- Golden Age
Early History of Video Games
1940 - 1969
E.U. Condon built “Nimatron”, a computer capable of playing the game Nim.
The Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device was invented by Thomas Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann. It uses a cathode ray screen which shows a parabolic arc representing the trajectory of an artillery shell. A player would turn knobs to control the path and explosion delay to hit a target.
Alan Turing created an artificial intelligence that could play chess.
“Bertie the Brain” was invented by Josef Kates as the first arcade game, based on Tic-Tac-Toe.
The NIMROD computer was built based on Condon’s Nimatron.
Christopher Strachey created a simulation of the game Draughts for the Pilot ACE.
Dietrich Prinz, a colleague of Turing, wrote a limited program of chess, capable only of “Mate-in-two” problems.
Interactive Visual Games
OXO was created by Alexander Douglas, simulating a game of Tic-Tac-Toe.
William Higinbotham created the game Tennis for Two, a version of tennis or ping-pong.
1957 - 1961
A collection of games were created on MIT’s TX-0 computer, including Tic-Tac-Toe and Mouse in the Maze, in which users drew walls and cheese with a light pen, and a dot representing a mouse would navigate the maze to find the cheese. Tic-Tac-Toe also used the light pen.
Digital Computer Games
Martin Graetz, Steve Russell, and Wayne Wiitanen created the game Spacewar!, a two-player game that had players engage in a dogfight against a randomly generated star field in the background.
Multiple games were released for purchase in an IBM catalog. These included board games and Three-Dimensional Tic-Tac-Toe.
Edward Steinberger developed a dice game on the PDP-5.
John Kemeny created a baseball simulation, later edited by Keith Bellairs, in BASIC.
Ken Thompson programmed Space Travel for a Multics system. This led to the Unix operating system.
The Sumer Game, one of the first strategy games, was made by Doug Dyment.