The History of Video Games – The First Video Game

I’ve been especially interested in the history of video games as a retro-gamer for a long moment. More specifically, “What was the first video game ever created?” is a topic I’m very enthusiastic about. So I began a comprehensive study on this topic, and made this first article in a series of posts covering in depth all the history of video game.

history of video games

The query was: What was the first ever video game? 

The reply: Well, because there are many things in life, this issue may not be simple to answer. You can choose the definition of’ video game’ yourself. E.g.: When you think of the first video game, are you talking about the first video game that created for commercial purpose, the console device or maybe the first digital video games?

This is why I created a list of 4-5 video games, including some of the starters in the video gaming world, one way or another. Here you will realize that the very first video games have not been developed for any of them to benefit (there were no Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, Sega, Atari, or other video games companies back during those decades). In reality, most people of those days never have a thought that the concept of a “video game” or digital device was solely created for “have fun when playing video game”.

1940s: Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device.

The first electronic game device ever produced (with formal documentation). It was developed by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. The game was put together in the 1940’s and in January 1947 it was registered for a US Patent. It was also the first electronic game system to have ever received a patent, which awarded the patent in December 1948 (US Patent 2 455, 992).

The patent defined it as a system of analog circuits, which was equipped with a set of knobs to move a dot on the screen of the cathode ray tube. It was motivated by the appearance of rockets in the WWII radar and the aim of the match was merely to check a “rocket” to reach the destination. In the 1940s, displaying graphics in the Cathode ray tube was extremely hard (not impossible). Only the real “missile” was displayed because of this. On the display screen, the target as well as any other objects were displayed manually. Most people also said that the popular “Missile Command” video game of Atari has been developed after this device.

The History of Video Games – 1951: NIMROD

NIMROD was a digital device’s name from the 1950’s. This computer was designed by the technicians of a UK business called Ferranti, which wanted the instrument to be shown at the 1951 British Festival (and later shown in Berlin).

NIM is a two-player strategic game that is believed to develop from ancient China. The NIM concept is simple: a certain number of groups (or “heaps”) exist, each group consists a certain amount of objects (3 heaps comprising 3, 4 and 5 objects). Every other player will take turns to remove items from heaps, but all objects removed will be from one heap and at least one object will be eliminated. The player taking the final object of the last heap loses, but there is a match variant where the player wins the final object of the last heap.

NIMROD used a display panel for lighting and has been designed and made for the sole purpose of playing a NIM game, making it the very first digital computer to be created specifically for playing a game (the idea was however to show and demonstrate how a computer works, not to enjoy and to enjoy). Due to its absence as a display of “rack videos” (a TV set, screen, etc.) many individuals do not regard it as an actual “video game” (an electronic game, yes… a video game, no…). But once more, when you speak about a “video game,” it relies on your perspective.

The History of Video Games – 1952: OXO (“Noughts and Crosses”)

This was a “Tic-Tac-Toe” digital version developed for an EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator) computer. It has been intended and not created for amusement by Alexander S. Douglas of the University of Cambridge. It was subject of his PhD thesis on “Interactions between humans and a computer.”

The match rules are those of a standard computer player Tic-Tac-Toe (no 2-player choice was provided). The technique of input was a rotating dial (as in the outdated phones). The result was displayed in a cathode-ray tube display of 35×16 pixels. This game was never very famous because the EDSAC computer was only accessible at Cambridge University, so it could not be installed or played anywhere else, until a couple pf years latter when an EDSAC emulator was developed and then a number of other good video games had also been accessible.

The History of Video Games – 1958: Tennis for Two.

William Higinbotham, a Brookhaven National Laboratory physician, developed Tennis for Two. It really was a game that took tourists to the laboratory to play in “the visitor’s day” (finnaly!… a video game produced “just for fun”…) as a means of entertainment. The video game has been a beautiful history.

Well-designed for its time: the conduct of the ball was changed by various variables, such as gravity, wind speed, contact positions, etc; the net as in real tennis was to be avoided, and so much more. Two “joysticks” (two controllers with a rotating knob and push button) were added to the video game hardware, linked to an analog console and displayed with an oscilloscope.

Many consider “Tennis for Two” the first ever made video game. However, several other people again vary from this concept of “it was a computer game and not a video game” or that “the output screen was an oscilloscope and not a video show of “raster”… so it would not count as a video game.” But well, well, well. It is hard to make everybody happy.

“Tennis for Two” is also rumored to inspire the huge hit of Atari “Pong,” but the rumor has always been heavily negated. For apparent purposes.

The History of Video Games – 1961: Spacewar!

“Spacewar!” was Stephen Russell’s video game produced, with J’s assistance. Peter Samson, MIT’s Martin Graetz, Alan Kotok and Wayne Witanen, along with Dan Edwards. Back in the 1960s, MIT was “the correct decision” to do experiments and growth on computing. 

Therefore this half dozen creative people were instructed to learn from a brand new machine and anticipated to arrive very quickly on campus (a DEC PDP-1) and began to think about what type of hardware testing programmes. When they discover the installation of an “CRT precision display,” they immediately chose the PDP-1’s software for demonstration “some sort of visual / interactive game.”

And it was decided quickly to be a space fighting game or something comparable after some debate. All other thoughts came up quite quickly after this choice: like game laws, concept design, ideas for programming, and so on.

So the first version of the game was finally prepared for testing after 200 hours of job. The game formed of two spacecraft, “pencil” or “wedge,” which were appointed affectively by the players, shooting each other with a star at the center of the screen (which, because of its gravity, “drives” both of the spaceships). A set of control switches (rotation, velocity, rockets, and “hyperspace”) were used to regulate each spacecraft. The hyperspace choice was like a “panic button” in case there was no other way out. (it could “save or break”). Each spacecraft have a restricted quantity of fuel and arms.

The MIT learners and the programmers succeeded immediately and quickly began their own game program modifications (like true star charts for background, star / no-star options, options for disabling background and angular momentum). The game code has been transferred to several other computer systems (some were transported mostly to newer / lower DEC systems like thePDP-10andPDP-11 because the video display was a hard-to-find choice in the 1960s).

Spacewar! Not only is it regarded by many to be the first “true” video game (since there is a video screen in this game), the true predecessor of the initial arcade game has been demonstrated as well as being inspired by many video game players, consoles and even video gamers (can you say “Atari?”…). But that’s another story, arcade and video games consoles were published on another video game history page (so be prepared for future articles about them).

So here you are, the nominees of the “First Video Game.” Who do you believe is the first ever video game?

If you ask me, I believe all of these games were revolutionary and should be recognized as the first video gaming revolution. What is really crucial, instead of searching for which one was the first video game, is that the time was produced. As Stephen Rusell, the founder of “Spacewar!” once said: “If I hadn’t done it, in the next six months somebody would have done similarly interesting things or even better.

Source : The History Of Video Games – Wikipedia