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Videogames Turn 40 117

Posted by Zonk
from the oh-man-we're-all-old-now dept.
May 15th marks the 40 year anniversary of the first games hooked up to the television. An article on the 1up site tells the story of Ralph Baer, Bill Harrison, and Bill Rusch working at the Sanders Associates company on a little game called Pong. They go into a great deal of detail on the development of the console, going so far as to include a number of the group's original notes on the project. "Baer kept the tiny lab, a former company library in Sanders' early days, locked at all times. Only two men had keys: Baer and Harrison. The room would remain the base of operations for their controversial video experiments for years to come -- experiments that, had they been known about widely at the time, might have garnered intense ridicule from other employees of the prominent defense contractor. Pursuing them was an utterly audacious move."
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Videogames Turn 40

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  • We REALLY can't trust them now?
  • SPACEWAR!! (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Wasn't spacewar the first action game...? Ok so there wasn't really a TV...
    • Re:SPACEWAR!! (Score:4, Informative)

      by ma6ic (1093905) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @01:11PM (#19132783)
      Spacewar! was the first action video game created in 1962. It was created to be a demo program and stayed in the lab for the most part, but it did have some of the crucial elements like a controller and competition that we come to know as gaming standards today. I think the Pong article counts console development as the first. Pong is certainly the most famous first video game. Congrats to all the pioneers in the field - quite a business now.
      • Re:SPACEWAR!! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by spyrochaete (707033) <spyrochaete AT hyppy DOT zapto DOT org> on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @01:28PM (#19133033) Homepage Journal
        I was just about say the same thing. Spacewar was created by students at MIT on a DEC PDP-5 mainframe. They even created a special input device with dials and switches just to control this game. Incidentally, Spacewar was one of my first and favourite games I played on my first computer, the Compaq Deskpro 8086 with 4.33MHz CPU and a 10MB hard drive. For more information on this and other big innovators at the birth of the computer age I cannot sufficiently recommend the fantastic book "Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution" by Steven Levy.
        • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @03:15PM (#19135013)
          > I was just about say the same thing. Spacewar was created by students at MIT on a DEC PDP-5 mainframe. They even created a special input device with dials and switches just to control this game.

          Nitpick: It was a PDP-1 [brouhaha.com], one of which has been restored to working order, much to the delight of Spacewar's creators [computerhistory.org].

          But everything else you said was essentially correct, including the homebuilt input device [pdp-1.org], which consists of five switches laid out in a pattern that anyone who played the coin-op versions of Spacewar and Asteroids will immediately recognize.

          • Thanks for the correction. I remembered both the PDP-1 and PDP-5 being mentioned in the book but couldn't remember which it was. I took a quick gander at Wikipedia which said the PDP-1 only had printed output so I assumed the latter.
          • by VoidCrow (836595)
            For the record you can occasionally *play* the original SpaceWar at the Computer History Museum. Under supervision, of course. The two programmers used a polymorphic object system written in PDP-1 assembler, and the machine was *just* powerful enough to simulate and draw two ships. I was rather impressed.
        • That's fine, but the summary is quite clear: this is the "40 year anniversary of the first games hooked up to the television."

          Otherwise, we'd be talking about how much fun it was to play with the Whirlwind displays.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bigbigbison (104532)
        It depends on how you define videogame. In 1958 Willie Higgenbotham created a demo called "tennis for two" on an occiliscope as something to entertain people taking a tour of Brookhaven National Laboratory. It was a side view of tennis and not a top down view as in Pong. however, no one outside of Brookhaven knoew anything about it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennis_for_Two [wikipedia.org]

        Even Ralph Bayer's Odyssey system might not meet some qualifications for videogame since it was an analogue system and not digit
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Chris Mattern (191822)
        I actually have an old issue of Analog (ca. 1965) with an article by John Campbell which discusses SPACEWAR. The blurb for the story talks about how it's a fascinating game, but ordinary people will never play it because the "gameboard" costs tens of thousands of dollars (back when that was a heckuva lot more money, too)! Even SF writers can fail to see the oncoming rush of progress.

        Chris Mattern
  • by plover (150551) * on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:09PM (#19131659) Homepage Journal
    My dad bought us one of the Magnavox Odysseys based on the AY-3-8500 chip. It was all monochrome, and wasn't nearly as cool as an Atari, but I hacked that thing to pieces, replacing pots with different values, adding additional game switches, and having fun.

