Electronic Game - Teletype Games

Teletype Games

The earliest form of computer game to achieve any degree of mainstream use was the text-based Teletype game. Teletype games lack video display screens and instead present the game to the player by printing a series of characters on paper which the player reads as it emerges from the platen. Practically this means that each action taken will require a line of paper and thus a hard-copy record of the game remains after it has been played. This naturally tends to reduce the size of the gaming universe or alternatively to require a great amount of paper. As computer screens became standard during the rise of the third generation computer, text-based command line-driven language parsing Teletype games transitioned into visual interactive fiction allowing for greater depth of gameplay and reduced paper requirements. This transition was accompanied by a simultaneous shift from the mainframe environment to the personal computer.

Examples of text-based Teletype games include:

  • The Oregon Trail (1971) - the earliest versions
  • Trek73 (1973)
  • Dungeon (1975)
  • Super Star Trek (1975)
  • Adventure (1976) - the earliest versions
  • Zork (1977) - the earliest versions

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