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[personal profile] mmcirvin
[LiveJournal "Writer's Block" question: What was the first computer game you ever played?]

I'm old enough that the answers for "computer game" and "video game" are different. The first computer games I played were tic-tac-toe and Hunt the Wumpus on my dad's account on the GEISCO engineering cluster, sometime in the mid-1970s; the terminal was a Texas Instruments Silent 700 printing on thermal paper.

The first video game was some off-brand pong that we bought at some point in the late Seventies; I remember it as having two-color output, several vaguely sports-themed variants, and a target-shooting game with a light gun. I've never been able to figure out exactly what brand it was, though I remember the box touting its "omni-directional controls" (small analog sticks).

It broke after about a week, and we got an Atari VCS some time after that.

Nothing I played before the Atari was all that addictive, but the games on the GE system had the novelty of playing a game on a computer.
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Date: 2011-04-24 05:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sometime at the end of the Seventies, I also had a Merlin (, a popular early handheld that played several simple games on a light-up touchpad with 11 LEDs. Many years later I met the game's inventor (
Edited Date: 2011-04-24 10:35 pm (UTC)


Date: 2011-04-24 06:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, I had forgotten -- actually the first "computer game" I played was Tic-Tac-Toe. The Chicago Museum of Science had a Tic-Tac-Toe playing computer on display in the 1960s. Everyone was impressed that it made its moves instantly without any visible hesitation. I was proud I got a draw with it. I would have liked to play more than one game, but there was a line.

Re: Tic-Tac-Toe

Date: 2011-04-24 06:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm pretty sure the Merlin's tic-tac-toe algorithm was designed to throw the occasional game.

Date: 2011-04-24 07:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The GEISCO system had several other games of the sort that ended up installed on most mainframes of that age, including the text-based Star Trek and Original Adventure (Colossal Cave), but I never got into them.

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