spacewar!

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Kyle Owen had not just one but TWO PDP-8′s on display!

His PDP-8/E was hooked into a Teleray terminal, and a very powerfully fast paper tape reader.  Sadly, I don’t remember what it was that he was running on here.  But I do know that he had a small transistor radio that he was attempting to play tunes on via some hacking on the PDP-8/E.

His PDP-8/M was hooked into an oscilloscope and a pair of controllers so that he could demonstrate Spacewar! but when I stopped by it was showing off some pretty graphics.  I believe that this machine was to be booted off of a Raspberry Pi standing in for a proper hard drive or paper tape source.

However, his whole setup wasn’t hooked up for very long, and had to be powered off due to electrical grid concerns.  And I really wanted to play Spacewar!

Spacewar!

“Dan Edwards (left) and Peter Samson playing Spacewar! on the PDP-1 Type 30 display.”

circa 1962.

There is a lot of discussion about what counts as the first video game. Some say Spacewar! (programmed by Steve Russell) is the first. Others claim it is the second. Some do not even put it in the first five games ever made. It is really hard to define them based on what we now know as video games. One thing is clear however, Spacewar! is a shmup and It is the very first one (featuring commendable Newtonian Physics at that).

youtube

“The museum’s bottom level, located in the planet core, was a spherical room containing a shrine to the very first videogame, Tennis for Two, invented by William Higinbotham in 1958. The game ran on an ancient analog computer and was played on a tiny oscilloscope screen about five inches in diameter. Next to it was a replica of an ancient PDP-1 computer running a copy of Spacewar!, the second videogame ever made, created by a bunch of students at MIT in 1962.”

Duel Analog: SpaceWar! vs. Angry Birds

Colin’s new column over on Motherboard inspired by our very own post on Assassin’s Creed vs. Sonic the Hedgehog a few weeks back. Duel Analog compares two seemingly disparate videogames, showing their differences and often radical similarities, spanning the entire history of gaming.

This week we talk about evolution vs. revolution with Spacewar! vs. Angry Birds. Two games with surprising parallels, conveniently bookending videogame history today.
http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/duel-analog-spacewar-vs-angry-birds 

Stay tuned to Motherboard for more Duel Analog columns in 2013!

rhizome.org
Towards an Art History for Videogames
Lana Polansky on art history for videogames.

If videogames can be said to possess an “official history,” it is predicated primarily on the advancement of technology, the shifting of markets, and the consolidation of multinational corporations. This is a history which prioritizes technological advancement, from computer gaming’s rise as the product of quiet dissent among the engineers of military computers at MIT (Spacewar!, created by MIT engineers in 1962, is often regarded as the first iconic computer game),1 to the clinking of arcade machines

[…]

There is a lesser-known history of the games themselves. By this I mean a more intimate account composed of a long heritage of games deliberately concerned with the artistic, political and personal. For these, the term “artgame”2 comes in handy.

On history and art games.