that old game did for me. The skills and techniques involved in a modern rendered game are so far beyond the grasp of the average kid, the inspiration might be lost, requiring too great a leap to "get it."

I read a sf story about 25 years ago about a human expedition to a planet with a humanoid civilization at a roughly mediaeval level. They identified a native scientist who was on the brink of discovering Newtonian mechanics, and became highly concerned that if he observed any of their post-Newtonian gadgetry it would make him doubt his whole line of research.

Children's games used to embody mechanical principles by necessity. Now, computer games link action and effect by completely arbitrary rules. We are teaching children to inhabit an entirely magical world.

Size of a Microwave (1)

Agent of Nowhere (1392777) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492579)

In the future, consoles may weigh no more than 1.5 tonnes.

Technically it isn't (1, Insightful)

Orion Blastar (457579) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492655)

because an oscilloscope screen is not the same as a video screen. It is the first oscilloscope game, but not the first video game.

A video screen is like a TV set or Monitor, an oscilloscope screen is something quite different. It shows waves not pixels. Video games have pixels. Even vector video games still use pixels and not waves. It is like saying that a curved line is the same thing as a square or dot, or that a screwdriver is the same thing as a hammer. While they may have things in common, they are not quite the same thing.

Sorry to nitpick.

Re:Technically it isn't (1)

scoot80 (1017822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492697)

You've never use a screwdriver as a hammer? I certainly have!

Re:Technically it isn't (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492783)

And even if it were a video screen and not an oscilloscope screen, it still wouldn't be the first, as OXO in 1952 on the EDSAC predated it.

(Yes, there was NIMROD, but that didn't use a video screen. Although, sounds like the first computer game ever, in 1947, a missile simulator game (going from wikipedia here) used a vector video screen.)

Re:Technically it isn't (1)

Subgenius (95662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492817)

Wow. Where did you get that definition of a video game? "video games have pixels"

Simply amazing.

Re:Technically it isn't (2, Informative)

mzs (595629) | more than 5 years ago | (#25493561)

Man do you fail. "Vector" games used CRTs much like oscilloscopes. Some even used storage scopes. The video in video game does not need to be a raster display.

Re:Technically it isn't (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25495821)

This is so completely stupid and wrong.

A raster display on a cathode ray tube is created by scanning the electron beam in horizontal lines from top to bottom, while varying the beam intensity.

A vector display uses the electron beam to draw lines directly on the screen. They were popular in early CAD applications and Atari used them for several 3D games (e.g. Star Wars) because they were capable of much higher resolution than the raster displays of the time.

In other words, an oscilloscope is much the same thing as a TV - the difference is in how the electron beam is controlled. But all of this has fuck all to do with any definition of video game.

Anyone have more information? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492751)

I broke the slashdot rule and decided to RTFA. I even watched the movie of the game in action. However, I still couldn't figure out one thing.

How does a player know where they are standing on the tennis court? If you watch the movie you can see that they can volley the ball back from multiple positions on the court, but I couldn't see where the player was standing on the court.

Anyone know? I have some colleagues that are out at Brookhaven the next few days, but I doubt they'll have time to stop by and see it.

Re:Anyone have more information? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25492935)

You aren't, as such. Your controls are a potentiometer to set an angle, and a button to hit. You can hit the ball at any time that it is on your side of the court. There was a better article about it linked here about a year back, had a version that had been rewritten for modern machines and even network play.

Re:Anyone have more information? (2, Informative)

black_lbi (1107229) | more than 5 years ago | (#25495549)

[...] had a version that had been rewritten for modern machines and even network play.

http://gamersquarter.com/tennisfortwo/ [gamersquarter.com]

1964 Worlds Fair - Hitatchi (1)

wa2flq (313837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492851)

Anyone out there remember a CRT based display at the Hitachi exhibit that modeled a ride into Space? I suspect it was a very simple analogue circuit or computer.

If so, any references to it on the web?

Balin (1)

mqduck (232646) | more than 5 years ago | (#25492861)

Look, I have no idea how it happened - I'm just really sleepy and can barely keep my eyes open - but when I first read the story title, I thought it said it was a "Vice President Game". Which I assume would consist of starting up the game and waiting upwards of four years for a dialog box to pop up letting you choose between "Yea" and "Nay".

Re:Balin (1)

emandres (857332) | more than 5 years ago | (#25493177)

Who knows, it might include some pretty intense "hunting accident" scenes.

It's not a _video_ game (3, Insightful)

Casandro (751346) | more than 5 years ago | (#25493581)

It'S not a video game, it has nothing to do with video. It's just an analog computer game, that's all. No video involved. And computer games are in fact probably even older, even digital ones.

Re:It's not a _video_ game (1)

AtariKee (455870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25493857)

I think this argument will continue forever. I will say that your point of view makes more sense than the "it's not programmed, so it's not a true video game" argument that I attempt to rebuff here [slashdot.org] . I still think it's a question of semantics that all depends on ones point of view. Therefore, I won't argue semantics and stick to my "programmed vs hardware" point of view.

Re:It's not a _video_ game (1)

Casandro (751346) | more than 5 years ago | (#25494033)

Wait! If it's programmed it includes a computer which makes it a computer game.

There are only very few video games around. The most famous one is Pong. Games on consoles like the 2600 or the Nintendo NES are computer games as they are completely done in software executed by a computer.

Re:It's not a _video_ game (1)

AtariKee (455870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25494221)

"Wait! If it's programmed it includes a computer which makes it a computer game."

Exactly my point. Tomato, toemahtoe :)

Re:It's not a _video_ game (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25494493)

That's because we're talking about the first computer game and you're confusing the issue.

The first computer game is a game that is computed. Hence tennis for two is the first computer game, or video game if you want to use American slang.

1958... (1)

matthew_t_west (800388) | more than 5 years ago | (#25493959)

I'm really fuckin' glad I started gaming in 1985 instead.

MTW

I don't remember properly, but... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25494199)

Before Tennis for Two at MIT back in 56 a game was created on the huge machine, operated with a bunch of switches, was an asteroid-like game but multiplayer against each other, not asteroids.

I need to re-read Stephen Levy's "Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution" again, that's where I read about it.

Re:I don't remember properly, but... (1)

AtariKee (455870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25494241)

You might be right about the GENESIS of Spacewar!, which is the game you're referring to. But it wasn't actually completed by Steve Russell until 1962. Hackers has an extensive story about the MIT model train club and how some of those guys ended up hacking the PDP-1 or whatever it was they wrote Spacewar! on.

Re:I don't remember properly, but... (1)

Khyber (864651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25494437)

PDP-1 was it, yes. The original incarnation was made on the PDP-1 back in I think 56, maybe 57 (gotta find that book!)

Re:I don't remember properly, but... (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 5 years ago | (#25494487)

Spacewar came after not before.

Upcoming patent (1)

CSLarsen (961164) | more than 5 years ago | (#25494955)

"Device to allow one or more persons use a computer for recreational activity"
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