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The first video game released on this day, 58 years ago

Although Tennis for Two wasn't the first game with an electronic display, under some definitions it is considered the first video game.

@LanaJelic
Published Tue, Oct 18 2016 2:33 PM CDT   |   Updated Mon, Oct 19 2020 8:17 PM CDT

Today's game graphics are so close to reality that it's sometimes hard to tell whether it is a photograph or a scene from the latest game. Although the video gaming would not reach mainstream popularity until the 1970s and 80s, with arcade video games, gaming consoles and PC games, the first games were actually created about twenty years earlier.

The first video game released on this day, 58 years ago 01 | TweakTown.com
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What is considered to be the first video game - Tennis for Two, was released on this day, October 18th, 1958. American physicist William Higinbotham and technician Robert V. Dvorak, who created the game, displayed it on an oscilloscope and played with two custom aluminum controllers.

The game was pretty simple - it was rendered as a horizontal line, representing the tennis court, and a vertical line in the center, representing the tennis net. It was designed for two players, as the game says, who would hit and point the ball with a button on their controller.

The game was very popular at the Brookhaven National Laboratory's annual three-day public exhibition, with players lining up to see the game, especially high school students.

Although Tennis for Two wasn't the first game with an electronic display, under some definitions it is considered the first video game, as while it did not include any technological innovations over prior games, it was the first computer game to be created purely as an entertainment product rather than for academic research or commercial technology promotion.

In 1959, Higinbotham and Dvorak showed a more advanced version of the game, with bigger screen and innovations in the movement of the ball.

The first video game released on this day, 58 years ago 02 | TweakTown.com

The earliest known interactive electronic game is considered to be a cathode-ray tube amusement device, patented by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann in 1947. The device simulates artillery fire that throws its target on the CRT screen, coupled with an oscilloscope, and which is controlled by the switch. This was a completely analog device without memory or program.

The first publicly demonstrated electronic game was created in 1950. Bertie the Brain was an arcade game of tic-tac-toe, built by Josef Kates for a two-week exhibition.

Lana has a passion for technology and science. She spends her time looking for the latest and most interesting technology and science news. Her passion is in gadgets, wearables, and other cool and interesting applications of technology or science. She also spends her free time gaming in MMOs like World of Warcraft. She has prior experience covering technology for publications and breaking news. If she’s not doing either, you might just find her exploring the metaverse in VR. Lana wants to expand TweakTown’s coverage of mobile, wearables and gadgets while also bringing her experience with science and general tech to TweakTown. Her area of coverage is around science, technology, smartphones, wearables, and general neat gadgets. She hopes to one day be able to drive around in her self-driving car while she schedules an appointment for a SpaceX trip to the moon on her smartwatch.

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