The absolute earliest and first game to be played on some type of a cathode ray tube, and use some type of computer, was a missile simulator type game played on circular screen that looked much like the old radar screens used during World War II. This game was created by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann in 1947. The creation of this game was significant because it marks the beginning of a new age of cathode ray tube and what they can be used for. Up until this point any display like this was simply used as something to be seen. With this game a player could look at it and make changes to what happened on it. It was interactive!
In 1952, what many consider to be the first graphical game was created by A.S.Douglas and it was a tic-tac-toe game called OXO. Over the course of the next two decades between the 1950's and 1960's a variety of other rudimentary games started to make appearances with the use of large computers that were tube based. One of the most notable was the game Tennis for two which was created by William Higinbotham in 1958. This game was played on an oscilloscope display.
Video games start to become more sophisticated and take on more realism in the 60's and the first game to do this was a game called Space War. It was created for a Digital Equipment Corporation computer and it was two spaceships (players) that engaged in a shootout on a starry background. One of the significant things about this game was that the ships were in a gravity well that affected how they moved and how the player had to operate them. This game has been recreated and copied in many different arcade and home versions like Galaxy Wars and in variations like Asteroids.
The First Publicly Released Game
The first game released to the mass public was called Computer Space. It was based on the Space War game and it was a coin operated arcade style game created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. It was released in 1971. And in 1972 they released the arcade game Pong which was a big success. These games were the beginnings of the Atari Company.
Video Games Move onto the home Television Set
The very first console video game system that could be played on a television set at home was the Magnavox Odyssey. It was designed by Ralph Baer and it was first released to the public in 1972 and It only met with limited success. In 1975 the real revolution in video games for the home began with the release of the home version of Pong by Atari. Atari landed an exclusive contract for 175,000 units with Sears who would market it and sell It in their stores. The game was a smash success for the 1975 Christmas season. One of little thought about revolutions about this game was that all the discrete wiring was designed into a single chip which was the most advanced consumer electronics chip ever made until then. This opened up a whole new world of computer games.
Video games have had an interesting history with a lot of different people contributing to their success. They have come a long way and there are no doubt many more interesting and exciting developments to come.