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Computer Space was one of the first arcade games that Nolan Bushnell created. It was not a commercial success because of the complexity of the controls and as a result, when Nolan Bushnell tried again, he tried with a simple game that we call Pong.

 

If you want to find out more, here is a good site to get you started:

http://www.yesterdayland.com/popopedia/sho...cade/ag1028.php

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Drop by for a brew, and you can play mine

 

Game play is bad, graphics are not that bad for its age. It would be at least another 7 or 8 years before the graphics got that complex again. Pong is actually quite primitive by comparison.

 

Cassidy

 

BTW, CS one players go for around 1500-2500 working, 2 players are in the 3-5000 range.

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It wasn't one of the first, it was THE first.

 

I don't think the gameplay is that bad. Think UFO for the O^2. It's just that editorials about the game always blast the gameplay and I think a lot of people who have never played the game in person knee-jerk repeat what they've read instead of making up their own minds.

 

As far as the kind of computation that seems to be going on, it is definitely beyond Pong and most of the other early coinops.

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so is anyone willing to make a computer style copy of it? I know true emulation is effectively impossible. Maybe then people could deceide for themselves if it sucks or not.

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so is anyone willing to make a computer style copy of it? I know true emulation is effectively impossible. Maybe then people could deceide for themselves if it sucks or not.

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I have that Spacewar JAVA thing saved on my computer already ;p held tournaments with it over the summer. I'm afraid that I have neither the programming skill, nor a Computer Space to work off of to make an "emulated" version.

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quote:

Originally posted by Glenn Saunders:

It wasn't one of the first, it was THE first.

 

.

 

Glenn actually it wasn't THE first.... in fact technically Computer Space was NOT the first commercial video game, a few months earlier Bill Pitts, a Stanford graduate and Hugh Tuck, a friend of his built and installed "Galaxy Game", a coin-op version of Steve Russells Spacewar inside the Stamford student hall.... unlike Computer Space which was too complex for bar drunks (just joking) the students at Stamford had no problem grasping the concept of the game and in the end, Pitts made enough money from the game to pay off his $60K tuition fee's... So unfortunately, Nolan gets another notch taken back from his credits, he did not create & sell the first coin-op video game, however he still is the undisputed Father of the Video Game Industry....

 

 

Curt

 

 

Curt

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damn ... great pics ....

 

i'm saying damn because end of last year i went through the german ebay searching for arcades, and i found an auction that had just ended: a yellow cabinet (without monitor and electronics) that was sold for ridiculous 8$!

 

guess what empty cabinet it was ?!

 

 

 

i thought ... kill me, i'm stupid and too late!

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>>

Glenn actually it wasn't THE first.... in fact technically Computer Space was NOT the first commercial video game, a few months earlier Bill Pitts, a Stanford graduate and Hugh Tuck, a friend of his built and installed "Galaxy Game", a coin-op version of Steve Russells Spacewar inside the Stamford student hall.... <<

 

But this was never productized and offered to the general coinop industry the way Computer Space was. I consider that a one-off prototype in the same sense as Tennis for Two was, and since it was really just a PDP-10/11 under the hood, not nearly as influential in the evolution of the videogame industry as the CPU-less design in Computer Space (which would be the standard way to do things until the late 70s).

 

It was Nolan's cost-reduction design in the electronics that allowed the first generation of coinop games to happen.

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quote:

Originally posted by Curt Vendel:

Glenn actually it wasn't THE first.... in fact technically Computer Space was NOT the first commercial video game...

 

Yeah it was. Since when does a prototype constitute a commercial product?

 

 

quote
...Pitts made enough money from the game to pay off his $60K tuition fee's

 

Pitts game was a prototype, and AFAIK only 1 was ever built. Besides, I find it very hard to believe that he made $60K off a prototype. A top game like Pac-Man made maybe $2K average a month at its peak

 

 

quote
However he still is the undisputed Father of the Video Game Industry....

 

Undisputed? Ever hear of Higinbotham and Baer?

