Apparently, the first video game was invented by a physicist in October of 1958.
William Higinbotham is credited with what is thought to be the very first video game.
It was a very simple game of video tennis.
A Kid Could Do It
Remember the game Pong? Some of us do. Pong was the first commercially successful video game to be launched.
The game amounted to a bar that you controlled in an up and down motion while the “ball,” which was a pixelated square bounced around a designated area.
The point was to prevent the ball from going past your bar in essence allowing it to “score.”
The better you kept out the ball the fast it went.
It was the video hybrid of a tennis and squash match.
It was extremely simple by today’s standards, but many of us played the game often.
CT Native Makes Good
Higinbotham was a Connecticut native; born there in 1910 and grew up in the northern New York state area.
He went on to become a graduate of Cornell University, a researcher at MIT Radiation Lab and eventually moved to Los Alamos to work on the timing system for the atomic bomb.
However, it was his move to Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1948 which catapulted him into video game history.
Whether he or anyone else gave Higinbotham credit for his marketing skills is uncertain.
What is certain is his desire to “liven up” the physics exhibits at the lab for visitors.
He did this by creating an interactive game that taught the principles of physics at the same time.
His decades of experience working on displays for radar systems and other electronic devices allowed him to come up with a prototype in just days.
Tennis For Two Anyone?
They called it… “Tennis for Two.” It was an immediate hit!
Visitors to the Brookhaven lab stood in long lines to have a chance to play the game.
It would take another 13 or 14 years before the technology was developed and mass marketed.
And so began the journey to the life-like, super violent, expensive and competitive video games we have today.
Here are a few videos on William Higinbotham. They offer a great overview of how video games were born!
Thanks for reading. I wish you many imaginative tales. R.M. Robbins
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