    And now this article comes out.

    Jeez, I'm old.

    • by MontyApollo (849862) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:18PM (#19131813)
      I had an Odyssey II. I begged for an Atari, but my dad got me the Odyssey II for Christmas because he thought it would be more powerful with the membrane keyboard. I liked it, but I don't know if it was really any better than Atari.

      The thing that got my excited was that they had a computer programming cartridge for it. I had dreams of using the Odyssey II like a home computer, or at least doing some basic programming. In turned out all the cartridge let you do is program about 20 steps in assembly language. The output was limited to about 10 characters. What a let down.
    • We had an Odyssey2, complete with the rudimentary text-to-voice module "The Voice". No one ever knows what I'm talking about when I give my most robotic "That is cor-nect." Ah, good times. Who's up for some Quest for the Rings?
    • by Namlak (850746)
      You mean the original Odyssey with the static-cling TV overlays? Yeah, we had one of those, too! I mostly recall the Simon Says game with the (as I recall) translucent drawings of kids on the screen and you had to move your square to the appropriate clear window on the overlay when that body part was called out. And keeping score on paper!

      I know what you mean about being old. My kids would never understand not being able to play their Odyssey on an odyssey in our Odyssey!

      • by SoCalEd (842421)
        Yup. Static-attached screen overlays (in two different TV sizes for each game, IIRC) and a big box of dice, chips, play-money and other accessories to "enhance" the games. I remember a haunted house themed game where the "ghost" would light up one of the windows in the house or some such. People snicker now, but at the time it was revolutionary.
    • by $1uck (710826)
      My father brought one home too... but I was far to young to consider hacking it or probably even play it competently. I can only remember some light gun game with ghosts and "colorforms" that you stuck on the tv screen.

      So yes you are old.
  • by Nick_Allain (997908) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:10PM (#19131669)
    My buddy recently interviewed Ralph Baer at his home in NH. The interviews are online at http://blip.tv/file/158121/ [blip.tv] and http://blip.tv/file/188528/ [blip.tv]. He's definitely an old school computer guy who would take designing circuits over programming any day.
    • Since someone else started the pimping... we also had Mr. Baer write a few pages for our book, Business & Legal Primer for Game Development [amazon.com]. He was gracious enough to write for our chapter on "I Wish I Knew..." where he talked about the importance of saving your work when you develop games. Only a few pages, but I thought it was some insightful advice from someone who was there at the dawn of consoles.
  • Baer Necessities (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MeanderingMind (884641) * on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:11PM (#19131689) Homepage Journal
    A lot of people assume Nolan Bushnell started it all, if only because his work was the catalyst that caused the industry to explode in size and value. Both Bushnell and Baer's roles were absolutely essential to birthing the industry.

    However painful it may seem, most industries are born of one or more men inventing something truly interesting. However, their first growth spurt comes when someone else copies that invention and popularizes it. This is, in effect, the respective roles of Baer and Bushnell.

    I'd encourage people to read the whole article, including the sidebars. It's a great history lesson for a subject dear to us all.
    • by Frankie70 (803801) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @01:00PM (#19132613)

      I'd encourage people to read the whole article,


      Will do. Right after I post some comments about the article.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by VWJedi (972839)

      However painful it may seem, most industries are born of one or more men inventing something truly interesting. However, their first growth spurt comes when someone else copies that invention and popularizes it. This is, in effect, the respective roles of Baer and Bushnell.

      I'm not sure if I agree that the invention has to be copied by someone outside the organization (although this is frequently the case), but I think you are on to something with the rest of your thought. There are two key parts of "birt

    • What is harder to make? An invention or a business model? Since there are more working inventions than working business models, it is definately the latter. It is salesmen and entrepreneurs that change the world, not cranky inventors despite whatever mythology one believes. As nerds, we like to think our "intelligence" and "creativity" is the mover and shaker of things. It isn't. This is why I suspect Woz sees himself in Baer.

      Bushnell was responsible for making the video-game arcade as well as popularizing
  • by iknownuttin (1099999) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:17PM (#19131787)
    gambling.

    My Father bought us the Atari system and we would play the "Tennis" game. I would bet my allowance and I would win several games. Each time my Dad lost, he would say, "How about double or nothing?"

