1971 – 1975

OVERVIEW:
PONG really leveraged the advances up to that point to create the first big worldwide commercial success story. It launched an industry. Also on the cultural phenomenon of PONG, the first console system wasn’t a complete bomb… having a built-in version of a PONG-type game.

1971————–
ARCADE:
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GALAXY GAME
001 - Galaxy GameGalaxy Game is the earliest known coin-operated computer or video game. It was installed at the Tresidder Union at Stanford University in September, 1971, two months before the release of Computer Space, the first MASS PRODUCED such game. Only one unit was built initially, although the game later included several consoles allowing users to play against each other.The game was programmed by Bill Pitts and Hugh Tuck. Like Computer Space, it was a version of the existing Spacewar, which had been created in the early 1960s on the PDP1 and ported to a variety of platforms since then. The coinoperated game console incorporated a Digital PDP1120 with vector displays. A single PDP11 was used to drive the two vector displays, each allowing 2 players to compete. The hardware cost around 20,000, and a game cost 10 cents or three games for 25 cents. In June 1972 the hardware was improved to allow the processor to power four to eight consoles. The game remained popular on campus, with wait times for players as much as one hour, until it was removed in May 1979.The unit was restored in 1997 and now resides in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.

COMPUTER SPACE
001 - Computer SpaceThe first mass-produced, coin-operated arcade video game, COMPUTER SPACE appears. Created by Nolan Bushnell, it is largely inspired by the 1962 mainframe game SPACEWAR!, but was done ALL in hardware… making the game feasible from a commercial perspective. It didn’t make a lot, but it did make money and paved the way for more successful follow-up machines like PONG.

– can’t really play originals unless you go to a museum. That’s okay, though, as these early games were usually later remade with the exact same concept but better play mechanics. Still.. I really like the cabinet for Computer Space, very slick.

MOVIE: A Computer Space unit appears in the 1973 movie ‘Soylent Green’, starring Charlton Heston. It appears briefly on screen being played by a woman while policeman Heston is visiting the apartment’s owner.

MOVIE: A yellow Computer Space unit appears in the 1975 movie ‘Jaws’, during the arcade/beach scene (approximately 40 minutes from the beginning).

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COMPUTER GAMES:
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OREGON TRAIL – yes, this venerable game actually got its start in 1971, where you’d play by entering some commands in a terminal, and then a printer/teletype would print out some results, and you’d play on. Not really anything like the classrom classic that was a school staple in the late 80’s. I even remember playing it in our Commodore lab in 6th Grade (although that seems to have been a clone called “Westward Ho!”)

CIVILIZATION / a.k.a. Empire
– This was an early version of a management/economy simulation, written for the PDP 11/45 platform. Naturally, as all “unpurposeful” data in the early computing days – it was deleted.

1972
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ARCADE:
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PONG
002 - PONG– for a game this rudimentary and basic, it’s importance is justified. PONG launched the video game industry by being the first successful arcade game creation. As for playing it today, it’s really quite straightforward and boring after a little while. It’s been ported to almost every major system and has been reincarnated countless times.

Pong accompanies Dragon’s Lair and Pac-Man as one of the three Video games on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

– another interesting note is that Magnovox sued Atari over PONG, because it played so much like their Tennis game. Magnovox won the case based on a signed entry indicating Nolan Bushnell had indeed visited and played the Magnovox games at a tradeshow earlier in 1972. Atari ends up paying a licensing fee of $400,000 to Magnovox, but makes 10’s of millions on sales of PONG arcade cabinets. Ralph Baer agrees they got away cheap, but that they also gained the glory and notoriety of being FIRST in the arcade industry.

MOVIE: A Pong unit appears in the 1974 movie ‘The Parallax View’ and in the 1975 movie ‘Rancho Deluxe’.

