The First "Electronic" Game Ever Made?
Author: Based on an article by Ian Blake - with additions from museum´s curator
The question was:
Which was the first "electronic" game ever made? Please note: here we do not talk about Pong - we talk about the first electronic games that where created on early analog computers.
Well, as a lot of things in life, there is no easy answer to that question. First let us seperat "electronic" games from "video" games. None of the following examples use an actual video signal (the video in "video game" is there for a reason, and the courts agreed when the previous technologies were trotted out by various defense attorneys). This is why those other games are clearly defined as earlier technology that does not use a video display. The problem is that the use of the term "video game" has gone on to more widespread use for any computerized game with an interactive display
Without further ado, here are the "First Electronic Game Nominees"
1940s: Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device
This is considered - with official documentation - as the first electronic game device ever manufactured. It was created by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann. The device was developed in the late 1940s and submitted for an US Patent by January 1947. The patent was granted December 1948, which also makes it the first electronic game system to ever receive a patent (US Patent 2,455,992).
As described in the patent, it consisted of an analog circuit device with an array of knobs used to control a dot that showed in the cathode ray tube display. The video game was created after how missiles appeared in WWII radars, and the object of the game was simply to control a "missile" that should hit a target. In the 1940s it was extremely difficult (for not saying impossible) to show graphics in a Cathode Ray Tube display.
The game was a missile simulator inspired by radar displays from World War II. It used analog circuitry, not digital, to control the CRT beam and position a dot on the screen. Only the actual "missile" was showed on the display. All other graphics including the target were showed on screen overlays manually placed over the display screen. It is rumored that this gaming device was the inspiration of Atari's famous video game "Missile Command".
NIMROD was the name of a digital computer device from the 50s decade. The designers of this computer were the engineers of an UK-based enterprise called Ferranti, with the purpose of displaying the computer at the 1951 Festival of Britain (and after some time it was also presented in Berlin).
1951: NIM aka NIMROD
On May 5, 1951, the NIMROD computer was presented at the Festival of Britain. Using a panel of lights for its display, it was designed exclusively to play the game of NIM; this was the first instance of a digital computer designed specifically to play a game. NIMROD could play either the traditional or "reverse" form of the game.
NIM is a two-player numerical game of strategy, which is believed to come originally from the ancient China. NIM game rules are simple: There