    I would always respond with "Yes!"

    All of a sudden, my Dad would become great at video tennis and win. I lost everything, but kept my original allowance. Eventually, I gave up gambling with him and to this day I don't like to gamble. Educated risks, yes, but no gambling.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:50PM (#19132415)
      i find it rare that i am actually moved by a comment, but yours did just that.. mainly, because things like that don't happen often anymore (real, concrete, needful values taught using technology and videogames as a catalyst).

      look at what has become of games?
      banal and needlessly vulgar.
      i used to be really good at counterstrike (1.4+ and source..).. i mean really good.. good as in admins kicked me constantly under suspicion of cheating. i found maybe 3 people each month that could school me, and when i did, i was awestruck. anyway, i digress. i stopped playing cs because one day my 5 year old sister was behind me, without me knowing it, then i heard her say something to the effect of 'shoot him! kill him!' or something equally as disturbing. i wondered 'how the hell does she have any idea what the object of this game is at her age?'...before that, the only game she had seen me play was mario.

        ive come to the conclusion that we're desensitizing ourselves and our children to violence and vulgarity, and this is something i could have never pictured myself saying even 5 years ago. sure, as 'mature adults' we can play stuff like CS / GTA and clearly distinguish between game life and real life, between what is proper to do in real life, and what is funny to do in videogames (funny, simply because its so far off course with what would be done in real life), however, i do not believe that children are as capable of this advanced level of discernment. it seems as if though we have recreated the roman arena on our screens. sure, people aren't actually dying, but hey, to some degree i bet the spectators didn't consider the gladiators 'people' in the normal sense. (in other words, i bet if a tons of villagers were going about their everyday tasks, and a tiger suddenly appeared and killed one of their fellow villagers, im sure there would have been a sense of grief, loss, and sadness in general amongst them. yet, these same villagers would have cheered on the death of another human to the very same tiger inside of the arena.)

      people are quick to become infuriated if someone offers a contradictory opinion to theirs on various topics and quickly say "don't force your opinions on me!", yet, look at what we do to the upcoming generations-- are not all our examples left to inspire, influence, and mold the future generations, for centuries to come, long after our deaths?
      • Re:Snakes and Arrows (Score:5, Interesting)

        by KlomDark (6370) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @01:12PM (#19132811) Homepage Journal
        Your point is well taken. What do we do to those children, unthinkingly, and how does it affect the long term future.

        I find it similar to the article/essay written by Neal Peart of Rush about their new album, Snakes and Arrows. (Rush is currently #3 on the charts - I never thought I'd see that again! Makes me happy as a big Rush fan!)

        Snippet from A Prize Every Time [rush.com]

        "...how children are usually imprinted with a particular faith, along with their other early blessings and scars. People who actively choose their faith are vanishingly few; most simply receive it, with their mother's milk, language, and customs. Thinking also of people being shaped by early abuse of one kind or another, I felt a connection with friends who had adopted rescue dogs as puppies, and given them unlimited love, care, and security. If those puppies had been "damaged" by their earlier treatment--made nervous, timid, or worse--they would always remain that way, no matter how smooth the rest of their life might be. It seemed the same for children.

        To express that notion, I came up with, "The snakes and arrows a child is heir to/ Are enough to leave a thousand cuts." I thought I was only combining Hamlet's "slings and arrows" with the childhood game "Snakes and Ladders," to make something less clichéd. And indeed, when we were discussing Snakes and Arrows as a possible album title, Geddy remarked, "I like it because it sounds familiar, but isn't."
      • look at what has become of games?

        Let me first say that, as a professional video game designer, I generally agree with you. I'd love to see games become more of a positive force instead of reinforcing some of the worst behaviors. But, let me respond to one of the hot-button issues you bring up.

        my 5 year old sister [said] 'shoot him! kill him!' or something equally as disturbing.

        Would you have been upset if she would have laughed at Elmer Fudd shooting himself in the face with a gun in a cartoon? What if s
      • i stopped playing cs because one day my 5 year old sister was behind me, without me knowing it, then i heard her say something to the effect of 'shoot him! kill him!' or something equally as disturbing.

        I played a couple of years of lacrosse (at age 12 & 13), a brutal game if ever there was one. The first year I truly stunk, but the second year I stayed in the same age group and became a good player.

