Science, Technology & Medicine

Spacewar!
first computer video game, 1962
Spacewar!

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Posted by Duff at 3:22 am (PDT) on Sun October 24, 2010   
My cousin worked at Princeton's IBM computer center, and I encountered Spacewar when I visited him ~1964. You loaded the game via paper tape, and two ships appeared, in a sea of stars with a sun in the center. Each player used 4 toggle switches on the computer's control panel: one turned your ship clockwise, one turned it counterclockwise, one made it accelerate in the direction it was pointing, and one made it shoot a stream of photons or something. If you hit the other ship, it'd blow up, of course, but you could also run out of ammunition or fuel, and if you got too close to the sun, or went too slowly as you passed it, its gravity would pull you in and you'd burn up. Pretty sophisticated for the time, I think.

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