Video Games Turn Forty — Article at 1UP.com

May 15th, 2007 by Benj Edwards

Video Games Turn Forty

It's true: in 1967, Ralph Baer and Bill Harrison created the world's first television video game hardware. And forty years ago today (May 15th, 1967), the first television video game took place. Who won? Mosey on over to 1UP.com and check out the full feature I wrote about it. You'll find out that answer and a lot more.

Also check out the interviews I've conducted with the two participants in the monumental contest, Ralph Baer and Bill Harrison. I just published the Bill Harrison one today.

As an extra treat, here's a video of Ralph Baer and Bill Harrison demonstrating their Ping-Pong game on the "brown box" prototype at Sanders in 1969. Ping-Pong would later form the basis for Atari's famous Pong.


I would like to extend a special thank-you to Ralph Baer, Bill Harrison, and the family of Bill Rusch for their generous and invaluable help with this story. I could not have written it without them.

Happy birthday, video games.



8 Responses to “Video Games Turn Forty — Article at 1UP.com”

  1. NoOneSpecial Says:

    It is the 40 year anniversary of _television_ video games, not video games as a whole. Spacewar was running on the PDP-1 in 1962, making it at least 45 years…

  2. Benj Edwards Says:

    If you read the entire article, you'll get to the point (near the end) that discusses the differences between earlier games like Spacewar and the Sanders TV games.

  3. Dennis P Says:

    Video Games Turn Forty? No wonder I'm so damn' old!

  4. GameCollector Says:

    NoOneSpecial - For that matter, OXO was demonstrated on a mainframe in Cambridge in 1952, and would arguably be the first video game. One of the big problems with OXO and Spacewar is that they were only available to an extremely limited group of people. You could think of them as proof-of-concept games which could show the capabilities of huge room-sized computers. Pong, on the other hand, was the first commercially viable and publicly available video game.

  5. Benj Edwards Says:

    Thanks for your comments, Eric. If you read the whole article, you'll notice that it pretty much discusses everything you just wrote. I didn't mention OXO specifically, however, because it fits in the same category as the other games I talked about.

  6. GameCollector Says:

    Sorry, Benj, I haven't had time yet to get out there and read the full article. I just figured I'd toss in my two cents after reading NoOneSpecial's comment. I did get a chance to skim it over, though, and it looks great.

  7. Benj Edwards Says:

    No problem. I know that the article is really, really long. But bear with me — I definitely think it's worth a full and complete reading for any video or computer game fan. But then again — I would, wouldn't I? :)

  8. Mark Says:

    what amazes me is how far things have come.
    from a simple pong game (which is still one of my favorites)
    to world of warcraft and who know what else to come, it was men and minds like this that have given us the great world we live in today!

    happy 40th.

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