        Anyway, while down at the lacrosse box practicing against the outside walls, I heard a parent watch
  • by rbanzai (596355) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:20PM (#19131857)
    I was just a little boy but there was a "Computer Space" arcade game at the Target my family went to in Oklahoma City. Most people just walked right past it but I was fascinated by it, even though I was barely tall enough to press the buttons.

    And here we are in 2007 and video games still catch my interest.... :)
    • Yes, and i think that 1972 was the last time that i played a video game. And smoked my last cigarette. Still drink, though.

      Is it just me, or does anyone else think that arcade games are a BIG waste of time. I would rather be PROGRAMMING a game than playing one. Same thing for lotto/kino video games. If I wanted to watch random numbers pop up on a screen, I would write a short script myself. I would rather think than mindlessly shoot 'em up. Is this a troll? Then mod me down.

      Hello, world.

      • by KlaymenDK (713149)
        I must confess the majority of my gaming has been after 72 (seeing as how I'm born in 74...), but I agree wholeheartedly about wanting to *make* games.

        Back in the very early 80's my dad worked for Borroughs, and actually I wrote a school paper or two in <ctrl><italic>WordStar>ctrl><italic>. Looking back, I can't believe I had the patience for it! But also on that Burroughs machine, he programmed a banal ascii-art "Ufo" game -- my first ever contact with computer games. The game was s
    • My first exposure to a video game (not necessarily a console) was some un-named dungeon crawler for the TRS-80 Model 1. It was in 1980 or 1979, iirc. I was at a friend's house and his dad had a Model 1 setup next to the TV... complete with cassette drive and all the fixin's (at the time...) There was a little 4x6 card in the envelope that held the cassette tape of the game, and it listed all the commands and keystrokes. It reminds me now that I think about it, of Nethack. Once I played a few turns of th
  • This isn't fact!!! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Because Jack Thompson decided that Video Games are a NEW threat for our beloved children.

    So get you facts straight and don't argue with 40-something fantasy numbers you children-hating-son-of-the-devil!

    Praise the lord! See you in court!
  • The first game anybody saw, other than in a lab, was PONG. And that was 1972 IIRC.
    • That was my first memorable experience with gaming. I think for me it was around 1975/76, playing pong with those little controllers that were just a round cylinder you turned back and forth. My uncle pretty much got me into gaming with that and then a couple years later atari 2600 which gave way to interesting me more in computers of the time with the c64, trs80, iie etc. I didn't know the pong game on tvs went back to 72. The 2600 was released in late 77 according to wiki - those games were fun then, but
  • I have a personal connection to this story. My Dad worked at Sanders at the time and witnessed Ralph's work. I was born in 1966. It might explain why I am 41 and still a videogame addict.
  • ...contacted. We know that the crystal in your palm has turned black, don't try to run Videogames!
  • Does anyone remember building the first digital home version out of Popular Electroncs? I remember ordering the circuit board and soldereing the parts that I bought out of electronic mail order catalogs (like DigiKey). We played it for hours at a time.
  • I got one of the first Atari systems in 1976 or so, but that was my Dad's doing, not mine. However, my life was irrevocably changed the first time I played Asteroids. What a game! And to this day, it maintains a grace and clarity, and complex challenge, that I don't find with any other game. I keep PC versions of the game on every PC I work on. Great stress reliever. That said, I still haven't overcome my bias against The Triangles....
    • Vector hardware (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mccalli (323026)
      Asteroids, on an original arcade machine, is still a great thing to play. I played one a few months ago at the Game On exhibition at London's Science Museum - the intensity of the glows and trails on the screen due to the vector hardware really changed the whole atmosphere.

      I still love the raster updates and spent many happy hours on the various PC and Mac ports - Maelstrom in particular, but the original game running on vector hardware is still the version I prefer.

      Cheers,
      Ian
      • by ElephanTS (624421)
        Me and my friend still have the occasional Asteroids tournaments. He generally wins with around 60,000 pts but it's very good fun. If you run it under Mame you can simulate the flicker, blur, and intensity of the original vector hardware very well. Turn the screen brightness right up and you get a very similar effect to the original with trails and burning phosphor 'bullets'. Cranking up the sound on big speakers helps as well.
        • by mccalli (323026)
          He generally wins with around 60,000 pts but it's very good fun.

