The internet is always buzzing with reviews and release information for the latest games on the market and here at gamenationsa.com we love talking about that stuff too. But we also like to talk about where gaming has come from. So we now introduce to you our Throwback Thursday’s in gaming history. You know, to remember the good ole days.
This week’s throwback goes waaaaay back. All the way back to what we would mark as the beginning of video games. We are talking 1958 so pretty much 60 years ago. Our journey starts with a man by the name of William Higinbotham who was the head Physicist in the instrumentation department at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. Higinbotham was tasked with creating an exhibit to display what his department worked with for an open house. Back then people were worried that technology was going to wreck the world (not much has changed, lol) and so this was for the public to gain some insight into the benefits of technology beyond a military application.
Higinbotham looked around at the other exhibits and thought they were…well, boring. He decided to create something more exciting and interactive for the public to enjoy. Higinbotham, with the aid of Robert Dvorak, took a small Oscilloscope display and gathered other various parts and after a few hours of design and some time for assembly the first video game was born. It was known as Tennis for Two. Below is an image of what it looked like.
HOW IT WORKED
As you can see it was a tennis game from a side view. While this game predates it, it is very similar to Pong. Players would use the controller to adjust the angle and hit the ball. If they hit the ball wrong and it hit the net it would bounce like a real tennis ball and they would need to push a reset button to start the next round. Did you notice that we said, players? Yup this was a two player game, another interesting fact. The game was a big hit at the open house with people queuing to take turns playing it. Higinbotham thought the ques were only because the other exhibits were just so boring, not realizing that video games would one day be a mega-industry.
The beauty of this story is that William Higinbotham wasn’t doing this for profit but purely to entertain people. Which is what the core of video games is supposed to be, an entertaining experience. In the last 60 years, video games have changed a great deal but one thing remains true. They capture our imaginations and bring hours of enjoyment. As we move through the years we will continue to see how video games change. We will be sharing interesting nuggets like this with you on our journey through history as we talk about how games became what we know them as today. See you soon for our next throwback