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History of video games/1960-1969

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Error Correction[edit]

Reed-Solomon Code is invented, allowing for more reliable telecommunication and optical media[1], which would later be used by gaming systems. It is also used by more obscure game media, such as Nintendo E-Reader cards.[2]

Vector Animation[edit]

An early computer animation is rendered in Sweeden 1960 and broadcast in 1961.[3][4]



Spacewar! running on a PDP-1.

Spacewar! for the PDP-1 computer was among the first digital video games, and featured two players fighting around a gravity pulling star.[5][6] It's open source nature also soon leads to some of the first video game mods.[6]


The PLATO Educational computer terminal system is launched after being developed from 1959 through 1960, later giving rise to a number of early multiplayer games in the 1970's once adoption picked up.[7][8]



In 1962 the mainframe game Marienbad is developed in Poland as a Nim adaptation.[9]


Invention of the Mouse[edit]

A mouse prototype which began development in 1964 by Doug Engelbart and Bill English.

Doug Englebart invents the mouse in 1964.[10]


Computer Typography[edit]

In 1968 Digi Grotesk is created, one of the first known digital typefaces.[11][12] Typography would become a key component of visual design in any video games with text.[13]

Mother of All Demos[edit]

Following years of development, on December 9th, 1968 Doug Englebart hosts the "Mother of All Demos" where he demonstrates a number of concepts, including many that would later be used by video games, such as a computer mouse, digital maps, hyperlinks, real time collaboration in the same environment, and video chat.[14][15]


Space Travel[edit]

In March of 1969 Bell Labs changed focus, spurring programmer Ken Thompson to port his video game Space Travel from the expensive to run GE-645 computer to a cheaper PDP-7 he had access to, eventually resulting in the creation of the Unix operating system.[16] Unix derived and compatible operating systems would go on to power a number of gaming devices, such as the PlayStation 4.[17]

Apollo 11[edit]

On July 20th, 1969 humans lands on the Moon for the first time, with the historic moment televised across the globe.[18] Among those captivated by the Apollo 11 moon landing is Hideo Kojima, who would later develop games inspired by space travel, such as Policenauts.[19][20]

1960's Gaming History Gallery[edit]


  • Dr. Nim is a dedicated mechanical digital computer game that used marbles instead of a screen launched at some point during the 1960's.


  1. "Reed-Solomon Codes". https://www.cs.cmu.edu/~guyb/realworld/reedsolomon/reed_solomon_codes.html. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  2. "Nintendo E-Reader Technical Details". https://www.caitsith2.com/ereader/tech.htm. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  3. Wenz, John (25 June 2015). "These Retro Animations Were Far Ahead of Their Time". https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/design/a16205/these-early-computer-animations-show-how-far-weve-come/. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  4. "3D Animation Design: 5 Large Industries Reshaped by It". 3 July 2020. https://cgiflythrough.com/blog/3d-animation-design-5-industries/. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  5. "Spacewar! PDP-1 Restoration Project Computer History Museum". https://www.computerhistory.org/pdp-1/spacewar/. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  6. a b Brandom, Russell (4 February 2013). "'Spacewar!' The story of the world's first digital video game" (in en). https://www.theverge.com/2013/2/4/3949524/the-story-of-the-worlds-first-digital-video-game. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  7. "The Game Archaeologist: The PLATO MMOs, part 1" (in en). https://www.engadget.com/2013-08-03-the-game-archaeologist-the-plato-mmos-part-1.html. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  8. "How PLATO changed the World...in 1960". 3 June 2017. https://news.elearninginside.com/how-plato-changed-the-world-in-1960/. Retrieved 21 November 2020. 
  9. "Marienbad (video game)" (in en). 3 September 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marienbad_(video_game). Retrieved 12 November 2020. 
  10. Markoff, John (3 July 2013). "Computer Visionary Who Invented the Mouse (Published 2013)". https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/technology/douglas-c-engelbart-inventor-of-the-computer-mouse-dies-at-88.html. 
  11. "This Was The First Computer Font" (in en). https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jwherrman/this-was-the-first-computer-font. Retrieved 12 November 2020. 
  12. "The Digital Past: When Typefaces Were Experimental". https://www.aiga.org/the-digital-past-when-typefaces-were-experimental. Retrieved 12 November 2020. 
  13. "Down to the Letter: The Importance of Typography in Video Games" (in en). https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/CarolMertz/20150513/243306/Down_to_the_Letter_The_Importance_of_Typography_in_Video_Games.php. Retrieved 12 November 2020. 
  14. "Highlights of the 1968 Demo - Doug Engelbart Institute". https://dougengelbart.org/content/view/276/000/. Retrieved 12 November 2020. 
  15. Center, Smithsonian Lemelson (10 December 2018). "The Mother of All Demos" (in en). https://invention.si.edu/mother-all-demos. Retrieved 12 November 2020. 
  16. "The Strange Birth and Long Life of Unix" (in en). https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-history/cyberspace/the-strange-birth-and-long-life-of-unix. Retrieved 12 November 2020. 
  17. "PS4 runs Orbis OS, a modified version of FreeBSD that's similar to Linux - ExtremeTech". https://www.extremetech.com/gaming/159476-ps4-runs-orbis-os-a-modified-version-of-freebsd-thats-similar-to-linux. Retrieved 12 November 2020. 
  18. Sosby, Micheala (12 July 2019). "Memories of Apollo from People All Over the World". https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2019/memories-of-apollo-from-people-all-over-the-world. Retrieved 12 November 2020. 
  19. Chen, Adrian (3 March 2020). "Hideo Kojima’s Strange, Unforgettable Video-Game Worlds". https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/03/magazine/hideo-kojima-death-stranding-video-game.html. Retrieved 12 November 2020. 
  20. "shmuplations.com". https://shmuplations.com/policenauts/. Retrieved 12 November 2020.