VIDEOGAME GREATS #1 (Double Award)
Developer: Bill Pitts & Hugh Tuck
If we start anywhere, we really need to mention both Galaxy Game and the closely related Computer Space. Galaxy Game was a simulation of two space ships battling in space. It tried to mirror real-world physics, with velocity, a sun with gravity and (later in the development) a star map background with accurately mapped constellations. Needless to say, with this level of programming at such early stages of video gaming – it took a very powerful computer to run. Only expensive mini-computers of the time could run this game – so typically you would only see a Galaxy Game machine at a technical college. It is a rare and privileged person who remembers playing this on an original setup.
Developer: Nutting Associates
Computer Space was the first commercial coin-op game, which took a low-tech approach to bringing Galaxy Game to market. The two ships battling concept was simplified and reduced to logic circuits only – no microprocessor. This was necessary to make it a commercially viable product… and even so, it was deemed a bit of a failure. The official company line is that it was too complex for the guy in the bar… with a steep learning curve and too many buttons. The unofficial line is that the game sucked. BUT… I have to say it had the coolest game cabinet of all time! It further secured its place in gaming history by appearing in two movies: 1973’s Soylent Green, and 1975’s Jaws.
It’s a challenge nowadays to play either of these trailblazers of gaming history — you pretty much have to find it in a museum, jump the security lines and also find an old 1971 quarter….