2. A Compact History II: A Medium Emerges

The second episode is here!

Episode 2 of an abbreviated history of video gaming. Learn about the first game created purely for the sake of entertainment – which also holds the title of “first true video game” – and also about the first game to see widespread distribution to multiple computer networks.

Game on, friends!


1. William Higinbotham himself.
2. Example of a 1950s-era oscilloscope.
3. Higinbotham’s schematics for Tennis for Two.
4. Photo of Tennis for Two on display at the Brookhaven National Laboratory’s annual exhibition in 1958.
5. Video of the game (a re-creation) in action.
6. Reproduction controllers for Tennis for Two.
7. Re-creation of Higinbotham’s machine.
8. Video of the PDP-1 and Spacewar! in action (begins at 13:55).
9. Steve Russell himself.
10. The PDP-1, for scale.
11. Example of a PDP-1 in a room.
12. Look at what they used for keyboards back then!

1. Brand, Stewart (1972-12-07). “Spacewar, Fantastic life and symbolic death among the computer bums.” Rolling Stone. No. 12. Straight Arrow Publishers.
2. Donovan, T. (2010). Replay: The History of Video Games. Lewes: Yellow Ant.
3. Hafner, Katie; Lyon, Matthew (1996). Where wizards stay up late: the origins of the Internet (1st Touchstone ed.). New York: Simon and Schuster.
4. Kalning, K. (2008, October 23). The anatomy of the first video game. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/27328345/ns/technology_and_science-games/t/anatomy-first-video-game/#.XBvdJVxKiUl
5. October 1958: Physicist Invents First Video Game. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200810/physicshistory.cfm. American Physical Societry, APS News, October 2008 (Vol. 17, No. 9)
6. Spacewar! (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.computerhistory.org/pdp-1/spacewar/Computer_History_Museum
7. The First Video Game? (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.bnl.gov/about/history/firstvideo.php. Brookhaven National Laboratory.

– Theme: Azureflex – “Intro” obtained from freemusicarchive.org (Creative Commons License: bit.ly/1HyZTCk) | PolarChips – “Nocturnal (8-Bit Jazz)” (bit.ly/2EcXQIQ)
– “8-Bit Celtic” obtained from dl-sounds.com
– All sound clips used in accordance with the FAIR USE Act

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