The 8 first video games ever made

While the decades seem very long to us mere mortals, video games have only really been a part of human culture for a tiny part of our history. It all started in the mid 1900s.



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Early computers didn’t even have screens, so it follows that early video games would also be quite unrecognizable by today’s standards. We’ve rounded up some of the very first ones here for you to enjoy.

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8 The Sumerian game

  • Creator:
    Mabel Addis, William McKay, Mabel Addis

  • Platform:
    IBM 7090

  • Exit:
    1962

The Sumerian game was one of the very first educational games for the public. It is a text-based strategy game in which the player must manage his land and resources in a city in Sumer in the year 3500 BCE. It was impressively complex, with past decisions informing the future of players’ society and random disasters occurring to shake things up.

The Sumerian game was eventually discontinued, but was developed in 1971 by David H. Ahl as a game called Hamurabi, which inspired many early city builders and strategy games.

seven Space war!

  • Creator:
    Steve Russell

  • Platform:
    DEC PDP-1

  • Exit:
    1962

We may all know Space Invaders as the first space video game, but Spacewar! came out over a decade earlier! In this game, two players control two spaceships and fight each other inside a gravity well.

Space war! was originally designed for a computer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and after its creation, other students and employees worked on the game. It became popular enough that they installed copies of the game on other computers. other computers – that’s Spacewar! the very first video game to be played on multiple computers.


6 Tennis for two

  • Creator:
    William Higinbotham

  • Platform:
    Oscilloscope

  • Exit:
    1958

Tennis For Two was one of the first sports video games and one of the first video games designed to entertain rather than educate, aid the military, or demonstrate the power of technology.

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For the start of a tennis match, it was quite impressive! It could simulate the trajectories and take into account the wind resistance on the ground. It was first shown at the public exhibit at Brookhaven National Laboratory, then it was shown again the following year and at that time it was also able to simulate different levels of gravity.


5 Swimming pool

  • Creators:
    William Brown, Ted Lewis

  • Platform:
    MIDSAC

  • Exit:
    1954

Billiards (also called snooker in some parts of the world) is also a game in real life, but much more important than tic-tac-toe or checkers. The first electronic version was made for demonstration at the University of Michigan.

Some early video games that mimicked real-world games had limited AI – early chess games, for example, couldn’t really compete with a human or play the way it was meant to be played – but this pool game had the 15 balls, a billiard stick that could be fully controlled and calculated the realistic trajectories of the balls as they moved and collided with each other.


4 Carmonette

  • Creator:
    U.S. Office of Operational Research and Richard E. Zimmerman

  • Platform:
    computer

  • Exit:
    1953

Carmonette stands for Combined ARms Computer Model, and it was a combat simulator. The player can experience a number of situations including intercepting enemy aircraft and countering opposing armies.

There were four Carmonette games in 1970, and each added more complex situations and unique player modes, such as night vision, infantry, and armed helicopters.

3 Drafts

  • Creator:
    Christophe Strachey

  • Platform:
    The ACE Pilot

  • Exit:
    1952

Drafts (known in some parts of the world as checkers) is another tabletop game that has been adapted for early screens. Two players compete to capture each other’s pieces by moving them diagonally past each other on a square checkered board.

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The version Strachey created is significant not only for being one of the first working video games, but also because it was the very first computer game designed for a general computer, and not a machine specifically designed to play the game. .

2 Bertie the Brain

  • Creator:
    Joseph Kates

  • Platform:
    Bertie the Brain

  • Exit:
    1950

Bertie the Brain was one of the very first video games ever made. It was developed by Kates in Toronto for the Canadian National Exhibition that year and was really only meant to show off the power and potential of computers.

Can you guess what kind of game it was? People could approach the massive computer and use a keyboard to play tic-tac-toe against an AI. Many of the earliest video games were replicas of tic-tac-toe. We won’t list them here since we’ve already covered tic-tac toe, but they are worth noting. An example is the game OXO; it was produced by AS Douglas in 1952.

1 Nimatron

  • Creators:
    Edward Condon, Gerald L. Tawney, Willard A. Derr

  • Platform:
    The Nimatron

  • Exit:
    1940

Have you ever played the game ‘Nim’? Basically, imagine you have a few rows of objects. On your turn, you can pick up as many items as you want, and you and another player go back and forth. Depending on the rules you follow, either you want the other player to take the last item, or you want to be the one to take the last item. Humans have played versions of it since ancient times.

The Nimatron was a computer designed to play Nim with you. He represented objects with light bulbs. 11 years later, he inspired John Makepeace Bennett and Raymond Stuart-Williams to create the Nimrod, another computer that could play Nim (but much better).

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