 

[ 03-07-2002: Message edited by: Scott Stilphen ]

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quote:

Originally posted by Scott Stilphen:

Undisputed? Ever hear of Higinbotham and Baer?

 

[ 03-07-2002: Message edited by: Scott Stilphen ]

 

Higinbotham created what could be considered the first video game using electronics... he did not market the product. Its the first commercial arcade game we're talking about, not the first video game or first home video game.

 

You forget Steve Russell who sparked Bushnell and Pitts to make their video games in the first place, he never sold or patented his design either and made nothing from it.

 

Ralph Baer is the Father of the Home Video Game with his designs and the creation of the Odyssey 1, Bushnell is the one who not only designed and sold commercial video games, his methods and concepts for the sale and manufacture of commercial video games were what set the standard by which others would use, copy and refine.... his contributions are really what set the video game industry into motion... hence why he is not the father of video games, but the father of the industry.

 

True, Pitts only made the one unit, but it was the first to be put out for use and profit in the public before Computer Space was placed on location, but Pitts design was not mass produced afterwards... If Bushnell hadn't of had the Nutting connection, Computer Space may very well have only been a prototype as well.... lets not forget another prototype which was placed on a barrel: Pong, the original Orange prototype built by Al Alcorn :-)

 

Just pointing out that Pitts machine was the first to be making money off of a video arcade game. As for whether he made $60K during the time it was put out is from his own word, so whether it is completely true or not is for a debate with him, since he (and perhaps his account) can only say for sure :-)

 

Curt

The Atari History Museum

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quote:

Originally posted by Glenn Saunders:

>>

 

But this was never productized and offered to the general coinop industry the way Computer Space was. I consider that a one-off prototype in the same sense as Tennis for Two was, and since it was really just a PDP-10/11 under the hood, not nearly as influential in the evolution of the videogame industry as the CPU-less design in Computer Space (which would be the standard way to do things until the late 70s).

 

It was Nolan's cost-reduction design in the electronics that allowed the first generation of coinop games to happen.

 

Then we need to clearly state, Computer Space is the first mass produced coin-op video game, not just the first coin-op game placed into a public venue for profit

 

Curt

The Atari History Museum

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quote
and since it was really just a PDP-10/11 under the hood

 

did you ever see a pdp 10/11? it's a "giant" mainframe ..... what do you mean with "under the hood"? it also uses 380V power.

 

so it sounds like this one would have the size of at least 4 regular arcades ...

 

 

 

i've just been on ralph bears homepage. check the history .... i'm also thinking he is really the father of arcades .... i mean i love the 2600, but it's clear that it was just the best developped, marketed system by that time and still it came way after ralph's TV system with changeable cartridges from 72.

 

the way i see things:

 

Ralph Bear was an incredibly intelligent and creative guy, the head of a whole group of people pioneering computer games.

 

Nolan Bushnell, in my eye, was more the clever kind of guy ... it also wasn't just him inventing all that stuff from front to back.

 

but i think the simplicity of his pong game revolutionized the hole gaming movement. i must admit i haven't played computer space (cassidy, i don't drink and you're too far away ) but from what i could read and see on the net, it wasn't really easy to play for somebody who has never experienced video games in his life before. (that may sound strange nowadays)

and pong was the exact opposed game. simple moves: up and down.

i guess that was the point that led to overfilled coin boxes.

 

also i think i remember that the "fisrt" video game was created on a giant mainframe at the MIT (ednac?)

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i might have gone off-topic a little ....

 

let me say that (for sure) computer space has been the coolest arcade design for years ... ;-D

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great pictures from that ebay auction!The fiberglass cabinet is so cool.Emulation should be a priority for this piece of gaming history,I would really like to see how this game played...

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quote:

Originally posted by jahfish:

and since it was really just a PDP-10/11 under the hood

 

did you ever see a pdp 10/11? it's a "giant" mainframe ..... what do you mean with "under the hood"?  it also uses 380V power.

