May 23, 2006

OXO: the name of the (first ever) game

Cambridge University, 1949: The EDSAC, short for Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator and a computer developed by M. Wilkes, ran its first program. Surely it had something to do with crushing the reds.


Cambridge University, 1952: The EDSAC, does something rather quirky. It stops being all scientific and anti-communist and tries to be nice. It is thus the platform, where the first computer game (ever) was created: OXO (a.k.a Noughts and Crosses). OXO, a revolution in entertainment, that featured amazing 35*16 pixel graphics, and was actually a version of tic-tac-toe, played by dialing (on an typically 50s phone-dial) your input and facing a simple but decent AI. The first video game's creator was (as is usual in these cases) a PhD student: A.S. Douglas. It seems his thesis was on human-computer interaction.

In case you too, would like to experience this fine video game, the grandfather of the whole shebang and predecessor to Doom, and don't have enough room for the 30ton (I guess; number right out of my ass) EDSAC supercomputer, go get yourself an emulator. Here. It's free.

On the other hand, if free is what you're after, have a look at more than 60 hand-picked free games. If, alternatively, retro is your thing, may I propose a glimpse at 80s home computer ads or at a(n) (almost) complete list of Mario games?


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17 comments:

  1. Very interesting...but the first proper computer was the 'Manchester Mark 1,' built at none other than Manchester University. It was built in 1949. Great post though - and great Monday Museum too.

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  2. Perhaps, but the Manchester Mark 1 didn't have any games, did it?
    Oh, and glad you enjoyed MM#15

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  3. Super-Pedanto5/23/06, 10:36 PM

    "The University of Cambridge", please - "Cambridge University" sounds as if it's in the USA.

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  4. I'll keep that in mind...

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  5. cool, i recently gave an informative speech about video games in class, and mentioned OXO in my introduction. Didn't know it was playable though. Sweet!

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  6. No doubt they used oxo cubes in Manchester hence the derivative gameplay. Another great find Mr.Gnome
    (Elderly bows and lights and incense stick)

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  7. The first computer?

    I´d vote for Konrad Zuse's Z3, built in 1941 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z3)

    Greetings

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  8. Charlie: It wouldn't be much of a game if it weren't playable you know :)

    Dear Mr. Elderly: Thank you. Can I talk about Barbie now?

    Drufuss: I'll just agree with you.

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  9. The Manchester Mark 1 ran San Andreas with considerable ease. And it's Bovril, not OXO, that us flat cap doffing northerners quaff.

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  10. How about Oblivion?
    And Bovril as in: "Bovril, formerly a beef extract, now is the trademarked name of a thick, salty yeast extract, sold in a distinctive, bulbous jar"?

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  11. Darn there goes my oxo theorem. Luckily, thanks to tomleecee I now have a reference for my new theory on earthquakes.

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  12. Earthquakes are created by huge-teutonic weapons, only the powers of darkness and terrorism posses. Everyone knows that.

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  13. (elderly frantically scribbles out his theory on earthquakes) yep teutonic thingies, sure I knew that. Figures really!

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  14. Just thought I would say you have a great blog here... I dont know much about the older days of gaming and you have some great info to read about..!

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  15. Nice find! Funny how everyone seems to think Spacewar by Steve Russell (MIT) was the first game. Where did you dig this up? Nice to know us brits really did invent everything :P

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  16. Thank you very much deitrix, glad you are enjoying Gnome's Lair.

    And, mmostoner, if I tell you were I ound it, I'd have to kill you..

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