It may be the time to exalt the newest generation of consoles, but a group of researchers are chasing after a forgotten video game of the past. Long before Pac Man brought gaming into the mainstream, a simple computer program called Tennis for Two was created to keep researchers at Brookhaven National Lab in Upton, N.Y., entertained — and it’s often credited as the first video game.
Now, more than 50 years later, the lab is getting ready to fire up the game with most of its original components.
See Tennis for Two in action below:
While Tennis for Two captured the imaginations of not only the Brookhaven Lab team and the passersby lucky enough to play it at the company’s open house that year, the game was never patented and was dismantled in 1959.
Since the lab’s 50th anniversary in 1997, Brookhaven scientist Peter Takacs and his team have been trying to recreate the original — slowly acquiring old computer parts to match the experience as it was in 1958. That’s a difficult task — especially considering how computing has changed in the last half-century.
But, thanks to the internet, Takacs says that the lab has found enough parts to build the original Tennis for Two computing interface, and his team is looking to fire it up in the near future. It’s a big feat for video game history at large, especially when it was so close to being lost to history.