          I got 20,000 on my first try on the real thing in years at the Science Museum. That was the high score of the day, and I can feel the twelve-year old me staring in utter contempt (I'm 35 - asteroids was already not that new when I started playing).

          If you run it under Mame you can simulate the flicker, blur, and intensity of the original vector hardware very well. Turn the screen brightness right up and you get a very similar effect to the
    • When I first saw an Atari Tempest machine at the local arcade, I said "That can't be done", because it looked like color vector graphics and the convergence problems were entirely different than with a TV. I even tried building my own color vector display and was unable to converge the colors. When I was in college around 1984 the arcade there was going out of business so I bought a Tempest machine from them for $300 just to find out how they did it. The arcade machine came with complete schematics, so I
      • by MenTaLguY (5483)
        How did they do it?
        • Clever op-amp circuits and extra convergence coils to adjust the beams depending on the color and distance from the center. A real electrical engineer would be able to reverse engineer the math from the circuits. I'm just a software guy who can read a schematic or two, so I just marveled at the ingenuity of some unknown EE. It was enough for me to confirm that the display was indeed, a color vector display.

          Interesting note: The display Tempest has a "resolution" of about 1024 by 4096, which is still
  • by Morty Vicar (1102409) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:36PM (#19132155) Journal
    I remember me and my brother spending hours typing code from a computer magazine into our Sinclair Spectrum. After several hours of coding, we were able to watch a ball bounce around the screen and change color when it hit a wall. That's it. But we were blown away! Then we would start again on the next page of coding. Kids these days get bored with several games in less time than it took us to code one screen.
    • by 2008 (900939) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:53PM (#19132463) Journal
      Yeah, and a starving man will appreciate stale bread whereas I complain at a restaurant if the main course is cold.
    • by 4D6963 (933028)

      Kids these days get bored with several games in less time than it took us to code one screen.

      But it doesn't mean kids are necessarily harder to amuse, I think it only means it's much more fun to play a game you wrote (even if you didn't understand a thing) than downloading some (not necessarily very entertaining) game and trying it instantly. Compare that to making a cake and buying a cake at the baker's and eating it as soon as you paid.

      So I think that what has changed the most, is that firstly we don't

    • by Chrisje (471362)
      Hah, that name brings back memories. My 17-year old brother was serving in the army, and he gave me a Sinclair ZX-81 with 1 KB of RAM and a Basic book that had some games in it.

      I still don't know what possessed me, but here I was, 7 (fall of 1982) years old, hammering away at the keyboard. I remember most vividly a very simple text based RPG/Adventure game that involved finding and slaying a vampire. By the time I had finished typing the code, the game would only cost me 15 minutes to play because having se
    • I recall something similar when I got a C64. I created a BitBLT and watched it move across the screen. Tooks hours to do it. Man that machine sucked.
  • Alternate first game (Score:4, Interesting)

    by j00r0m4nc3r (959816) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:41PM (#19132217)
    I wonder what the first videogame would have been if humans had never invented tennis.
  • I pine for the days where game developers actually had imaginative and interesting new ideas. Look at any video game store today, or any list of the top selling games, and all you will see are sequels, expansion packs, and "brand extension" titles.

    How many more fucking Tom Clancy Rainbow Sixes do we really need? Another Command And Conquer?? Final Fantasy XIXXI Super Mega Ultra Neon Advance? SimCity 50000?

    Rule of thumb: If the video game's title has a number or a colon (:) in it, it's probably unimagin
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I for one am eager to welcome Final Fantasy XXX.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mgabrys_sf (951552)
      There was also a lot - and I mean a LOT of chaff. First there were a million space-shooters that were clones of Space Invaders, Galaxian and Galaga. Then there were Maze-Games galore. Each winning game had sequals - lots of them in the case of games like Asteroids. And oh yes - plenty of games that sucked. I collect games and the most rabid contingent is the Laser-Disc game group and 90 percent of those games were terrible.
  • Pong TV (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mgabrys_sf (951552) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @12:52PM (#19132435) Journal
    First system I had back in 76 was a Odyssey 300 Pong system. Interesting thing at the time, the RF adapters back then were wholesale FCC fraud (something in common with Apple's first RF modulators). Basically, no FCC violations occured - until the consumer hooked them up. We were living south of St. Louis in St. Genevive MO at the time where to pull in TV - you had to have a very tall tv antenna. Once that system was hooked up - we were spraying PONG TV on channel 3 to the entire town - or a sizable portion of it from our 2 story high aerial.