STAR TREK
– What? I was surprised to see a Star Trek game way back in 1972 at the advent of arcade games. Ah, but it wasn’t really a “Star Trek” game – it was actually just a Bootleg Clone of Computer Space. You see – the BORG have already begun trying to assimilate the arcade world. And thus started Star Trek’s long-standing tradition of sucking at video games. Now… there was another STAR TREK game in 1972 that was a text-only game. It was written for the computer mainframe systems of the day and mostly accessible by college students at these universities. The text version was actually quite popular, the BORG version – not so much.

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COMPUTER GAMES:
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HUNT THE WUMPUS (Basic)
– One of the earliest text-adventure games ever created in basic for mainframe computers ;ole tje DEC PDP-1. You are put into a maze of interconnected tunnels, with bats, pits, and the Wumpus. You have to shoot arrows to kill the Wumpus before you die in a pit, or are eaten alive. You can still play something just like the original Hunt The Wumpus game using WinFrotz and a Z-file. The interactive-fiction community has benefitted greatly from the internet, now indexing what once might have been difficult to ever play games for a new generation (as well as us long-time players).

STAR TREK (see above in Arcade description)

HAMMURABI: Another classic game that is hard to pinpoint its exact beginnings. But certainly its worth noting alongside these other classics of early computing. The platforms were varied, but the game was similar. Try your hand at managing a small kingdom for 10 years, buying & selling acreage and feeding those hungry peasants.

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CONSOLES:
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The ODYSSEY by Magnovox
Odyssey1– The ODYSSEY is an interesting system because it is the FIRST console gaming system ever. It also looks like it has removable cartridges, which would certainly have been well ahead of its time. However, the cartridges are really just glorified jumpers, which when plugged in alter the circuitry to play a pre-programmed hard-wired game. Amazingly, the original Odyssey even had a light gun which allowed you to shoot at targets on the screen. Unfortunately… without a CPU, there was no such thing as artificial intelligence. Every single Odyssey game requires a 2nd person. Whether it’s moving a target, or a pong paddle pusher – nothing gets done without that 2nd player.

Playing any 1st Generation consoles is a challenge, as they are tough to find and can be quite expensive. Mainly a 1st generation console would be for a collector, a real classic game nut (who has to have them all) or a game reviewer wanting to review the oldest of all the videogames. One of the best examples of the Odyssey (1st generation) is located at www.TheIrateGamer.com (History of Video Games) and the Angry Video Game Nerd also explores the odyssey. The games themselves, although innovative at the time… look rather boring to play today.

GAMES LIST:
– Analogic, Baseball, Basketball, Brain Wave, Cat & Mouse, Dogfight, Football, Fun Zoo, Handball, Haunted House, Hockey, Interplanetary Voyage, Invasion, Percepts, Ping-Pong, Prehistoric Safari, Roulette, Shooting Gallery, Shootout, Simon Says, Ski, Soccer, States, Submarine, Table Tennis, Tennis, Volleyball, Wipeout

1973The arcade video game industry floruishes under the PONG breakthrough… and various companies begin producing video games, including Chicago Coin, Midway, Ramtek, Taito, Allied Leisure, and Kee Games, which was secretly owned by Atari.

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COMPUTER GAMES:
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Believe it or not, the PLATO system is actually in use with a mainframe core, and dummy remote terminals. It is way ahead of its time for the home-computing market, and I think these are the kinds of systems which sparked the imaginations of many game developers and early programmers.

EMPIRE
– Way back in 1973, Empire on the Plato is a networked, multiplayer, arena shooter. Sure, it’s mostly text-based and nothing like what we consider to be arena shooters… but the concept is there. It’s surprising how far back gaming goes.

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CONSOLES:
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The Odyssey is slowing down a little in sales, however, and the price is dropped to $75 to try to kickstart sales.
The ODYSSEY releases a total of 4 new add-on games this year. Seems very rare. Have not seen any examples of these games yet:
– Basketball, Brain Wave, Interplanetary Voyage, W.I.N.
I actually saw a set of all 4 of these games released in 1973 on ebay go for $4,000!!

