Feeds

Before Pong, there was Computer Space

Surrender your quarters, human!

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Spacewar!

At the University of Utah's electrical engineering program in the 1960s, Bushnell had the opportunity to play Spacewar!, one of the earliest-known computer games, on DEC mainframe computers. Pioneering one of the video game industry's most treasured tactics, Bushnell decided to develop a knock-off of the game to earn some cash. The same idea was also implemented two months earlier than Computer Space's debut at Standford University with Galaxy Game, although it was limited to only one unit at the Tresidder Union.

Teaming with Dabney, the duo formed the company Syzygy to make Computer Space. While working on the prototype, the two fixed broken pinball machines to fund the project. Syzygy eventually struck up a deal with Nutting Associates, a Mountain View, California-based maker of coin-operated trivia and shooting games to fund the venture and construct the fiberglass cabinet that housed the system.

Although Computer Space wasn't a commercial success (Nutting produced about 1,500 units), the game was ground-breaking in many ways. The cabinet and control scheme became a template for future arcade machines (although the curvy design was quickly scrapped in favor of the rectangular cabinets common today). The machinery in Computer Space was also widely adopted in arcade machines until microprocessors became affordable and more readily available.

Computer Space doesn't have a CPU chip or even system memory, but rather is a solid state computer running on Transistor to Transistor Logic 74xx series chips. The monitor was a standard black and white General Electric vacuum tube television set housed inside the fiberglass shell.

A player controls a rocket ship pitted against flying saucers with a masochistic-level of accuracy with their missiles. The skillful rocket ship commander that manages to score more hits than the saucers by the end of the game's one to two-and-a-half minute playtime goes into a extended play "hyperspace" mode, where the screen color reverses to white.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Next page: Metaflakes

More from The Register

next story
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Oi, Tim Cook. Apple Watch. I DARE you to tell me, IN PERSON, that it's secure
State attorney demands Apple CEO bows the knee to him
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
DARPA-backed jetpack prototype built to make soldiers run faster
4 Minute Mile project hatched to speed up tired troops
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.