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Who Invented Video Games?

Shashank Nakate
The question, who invented video games is tricky to answer. This is because, various aspects of technological development are associated with it. Let us understand in brief about the facts about video game invention.
The question who invented video games cannot be answered directly in an outright manner. The process of development of video games is complicated to understand, due to the different definitions being used.
Let us have a look at some of the examples which can be considered as one of the first few in the series of different types of video games.

Invention and Development of Video Games

In the year, 1947, Thomas T. Goldsmith and Estle Ray Mann first created the electronic interactive game. A missile simulator game, it was created by making use of analog circuitry. A dot position (a CRT beam) on the screen was controlled by this analog circuitry.
In the year 1951, Ralph H. Baer (father of video games) was working on the project of creating the world's best TV. He also wanted to incorporate a video game in the TV, however, his seniors advised him not to focus on video games. The idea was thus, not given much importance at that time. The list of few of the earliest video games is presented here.

Tennis for Two

Willy Higinbotham created 'Tennis for Two' an interactive computer game. The game was made for the annual visitor's day of Brookhaven National Laboratory.

TX-0 Games

The 'Transistorized Experimental computer zero' also known as 'TX-0' or 'tixo' was used to create two video games: 'Tic-tac-toe' and 'Mouse in the Maze'. The users/players of this game could use a light pen in order to place dots and maze walls; the dots represented cheese bits.
The game, 'Tic-Tac-Toe' was also played with a light pen. It was a computer version of the 'naughts and crosses' game.


This video game was created in the year 1961 by Martin Graetz, Steve Russell and Wayne Wittanen, all students of MIT. The game was made by using a vector display system on DEC PDP-1 minicomputer. The video game was also used on various other mini-computer installations.


The raster-scan video display (TV set) was used by Ralph Baer and his associate in modifying video signals; and thereby the creation of video games.
Several prototypes of the TV set were created and the 'Brown Box' was last in the series (released in 1972). This prototype was released under the name, Odyssey by Magnavox in the year 1972.


It is one of the earliest arcade video game released in the year 1972. Created by Allan Alcorn, the 'Pong' video game was released by 'Atari Incorporated'.

History of Video Games

The missile defense systems based on cathode ray tube are associated with the origin of video games in the 1940s. The process of converting/adapting these games to simpler forms went on during the 50's decade. At the end of this decade, mainframe computers were used to develop video games.
As the complexity in technology increased, different platforms such as arcade, personal computer, console and hand held games came into picture. 'Computer Space' can be named as the first commercial video game; it was released in the year, 1971.
The questions regarding, who invented video games and the technological developments associated with them are answered here. So, here is some information about invention of video games in short.