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ARCADE:
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ASTEROID – a clone of Space Race… I mention it because the name is similar to the 1979 HUGE hit. But it will be awhile still before the ASTEROIDS break-out hit… this game wasn’t nearly as good.

CHAMPION PING PONG (pong variant)
COMPUTER SPACE BALL (pong variant)
DAVIS CUP (pong variant)
DOCTOR PONG (Atari Pong in a cocktail version for Dr.’s office… didn’t do well… duh?)
ELEPONG (pong variant)
ELIMINATION (2-4 player pong variant)
QUADRAPONG (pong variant)
PONG DOUBLES (pong variant)
PONG TRON
– Holy Frak! Were there no copyrights in 1973? Was there nobody who knew how to program anything but a pong variation? I know, I shouldn’t be so hard on the fledgling industry, but my goodness what a boring state the arcades must’ve been in during 1973. Hey Look, “ELEPONG”.. wonder if that plays like PONG? Yes… Atari screwed up by not patenting PONG and the market grew by everybody jumping in and copying away.

PongBarrel* PONG IN A BARREL! – Now that is one cool-looking game. The only clone worth looking up, what a great story. Nolan Bushnell really was a drunken party animal… even hiding his drinking by building games into his old barrels. LOL. Not to be confused with Barrel-Pong – the small barrel on a platform… the ultra-rare Pong-in-a-Barrel is too cool. Wait a second, just discovered “SNOOPY PONG” How cool is that cabinet?

DUCK HUNT!
Oh yeah… way before Nintendo packaged this into their system we had an electro-mechanical version of duck hunt. I don’t even know how these things work, but wish i could try it out. Please can you shoot the dumb dog?

* GOTCHA
– This looked like it might be fun. This is the first commercial maze game… and even better, the original version looked like a cabinet controlled by two “boobs” as controllers. Yup, the boob game… an attempt to make a female videogame, since most games had a joystick that resembled male anatomy! The controversy over video games begins here – but not for content — because of the female controllers. It did spawn one of the greatest arcade flyers ever. hee hee

MISSILE RADAR
– Another new type of game from Atari. Shoot missiles to detonate on-coming warheads. 1973 seems like a scary time.

SPACE RACE – Atari’s second game… at least alternate game play to ball & paddle. You have to run your spaceship from the bottom of the screen up to the top of the screen, avoiding the little streaky white dots floating on by. Asteroids? Atari really loved its Asteroids, eh?

WATERGATE CAPER – Ahaha…. Watergate was still big news! “Caper”… too funny. Try to get away with it… no, actually it’s more like some kind of code cracking game which used the de-facto standard analog wheel to spin the dials.

WINNER, THE VIDEO GAME – First game by Midway, and graciously they were only 1 of 3 companies that actually paid Atari to license their PONG game.

1974Ah yes, the Year I was Born! What greatness came about that year?

Kee Games’s Tank is the first game to store graphics data on a ROM chip. Midway’s TV Basketball is the first arcade game to use human figures as avatars, instead of blocks or vehicles.

Overall, however, a vast majority of games were variants of PONG. Boring times if you ask me.

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COMPUTER GAMES:
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The PLATO system is still one of the few systems that have games, which has been preserved, and the games still playable today.

SPASIM (PLATO)
– Here we have the first documented, first-person mainframe game. Wireframe graphics… very mathematical and definitely more like a sim than anything else. It’s best to watch a video tutorial, you’ll get a feel for it without having to learn the tricky controls.

MAZE WAR (Xerox – Alto)
– An early game that introduced some of the concepts which become the first-person shooter. A level editor was even created, and there was network play for player-vs-player action.

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CONSOLES:
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– The Odyssey dropped its price again to $50… but no new games were released (as indeed, the system itself did not actually have programmable cartridges). Seems that people would rather compete on pong variants in the arcade, and although Odyssey continued to sell.. it wasn’t long before the system was dead.

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ARCADE:
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ASTROHOCKEY:
– PONG… but 4 variations of gameplay, including player vs. machine. That’s a nice addition.