 

Actually, the DEC series is what's known as a Mini, not a mainframe. PDP-10's and 11's, on their own, were about the size of a filing cabinet.

 

quote:

so it sounds like this one would have the size of at least 4 regular arcades ...


 

Not in the least. In fact, it wouldn't have taken up much more room than most of the large 1970's coinop cabinets.

 

Here's a pic of a PDP-11. And here's another pic from DEC's own handbook.

 

Here is a photo of two of the terminals used from the second version of the game that was set up in '72. The first version was a single walnut cabinet.

 

quote:

 

 

i've just been on ralph bears homepage. check the history .... i'm also thinking he is really the father of arcades ....

 

Then you'd be arguing with Ralph on that one, because he even considers Nolan the father of the arcades.

 

quote:

i mean i love the 2600, but it's clear that it was just the best developped, marketed system by that time and still it came way after ralph's TV system with changeable cartridges from 72.


 

You'd be better off comparing Atari's multipong systems to Ralph's than the 2600.

Two completely different things. The "changeable" cartridges were nothing more than jumpers to activate and reset various circuits already contained inside. The games were already built in. The VCS/2600 was an actual programmable console with a microprocessor, and actuall game code contained on the cartridges.

 

quote:

Nolan Bushnell, in my eye, was more the clever kind of guy ... it also wasn't just him inventing all that stuff from front to back.

 

but i think the simplicity of his pong game revolutionized the hole gaming movement.


 

Where's Nolan's genius lay was with the design of Computer Space and Pong. If he would have gone the way of Galaxy Game and used an actual general purpose computer (such as the PDP-11) it would have cost him $20,000 for just one game. Don't forget, microprocessors were first being invented then. No marketability in game that costs $20,000 just to make at a time when there obviously was no market for it yet. Instead, he decided to still go the computer route, but have it be a dedicated "computer". The electronics were there just to be able to play that game and nothing else. This kept the cost way down, and made it marketable. And set the path for everyone to follow, until microprocessors became powerful enough and cheap enough to actually be used to drive a game by 1975.

 

quote:

I guess this was the point that led to overfilled coin boxes.

 

Again, you have to look at placement as well. Galaxy Game was in a college campus pub for 8 years, and quite frankly - the intelligence factor and willingness to deal with new technology is going to be a little higher than a pub near some factory. So something along the lines of a simple game like pong was needed for the "Gump" factor that was high at the time with regards to technology. Don't forget, the average person had little if any contact with computer/electronic driven technology of that nature either. To most people, a computer was some big behemoth in a room with blinking lights and guys with lab coats running around.

 

 

quote:

also i think i remember that the "fisrt" video game was created on a giant mainframe at the MIT (ednac?)

 

There were a number of different "simulations" that were done during the early 50's that could be considered games. Likewise, the TX-0 (first transistor based computer) had a number of games, including a lighpen based mouse in a maze game. But the first actual game for gamings sake is a toss up between the Table Tennis game and Space War depending on how you feel about the first.

 

[ 03-10-2002: Message edited by: Marty Goldberg ]

 

[ 03-10-2002: Message edited by: Marty Goldberg ]

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quote:

Originally posted by Curt Vendel:

Higinbotham created what could be considered the first video game using electronics...


 

All video games use electronics. Unless you mean to say Higinbotham's display was not a CRT based display, which seems to be Ralph's definition of what is and is not a "video" game. And technically, Higinbotham's game used analog electronics along with an actual computer he hooked up to handle the physics calculations.

 

quote:

he did not market the product. Its the first commercial arcade game we're talking about, not the first video game or first home video game.

 

Neither did Pitts. There was only one machine made (admittedly two versions of it), put in one location. Market: 1. To offer for Sale. 2. To sell. To have an arcade industry, you have to sell machines.

Pitts did not. He sold a service (the ability to play a game) on his privately owned machine. So perhaps you're liberally using "commerical" to refer to selling game time, as opposed to the industry meaning of selling the product itself. Lots of them, in volume.