    I didn't discover this until kids were asking me in school "who was on the left". I replied that was my brother. "He was kicking your ASS last night dude". I replied "wait - you weren't around yesterday - hell I didn't even know you knew I had a system!". After he told me he was watching us on tv I rode after school on my bike - several miles from my house - to his and wached my Odyssey (which I left on) beaming in crystal-clear to his tv.

    I have no idea what our ratings were, but given the state of mid 70s television - I wouldn't be surprised if our audience-share wasn't substantial.
    • That may be one of the coolest stories I've ever heard.
    • by Intron (870560)
      FCC part 15 rules appeared in the late 70's because of the emergence of digital devices spewing TV interference. Note that it has always been and still is the equipment operator's responsibility not to cause interference. The manufacturer just has to test that it meets limits and label the equipment.
  • "An article on the 1up site tells the story of Ralph Baer, Bill Harrison, and Bill Rusch working at the Sanders Associates company on a little game called Pong."

    Um, Baer & co didn't develop "Pong". They developed a generic tennis game that was similar to Pong, which was developed by Bushnell & co. Sure, they got the basic idea from Baer, but they made it their own (for example, more detailed graphics, on-screen scoring). If I remember the videos I've seen correctly, Baer's version allowed you to mov
    • Agreed. Years ago they were showing what's my line re-runs on GAME, and they showcased Baer and his console. It was very spartan and the paddles were only slightly larger than the ball. Even less sound than Pong - if you can imagine that - and the controllers (and the control scheme) looked horrible people playing were having trouble making simple moves. Yech.
  • Earlier (Score:4, Interesting)

    by kreuzotter (13645) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @02:05PM (#19133703)
  • My earliest memory of playing video games is the Atari 2600. My parents bought it for us kids, so we had to have a good selection of multiplayer games. Warlords was probably the preferred game. My little sister had barely learned how to walk and we were shoving the paddle in her hand because we needed a 4th player.

    When we moved to the new house, the Atari moved to my brother's room, hooked up to his brand-new 13" COLOR TV. Every other morning, I'd sneak into his room at 5AM to try to finish Indiana Jones o
  • Here is Baer's 1971 patent for "Television Gaming and Training Apparatus"

    http://www.google.com/patents?vid=USPAT3728480 [google.com]

  • by aldheorte (162967) on Tuesday May 15, 2007 @05:53PM (#19137659)
    40 years is not very long for what has transpired between the early video games and modern video games. Video games are sort of the representative tip of the iceberg in computing technology . Aside from some super computer applications and the like, video games often represent computer hardware taken to the limits of simulation of some internally consistent model, from the bizarre (2D Mario worlds) to the more realistic (3D FPS with more accurately modeled physics). MMOGs (and MUDs before them) have traced the capabilities of networks, with Second Life, for all its wrinkles, probably best (or poorly, as the actual user experience may be) excercising the networking envelope because of it's just-in-time content streaming and server multiplexing.

    Of course, that doesn't mean that modern video games are any more enjoyable than Pong and the earlier games, which almost have an advantage in that the only thing they could focus on was gameplay, but it does show an impressive advancement along the technical curve. With that curve tending upwards and advancement getting faster, it's fun to imagine what the next 40 years will bring.
  • A couple of years back, I did an interview over the web with Ralph H. Baer. He was VERY clear that he didn't create PONG, but a similar game called Ping Pong. It consisted of a green field with two paddles that had changeable angles. It was also a great deal more difficult and faster moving than PONG.
  • May 15th is my birthday and I am 40 now. The only cool thing I have found about turning 40, ugh!!!
  • I was involved in the 1975 alternative to Atari's home Pong game, called TV Tennis by Executive Games. Executive Games was an entrepeneur who came to MIT's Innovation Center to find people to design a "home video game" like the coin operated Pong games. We did it with discrete analog and digital circuits; ball and paddle movement were analog, and thus game speed was controlled with a pot, from very slow to unbelievably fast. Much more challenging than Atari, in our opinion. There was also a practice wal

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