ATTACK UFO:
– Uh… its a black & white game with UFO’s. That says a lot. Why are we so violent to other planet inhabitants??

BALL PARK:
– Midway releases in America, this Taito (of Japan) baseball game. Looks pretty decent. The sports-focus in video games is a bit pervasive these days isn’t it?

BASKETBALL:
– It’s a basketball game from Taito, but no way to see it run unfortunately… but is deemed a “Landmark” title, being the first video game to use sprites, and the first to represent human characters.

CHALLENGE: Another PONG clone… by Micro Games. Also looks like a micro cabinet… the thing is tiny.

COUNTDOWN: PONG clone, but you start with 5 points and can’t let any goals or you lose a point at a time.

ELIMINATION / QUADRA-PONG: 4-player PONG clone… which also debuts in the first ever “cocktail” style arcade cabinet. That’s pretty cool. I did like how Atari was innovating from the beginning with game types as well as cabinet variations. Looking at the playing field, you can see the early groundwork for 4-player paddle games like WARLORDS later on.

FORMULA K: This is the Kee Games release of GRAN TRAK 10. Same exact innards… (which was next game)

grantrak10GRAN TRAK 10 (GRAN TRAK 20 for 2-player)
– Atari makes the first racing game… (and guys wearing helmets show up to play, with hot girls on their shoulder (see pic)) Actually, most interesting the anti-piracy methods begin when Atari assigned a part number to the custom-designed ROMs for the game, they gave it the same number as a Texas Instruments Arithmetic Logic Unit so that when pirates tried to build their own version, they’d order the wrong part and their clones wouldn’t work. Good thinking, after all those frickin’ pong clones! An accounting error, however, meant that every Gran Trak 10 machine sold at a loss for Atari. It nearly helped bankrupt the company. They thought, sure we’re losing money on each unit – but we’ll make up for it in volume.

PIN PONG
– A Black & White pinball simulation game by Atari. Wow! Not… take everything that’s fun about pinball, and remove it.

PUPPY PONG
– Cool story behind this… basically a free-play version of PONG, but packaged in a cute yellow dog house, with its début at Chuck E. Cheese. It was a neat attempt at giving kids something fun to play without having to feed in tokens. Only a few survive today, as it never saw a wide release, due to Charles Shultz’s complaints about its similarities to Snoopy. (See SNOOPY PONG).

QWAK!
– An early light gun game where you shoot ducks out of the sky. And, it sounds like you have your ever-trusty hunting dog to go retrieve the blasted birds. Aw, those poor ducks – they were so abused by early gamers. It wasn’t until much later when Deer became the big targets for virtual hunters that ducks could breathe a sigh of relief.

REBOUND
– Pong you say… NAY I say. Much different… the ball bounces up & down across the screen. Gravity is involved! Your little paddles (er, psuedo-people) hit the ball over the net and to the other side. Hey, a welcome variation.

SMATCH
– WTF? Another great name for some sport game. haha I think it was a PONG clone overseas.

SPEED RACE
– A TAITO release, also known as Racer or Wheels. This actually was ground breaking, innovating with such concepts as vertical scrolling, sprites with collision detection and a driving wheel for a controller. One of the first driving games.

SUPER PONG
– Even Atari is enamoured with Pong, and puts out this 4th title in the series. Three paddles per player and better ball physics… increased speed, serve from anywhere – Viola! Another easy buck from a proven concept, yes?

TANK
tank– Ah yes… the “COMBAT” cartridge that first shipped with the ATARI 2600 game was based on this original arcade game (albeit with a ton of crazy variations). The idea was cool, though.. control a tank and shoot the other guy before they shoot you. It combined maze games with tank control games… both fun genres IMO.
Also, some fun news about TANK:
The original “Tank” was an instant hit. So Kee (Atari), quickly devised a plan to launch a whole series of Tank games. They designed a boardset that could be easily modified to change the game. This would allow them to come out with a new Tank game whenever they wanted, with no real extra work needed. And to think how many VARIATIONS were included even on the simple ATARI 2600 – “Combat” or “Video Olympics” is just staggering progress.

