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I ran my own blog from November 2006 till October 2014. All posts are still online, but I don't have time to update it anymore. Please note that all images and media files have been removed when the backup was moved to a new host in early 2016. Enjoy!

The Very First Video Game Ever Released (And It's NOT Pong)

11. december 2007

When asked about the very first video game ever released most experts will tell you that it was Pong, the famous table tennis inspired video game released in 1972 by Atari Inc. But Pong wasn't the first one, as a company called Nutting Associates had already released their Computer Space game in 1971.

Computer Space was created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabne, who later founded Atari. The gaming idea was based on Spacewar! (see below), but the really revolutionary concept was to create a machine specifically for a game (instead of programming a game for an existing hardware). The classic arcade game had been invented.

The game was quite simple, you had to control a space ship and would fire missiles at flying saucers. Computer Space's technology was very primitive - no microprocessor and no modern memory architecture, the entire minimalistic computer was made of only 74 logic circuits using diode arrays as memory. But it came in an outstanding futuristic cabinet, which was available in various colors.

 

While the Computer Space game was quite successful on college campuses, it didn't perform well in bars. It was probably too complicated back then, as people had never seen such a kind of game before. Pong, which was a huge success only shortly after, was much more easy to play and to understand.

While Computer Space was the first computer game available for the public, the were games even before it. Bill Pitts and Hugh Tuck had programmed Galaxy Game two months before Computer Space was released (in September 1971), but it was only available at Stanford University. Galaxy Game, again, was based on Spacewar!, a game created on a PDP-1 back in 1961 by Steve "Slug" Russell, Martin "Shag" Graetz and Wayne Wiitanen.

If you liked this post then you may also read the post about the Intellivision, which was the first 16 bit console ever released (1979).