[Cialug] Spacewar to Oregon Trail
tdwalton at gmail.com
Sat Jul 12 10:35:58 CDT 2008
I'm going through some old stuff of mine, and came across a
July/August 1978 issue of Games magazine. It's mostly crossword
puzzles and board games, and there are cigarette advertisements and a
VW ad for "seatbelts that put themselves on" with a picture of a guy
about to shut the door of his car.
There's also an article called "From Spacewar to the Oregon Trail, The
Playful Side of Home Computers", by David H. Ahl. It has a picture of
an Apple II hooked up to a television. Computers aren't all
investment analysis and text editing and accounting! From the
Item: October 10, 1972. The PDP-10 at the Stanford AI Laboratory is
reserved from 8 PM on for the "Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics."
Item: October 1976. Cromemco announces Spacewar for the 8080 and TV
Dazzler. Paper tape $15.00.
What those two items mean is that in the short span of four years
Spacewar went from a game that required the use of a multimillion
dollar computer to a game that could be played on a thousand dollar
What happens to a fanatical cult when you open the temple doors and
let everyone take the source of its inspiration to their own homes?
We don't really know since the doors haven't been open that wide or
for that long. But it does seem that a generation of kids that can't
do manual math or use a slide rule because of the pocket calculator,
may find that a TV set can throw an active challenge their way instead
of just a passive picture. Both a physical and intellectual
challenge, coupled with an outlet for pent-up hostilities -- not a bad
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