TOUCH ME: Okay… have to mention this game, simply for it’s awesome title! Okay, it’s not technically a video game – it’s just Atari’s version of the vastly more popular Simon. They released a hand-held Touch Me as well, so you could play with yourself anywhere – “No mom, I’m just playing Touch me!” Oh, Atari… trail blazers, yes.. but man could they make some boner decisions. Oh sorry.. bad choice of words. But the real ironic twist is Ralph Baer (remember the Odyssey) sees Touch Me, copies it, and creates Simon. So Ralph copies Atari, gets away with it… and makes his game somehow seem like the original, and Touch Me as the clone. Nice one… you sly devil Ralph.

TV BASKETBALL: kinda cool… at least they got a BBall hoop on the screen… or at least the flyer says so.

WHAM BAM: No seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up. And here I thought, “Wham Bam, Thank You Ma’am!” was a recent saying, but one look at this flyer, and I think you can guess where this game got its name from! Holy moly…

WILD GUNMAN:
– WOW! Now that I see this, I vaguely remember watching somebody at a pizza parlor playing around with this game. It was so intriguing. It could’ve been a clone, but I had totally forgotten about that memory. This was really a technological stretch. Long long before Dragon’s Lair, they were trying to interact with live-motion here.

Wild Gunman was Nintendo’s first 16mm film projector games and becomes Nintendo’s first big export product, in Europe and USA, because the effects of Japan’s oil shortage that occurred in 1973 began showing : Japan’s economy went into a tailspin and people couldn’t afford using their money on Nintendo’s Shooting Ranges anymore.

An updated version of the game was released in the arcades and in the Nintendo NES, ten years later in 1984, replacing photographic images with cartoon-style video game sprites. In this version the player also waited for the opponent’s eyes to flash (accompanied by a speech bubble reading ‘FIRE!!’). On October 4, 1997, Gunpei Yokoi, the creator of this game was tragically killed in an automobile accident, at the age of 56.

1975GUN FIGHT = the first game to use a microprocessor. Atari’s Steeplechase is the first six-player arcade video game, and Kee Games’s Indy 800 is the first eight-player game, complete with a steering wheel and foot pedals for each of eight players (it also used a color CRT).

In the computer world, the first “Kit computers” begin to blaze a trail for the home computer market… and larger minicomputer and networked computers start to showcase what games on computers can accomplish.

The PLATO system is way ahead of its time – with a multi-user environment and a decent graphical output which made it a favor for new genre-creating games like Dungeon and DND. On the DEC PDP systems, ADVENTURE grabs the imagination of many, being much better suited to the text & teletype environment of that system.

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COMPUTER GAMES:
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* DUNGEON / PEDIT5
003 - pedit5– Another of the very first computer role-playing games, developed by Don Daglow. Although this was mostly a text-based game, it did employ graphics to further the story (but not initially). The top-down views of the dungeon maps, and line-of-sight views of your location were added later to a game mostly meant to improve on the Dungeons & Dragon experiences and speed up all the calculations necessary when rolling the dice.

– Considered the first dungeon crawl role-playing game. It’s a single-level dungeon in which you explore, collecting treasures and killing monsters with attacks and spells. You could also save your character from one session to the next. Supposedly, pedit5 was deleted off the PLATO system, and only an improved version (ie. orthanc1) still exists today.

— NOTE: Early in development, ZORK was also called Dungeon. But that is certainly a different game, and is covered later.

– you can actually PLAY a working PEDIT5 version today, if you signup for an account at http://www.cyber1.org/. They have a community running a collection of old PLATO games. What an awesome resource, and some great stuff there.   And YEAH!  I beat it.  Retired with honor after amassing 20,000 experience pts… and believe me, you’re kidding yourself if you think that’s an easy feat. No save games, death = your character erased. Good luck!

