Spacewar! is one of the earliest known digital computer games. It is a two-player game, with each player taking control of a spaceship and attempting to destroy the other. A star in the center of the screen pulls on both ships and requires maneuvering to avoid falling into it. In an emergency, a player can enter hyperspace to return at a random location on the screen, but only at the risk of exploding if it is used too often.
Steve "Slug" Russell, Martin "Shag" Graetz, and Wayne Wiitanen of the fictitious "Hingham Institute" conceived of the game in 1961, with the intent of implementing it on a DEC PDP-1 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After Alan Kotok obtained some sine and cosine routines from DEC, Russell began coding, and by February 1962 had produced his first version. It took approximately 200 hours of work to create the initial version. Additional features were developed by Dan Edwards, Peter Samson, and Graetz.
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... 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 ... Spacewar! has had an enduring legacy ...