Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy 30th Anniversary to the first commercial video game

As usual, Google give us insights into things we never knew we needed insights into. The first commercial video game was called Galaxy Game and was located in the Stanford Student Union. Here is the Wikipedia explanation of the game:

The Galaxy Game is the earliest known coin-operated computer or video game. It was installed at the Tresidder Union at Stanford University in September, 1971, two months before the release of Computer Space, the first mass-produced such game.[1] Only one unit was built initially, although the game later included several consoles allowing users to play against each other.

The game was programmed by Bill Pitts and Hugh Tuck. Like Computer Space, it was a version of the existing Spacewar!, which had been created in the early 1960s on the PDP-1 and ported to a variety of platforms since then. The coin-operated game console incorporated a Digital PDP-11/20 with vector displays. The hardware cost around $20,000, and a game cost 10 cents or three games for 25 cents. In June 1972 the hardware was improved to allow the processor to power four to eight consoles. The game remained popular on campus, with wait times for players as much as one hour, until it was removed in May 1979 due to damaged screens.

The unit was restored in 1997 and now resides in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

I never was a fan of computer games, but I do appreciate the advances in graphics and processors engendered by the quest to have more and more realistic games.

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