DND
– The first computer role-playing game, and precursor to a whole genre. You can also play this one today on the PLATO system. Such a good time to be an old school gamer.

* ADVENTURE (began 1975… official “version” released with Don Woods input in 1976) – One of the first ever interactive-fiction games, created by William Crowther. It could only be played on a mainframe computer, and was both installed surreptitiously as well as removed when discovered sometimes. Adventure has this interesting mystique surrounding it… almost like a visitor from another planet that has come to stay and people are slowly waking up to its possibilities. You hear great stories about people spending all their free time trying to solve it’s challenges, at the expense of their coursework (college campuses had mainframes)… and other stories of engineers playing Adventure on break.

* MORIA
– An early, vector-based RPG game. A dungeon crawler that you can play on the PLATO system. Not bad! Graphics are small, but they are in color, first-person perspective, stat building, etc. Definitely a precursor for early RPG games. Has a barter system for the store, Food & Water, magic, guilds, etc. There is a Hall of Fame wall, as well as a monthly achievement wall. Note… original date is listed as 1975, but the version availabe is more likely from 1978. Sometimes it’s just not possible to play the original games… releases and source code was much more maleable on these types of early systems.

PANTHER
– A tank-driving simulation game released on PLATO… I tried it on the Cyber1.org site, and it’s tough to adjust to the play mechanics. You just want to drive around and shoot (aka. Battle Zone) but you have to sift through a bunch of instructions to figure anything out. Plus this is a “death match” type of setup, so without a number of people all playing at the same time, there’s really no enjoyment in it. Ambitious for its time… just doesn’t hold up well because of interface challenges.

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ATARI PONG:
– Finally ported to a home-version, it sold like mad for the Christmas 1975 season and really put the home video game market on the map.

MAGNAVOX ODYSSEY 100 & 200
– Not really sequels, but dialed down versions of the ODYSSEY 1. Mostly just variants on the PONG theme. However, ATARI had the name recognition and a design that stood out better. This made all the difference for determining what consumers wanted, and the sales figures showed it.

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ARCADE:
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The games that came out this year seemed like variations were mostly on driving, ball & paddle, and shooting type games. It seemed the big news was more in the computer-gaming department, except for the start of microprocessor use in the arcade… which was about to change the industry.

ALLEY RALLY – “Crazy traffic” driving game. Seems a common, recurring theme for sure.
ANTI-AIRCRAFT
– an Atari release which seems a precursor to Air-Sea Battle…. here your goal is to shoot down more bomber planes than your opponent within a set time lift. You have up, down, and fire… and can only put the cursor in pre-determined positions… so this really becomes a game about your timing – htting the button at just the right time.
AVENGER
– right… by a company called “Electra”. I guess you also pay with Stark quarters, and throw Thor’s hammer at Capt. America. haha. Okay, not even close… just another jet fighter game.
EVR race
– an interesting concept, and also Nintendo’s first game that used “Electronic Video Recording” (wonder if it has any similarities to VHS). Basically a horse or car race betting game… you place your bets, then watch the vieo… and get rewards based on the odds and the outcome. Would be fascinating to see what this one was like! Unlike previous film & projection methods, this was the first time prerecorded video was used by nintendo.

* GUN FIGHT:
– Gun Fight was the first Japanese title (where it was called Western Gun) to be licensed for release in America, showing that even back in 1975 the Japanese loved their gaming. It was also the first video game to incorporate a microprocessor. Having a microprocessor allows this game to be emulated on a modern computer (instead of a hard-wired circuit board), and is thus one of the earliest game to be playable in the MAME emulator.

Gun Fight was a pretty important video-games innovator. It was the first game ever to have 2 on-screen HUMANS (not a paddle game) battling against each other at the same time, and as such it’s the grandfather of the fighting games that take up most of the floorspace in modern arcades. It also introduced the idea of having separate controls for aiming and moving.

