Plyojump - Computer History

Computer History - Computer and Console Games (1952-Present)

Good general link for computer game history

OXO The first computer-based game (1952)

For his thesis on human to computer interaction, Alexander Sandy Douglas develops the first grpahics based computer game, plus breaks ground in artificial intelligence with his game OXO (aka Noughts and Crosses). Using a EDSAC vacuum-tube computer, code written on punch cards and a cathode ray tube to display the graphics, the game allows the players to compete with a computer in a game of Tic-Tac-Toe.

OXO game screen

YouTube linke to a modern simulation of OXO

Tennis For Two

The "second" conputer game, it used analog computing rather than a digital computer

Tennis for two tennis for two crator

Spacewars (1960) - the first multiuser real-time computer game

PDP - 1

The PDP-1 at MIT - location of the first versions of Spacewar

spacewar screen 2spacewar screen 3

Screens from Spacewar showing two player's spaceships moving to attack, and a spaceship caught by the gravitational field of a star. The starfield is a real map of the night sky.

More on Spacewar -


Maze Wars (1974)- the first networked, 3D, multiplayer game using avatars to represent players

The PDS-I at NASA-Ames (1972)


Mazewar interface (1974) showing HUD map, eyeball avatar, corridor 3D environment

Mazewar interface mazewar onscreen

Link to movie showing Mazewar being played on a PDS-I networked with modern computers

Digibarn's Mazewar History


The Arcade era - Spacewar is commercialized

In the Spring of 1971, while still working for Ampex, Bushnell along with fellow engineer Ted Dabney, started crafting their own version of Spacewar! named Computer Space. They worked out of Bushnell’s daughter Britt’s bedroom, turning it into a computer lab in which they could engineer their masterpiece. Ultimately, they founded Atari and developed the first generation of Arcade games.

Computer SpacePong Pong original


centipede battlezone

The arcade era experienced its "golden age" in the early 1980s, and waned after high-performance consoles and personal computers became commonplace in US homes.


Adventure - the first role-playing game

Colossal Cave Adventure (also known as ADVENTColossal Cave, or Adventure) was originally designed by Will Crowther, a programmer and caving enthusiast who based the layout on part of the Mammoth Cave system inKentucky. The Colossal Cave subnetwork has many entrances, one of which is known as Bedquilt. Crowther reproduced portions of the real cave so faithfully that cavers who have played the game can easily navigate through familiar sections in the Bedquilt region on their first visit.Many themes common to current role-playing games and first-person shooters first appeared in this game.

Networked versions of Adventure-like games were developed at MIT in the late 1970s, resulting in the first Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs).

adventure game terminal


Farchild Video console or Video Entertainment System (VES) (1976)

The first programmable game console sold commercially. Eariler systems (Odyssey) had their games implemented directly in the computer hardware.

Fairchild ves hardware

The First Videogame crash (1977)

In 1977, a glut of game consoles on the market led to a recession in the industry. Fairchild and RCA abandoned their game efforts, leaving Atari and Magnavox alone in the home console market.


The videogame industry in the 1980s


The videogame industry in the 1990s


Dynacam - the first digital camera (1990)

The first consumer digital camera. Saved a 320 x 240 pixel image, interfaced to an Apple Macintosh


More images at Digibarn

Return To...

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict