National Game Registry 1962: Spacewar!

original platform:
PDP-1 (1962)
key personnel:
Steve Russell (program/concept)
Martin Graetz (concept)
Wayne Wiitanen (concept)
Peter Samson (star program)
Dan Edwards (gravity program)

This FIRST video game ever was developed by a group of computer enthusiasts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to show off the school’s recently-acquired PDP-1 computer. Two players, each controlling a spaceship, attempting to destroy each other with projectile attacks. The players must avoid the gravity well of a nearby star and conserve their fuel.  Unavoidable dangers may be escaped by using a hyperspace button that sends the player’s ship to a random point on the screen, sometimes right back into danger. Impressively, the star field behind the action is an accurate portrayal of the night sky as observed from earth.

Spacewar! was inducted on March 10th, 2009.

Return to the National Game Registry to view more inductees.

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