INDY 800 – by KEE GAMES (ie Atari)
One of the BIGGEST arcade games ever made… and by big, I mean floor space. This sucker covered almost 16 square feet. I actually remember playing this beast at the local Pizza Hut… but never have seen all 8 cars being played simultaneously by 8 real players. THAT would be one for the bucket list.

INTERCEPTOR:
– An early first-person shooting arcade game. You used a joystick to control crosshairs that would let you shoot down enemy aircraft. The aircraft were in formations of two, and would come in & out of the player’s firing range.

MANEATER:
maneater2– Don’t know much about the gameplay, but this was the COOLEST cabinet ever. It looked like Jaws coming up out of the floor with his mouth wide open. Did those teeth actually hurt your arms if you were playing and bumped them? In any case, there was another JAWS-themed game released this year too, in which the gameplay really sucked, but I guess people were JAWS crazy after the big hit movie.

MODEL 474 – Really? That’s the name of your game. Think you’d better go back to the conference room and come up with something more exciting for Model 475 folks….

PACE CAR PRO
– Is this a stupid game name or what? I mean, who wants to be a professional pace car driver? No glory, just a job… its job is to go a certain speed, not even win a race. Actually, Pace Car refers to having an actual pace car to race against as the player – a little computer-controlled competition (which was more rare at the time). This was one fo the first games to use a full color TV-set as a dispaly. They also released a black & white version called “Pace Race”. That’s right… only the pro’s get the color treatment.

PRINCESS COCKTAIL TABLE:
– Uh? It’s PONG, okay fine. Look at THAT Advertisement. What the heck are they selling here? Nobody’s even playing a game. It’s all about the cocktail table…so why even bother to put a videogame in there? Weirdos.

PURSUIT: “just PLANE fun” (OMG – read the description on the flyer… LOL)
Fly a World War I biplane and attempt to shoot down enemy craft. You have a crosshair “overlay” in which to line up the enemy, and then try to blast them for points. Interestingly, this was the first game that was released AFTER it was announced “Kee Games” was merely a subsidiary of Atari, and not a direct competitor. Those lying cheats! 😉

SHARK JAWS: (Atari / Horror Games)
– Shark JAWS is the first game featuring animated characters, it’s a conversion using the “Tank” hardware. The manufacturer is ‘Horror Games’, created by Atari to avoid any possible legal hassles from the producers of the obvious inspiration for the game : Universal Studios’ smash-hit movie ‘Jaws’. Very simple gameplay, however. Just swim down and kill the shark, get a point. Game lasts for 60 or 90 sec. Boring!

STEEPLECHASE:
– Your horse runs down the track and you have to make it jump over obstacles at the appropriate time. Pretty lame, really. They ported this to the Atari 2600, and I played it on that system. I wonder if 6 people ever really stood around this machine in the arcade and “competed” for the big win. haha.

TAKE FIVE & TAKE SEVEN:
– Five or Seven games (Pong variants) in one cabinet! Must have inspired the early Atari people to put multiple variations into one program. I imagine this caused some confusion in the arcade, however. Eventually this concept led to the abysmal PlayChoice-10, playing NES games for a timed-length on a quarter. ugh!

TRIVIA:
– Trivia is the first trivia game in arcades. The 2000 trivia questions were stored on an 8-track tape cartridge. Sweet! Regis Philbin would be proud.

TV Flipper – This looks terrible. Again, pinball represented by blips and dots… no thank you.

VIDEO ACTION:
– Another lame generic title. It’d be like a school textbook titled “Book Learn”.

WHEELS:
– The prequel to Wheels II.
WHEELS II:
– The sequel to Wheels. Duh. Well, actually a two-player version of the car driving game.

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NEXT: We begin to turn the corner with microprocessors in Videogames… and the first console of the 2nd Generation hits the markets. To me, 1976 officially ends the “Dark Ages” of computer gaming.
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BEST GAMES 1971-1975:
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Galaxy Game / Computer Space (1971)
Pong (1972)
Gun Fight (1975)
Pedit5 (aka. Dungeon) (1975)
Moria / dnd (1975)