 

 

quote:

As for whether he made $60K during the time it was put out is from his own word, so whether it is completely true or not is for a debate with him, since he (and perhaps his account) can only say for sure :-)

 

At 10 cents a play, and a free game every time your ship was left with fuel at the end - it must have taken a hell of a long time to regain $60,000 for tuition let alone the $20,000 it took to make the game in the first place.

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quote:

Originally posted by Marty Goldberg:

Then you'd be arguing with Ralph on that one, because he even considers Nolan the father of the arcades.

 

Not exactly. Ralph will credit Nolan as being the Father of the Videogaming Industry. He will never think of Nolan as the father of the arcades because Pong was stolen from the Odyssey.

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quote:

Originally posted by rolenta:

Not exactly. Ralph will credit Nolan as being the Father of the Videogaming Industry. He will never think of Nolan as the father of the arcades because Pong was stolen from the Odyssey.

Wrong.

 

From "Who Did It First" by Ralph Baer:

quote:

Bushnell built an arcade game (Computer Space) in 1969 which used a raster-scan TV monitor display. The game was not a success.

 

However, it clearly qualifies Bushnell for the title of the “Father of Arcade Video Games”.

 

And the problem with Ralph's definition of a video game (regardless of it legal usage in the Nintendo case) is that it means that the Game Boy is not a video game system.

 

Which it is.

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There's really no one definitive "father" of video games. Certainly Nolan made the greatest contribution, by getting the technology out of the labs and enlightening the 'masses', but Baer was working on designing games years before Nolan soldered his first Computer Space circuit. Just as Computer Space was a knock-off of Steve's Space War, and Al Alcorn's Pong was a knock-off of Baer's Odyssey tennis, even Baer wasn't the first person to make a video tennis game - Higinbotham made his in the late 50s.

 

Personally, I don't buy into Baer's definition of a video game, since it only includes raster-based games (excluding any vector games like Asteroids, Tempest, and particularly Higinbotham's tennis game. Yes, his tennis game used vacuum tubes instead of transistors. So freakin what? Wasn't Space War originally designed on a tube-based PDP? It's still a game that uses a VIDEO display. Does that mean the early vacuum-tubed TV sets weren't really raster displays? Does that mean if I play a 2600 on a projection TV, it's no longer a video game? His definition is not only very limited, it's absurd.

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quote:

Originally posted by rolenta:

Not exactly. Ralph will credit Nolan as being the Father of the Videogaming Industry. He will never think of Nolan as the father of the arcades because Pong was stolen from the Odyssey.

 

Heya Leonard, nice to see you participate.

 

Unfortunately, Pong was his second game (technically Al Alcorn's first), hence the topic of this entire discussion. So I'm not sure what your point was with regards to bringing up pong as an example.

 

And unfortunately, Rhindle beat me to it with quoting the source. That is the very statement I was thinking of when I made my statement earlyer. He may certainly have said other things to you personally in your many dealings with him, but he did also say what is stated in that interview on Pong Story.

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quote:

Originally posted by dwh:

great pictures from that ebay auction!The fiberglass cabinet is so cool.Emulation should be a priority for this piece of gaming history,I would really like to see how this game played...

 

Unfortunately, emulation is impossible for these and many other great early games. These games did not use any microprocessors, and hence no stored programs to run. Microprocessor controlled coin-ops and stored games on roms didn't start appearing until 1975, and even then were a novelty. Though before that, there were some character shapes and such stored on roms. However, even then you couldn't emulate the game itself.

 

A game like Pong for example, is made out of analog circuits. You have one circuit that draws a ball, another that draws a paddle, another that reads the dial inputs, another circuit for collision detection, etc. etc.

There is no actual program running.

 

Now, in the case of Galaxy Game we actually could emulate that if someone has the code. PDP-11's and other older Mini's can be emulated to run actual programs originally written for them. Just as you could run the original spacewar on your computer now, by emulating a PDP-1 computer and getting a hold of a compiler for it. The original spacewar code is out there on the web.

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