Yes, folks, this was once a revolutionary experience in gaming.
In the early 1950s, just as rock ‘n’ roll was hinting at social change, the first video games were quietly being designed in the form of technology demonstrations—and a scientist was behind it.
In October 1958, Brookhaven National Laboratory physicist William Higinbotham created Tennis for Two.
Despite graphics that are ridiculously primitive by today’s standards, it has been described as the first video game in history.
Higinbotham was inspired by the government research institution’s Donner Model 30 analog computer, which could simulate trajectories with wind resistance, and the game was designed for display at an annual public exhibition.
Although his purpose in creating the game was rather academic, Tennis for Two turned out to be a hit at the three-day exhibition, with thousands of students lining up to see the game.
At first glance, today’s video gamers and scientists might appear to be worlds apart.
But starting with Tennis for Two, video games have quietly and consistently been within the purview of academic study.
Each generation of gamers has seen new titles created at various research institutions in order to explore programming, human-computer interaction, and algorithms. Lesser-known chapters of history reveal these two worlds are not as far apart as you might think.
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