The Significance of SpaceWar

uem_s03_building_spacewar_in_visual_studio

#1

It doesn’t seem like anyone else brought this up so I thought I would mention this.

The game SpaceWar (especially the way Steam has re-made it here) has huge historical significance.

It was one of the very first computer programs you and I would recognize as a game, and was the touchstone for how computer games were developed there after.
It was made collaboratively by a bunch MIT staff and students in 1962 (7 years before Pong, and 23 years before either Super Mario or the first version of C++) in the assembly language of the PDP-1 mainframe computer.

The game was also about shooting your mates out of the galaxy and had the same central Sun whose gravitational force would pull you into your doom. The original game also had a really cool “hyperspace” feature, where you could disappear for a brief moment, but could pop back into spacetime anywhere on map (including next to the Sun).

More than being a major proponent in the development of video games as we know them today, that MIT lab where the game was developed was the start of the hacker culture which has lead to some of foundations of how all computers work, not to mention all open-source software.

So yeah… not just any old game.

More info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacewar!
Much more info here: https://www.amazon.com/Hackers-Computer-Revolution-Steven-Levy/dp/1449388396/


#2

Awesome factoid! Thanks for sharing it. Some pretty awesome things came out of MIT, that’s for sure!