Alan Kotok - MIT: 1958–62 - Spacewar!

Martin Graetz, Stephen Russell and Wayne Wiitanen conceived the computer game Spacewar! while working at Harvard University in 1961. Inspired by Marvin Minsky's Three Position Display (which they dubbed the Minskytron), they had the first version running, with help from their MIT classmates Dan Edwards, Kotok, Stephen D. Piner, Samson and Saunders, by early 1962. Coded by Russell, Spacewar! was one of the earliest interactive computer games and is sometimes called the first video game.

Kotok did not write any of the Spacewar! code, but he did travel to Digital to obtain a sine-cosine routine that Russell needed. Graetz credited Kotok and Saunders with building the game controllers that allowed two people to play side by side.

Spacewar! has had an enduring legacy. The game's success was celebrated in Rolling Stone for the game's 10th anniversary in 1972 in "Spacewar: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death Among the Computer Bums". More recently, the source code has been transcribed into a Spacewar! Java applet, and on the 40th anniversary in 2002, the creators of Spacewar! were interviewed by the New York Times.

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