Jun
9
2009

Who invented Video Games

Video games in the 21st century are one of the biggest selling products in the entertainment industry, in some markets even starting to overtake conventional music sales. Video games are roughly described as an electronic game with some rudimentary form of interaction in terms of the player having control of some aspect of the game, and there being a point to playing.

Video games weren’t invented until after the invention of the computer since a processor is required to render graphics on screen, keep track of player interaction, keep score, and assume the role of game adjudicator or another player. Computer video games can be run on home computers, consoles using a TV screen, or mini consoles with their own screen built in. The difference between electronic games and video games is the addition of a screen, as compared to electronic board games for example which may only emit sounds.

Woman Playing Game Who invented Video Games

The very first games invented for computers used oscilloscopes to plot the movement a dot on screen, or simply displayed a character in a given position, and early games sometimes had a piece of clear film placed over the CRT screen to provide extra information. The first recorded video game was written in 1952 at Cambridge on the EDSAC computer by Alexander Douglas, and was a very simple yet effective rendition of tic-tac-toe. Many historians agree this was one of the first video games but disagree that it was influential since it could only be played at Cambridge.

A similarly simple game was developed at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1958 by William Higinbotham that also used an oscilloscope to display the game which consisted of a horizontal line, a short vertical line in it’s center, and a dot that flew from one side to the other and simulated a tennis game. Two players could operate dials to ‘hit’ the ball and get it to return to the opposite side.

The first game that could be played on more than one machine was Spacewar, written by Steve Russell, Martin Graetz, and Wayne Wiitanen in 1961 for the DEC PDP-1 platform. Source code for the game was freely shared amongst the academic fraternity so was likely played on hundred’s of machines, and definitely qualifies as the very first video game.

pacman Who invented Video Games

The first video game that could be played on a TV set, called Chase, was written by Ralph Baer in 1967 for a new console being developed by Sanders Associates which was subsequently licensed to Magnavox and sold over 100,000 units, but shipped with other games developed by the firm. Ralph Baer’s patents were licensed to Atari as well, who developed the biggest selling arcade console of the 1970s.

About the Author:

Sam Reese is a web enthusiasts and blogger. He is a history student and loves to write and read histories of different things.

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