On a day like today, the first “electronic” video game in history was launched

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On a day like today, the first


On October 18, 1958, the American physicist William Higinbotham showed the public “Tennis for Two“the first electronic game developed on a Donner Model 30 analog computer. This simulates a game of tennis or ping-pong on an oscilloscope.

Higinbotham created “Tennis for Two” according to “not to bore visitors at Brookhaven National Laboratory” where he worked.

He learned that one of Brookhaven’s computers could calculate ballistic missile trajectories and used this ability to form the foundation of the party.

“Tennis for Two” utiliza un oscilloscope as a graphic display to show the trajectory of a simulated ball on a tennis court.






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Users can interact with the ball using an aluminum analog controller which has a button to click and hit the ball and use the controller to control the angle.

Excluding the oscilloscope and controller, the game’s circuitry took up roughly the space of a microwave oven.

Although there was no direct relationship between the two games, “Tennis for Two” was a precursor to “Pong”, one of the most recognized video games as well as one of the first.

Tennis for Two remained virtually unknown until the late 1970s and early 1980s, when Higinbotham was called to testify at the defendants’ trials against Magnavox and Ralph Baer.






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Unlike Pong and similar early games, Tennis for Two shows a perspective of the court “from the side” rather than an “overhead” perspective. The perspective shows more of the ball’s trajectory than Pong’s view. The ball is affected by gravity and must be played over the net.

In 2008 a replica of the game was exhibited in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the original game.

What’s more…

On October 18, 1954 the “Regency TR-1“, the first transistor radio commercially manufactured.

The Regency TR-1 was a novelty due to its small size and portability, they were sold around 150,000 units even though its performance is considered mediocre. It had an initial sale price of $ 49.95

Before the Regency TR-1, the use of transistors was limited to use in military and industrial applications.

Two companies came together to develop this radio, the “Texas Instruments” of Dallas and the “IDEA” company of Indianapolis.

By May 1954, Texas Instruments had designed and built a prototype of radio transistor and it was in search of an established radio manufacturer for its development and further commercialization.

Manufacturers such as RCA, Philco, and Emerson are interested, but it is “IDEA” that is partnering with Texas Instruments to manufacture and market the Regency TR-1.

This device is patented by Richard C. Koch, US 2,892,931, former IDEA project engineer.

The Regency TR-1 was praised for its novelty and small size but the quality of sensitivity and sound was well below the tube-based competitors.

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