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The first ever piece of videogame journalism?
October 29, 2004 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Rolling Stone review Spacewar. Ready or not, computers are coming to the people. That's good news, maybe the best since psychedelics. via Ludology
posted by ZippityBuddha (13 comments total)

 
That's not just a Rolling Stone interview, that's Stewart Brand .

Spacewar was fun.
posted by jeremias at 9:44 AM on October 29, 2004


Those photos are great. Thank you ZP.

I can't help but wonder how quiet the world must've been in 1972. No Internets, not a one of them.
posted by Peter H at 9:50 AM on October 29, 2004


Oop, that's ZB, not ZP - longhand Thank you ZippityBuddha.
posted by Peter H at 9:51 AM on October 29, 2004


"Up" around computers means working, the opposite of "down" or crashed

I don't think it had ever before occured to me that there was a time when these connotations were not obvious. Also, I love the fact that Brand was anticipating news.google.com and ubiquitous MP3 sharing clear back in '72:

[...] Project that to household terminals, and so much for newspapers (in present form). Since huge quantities of information can be computer-digitalized and transmitted, music researchers could, for example, swap records over the Net with "essentially perfect fidelity." So much for record stores (in present form).
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:20 AM on October 29, 2004


I read this a year ago, had to re-read it again. I forgot that he went to Xerox Parc, too. Fantastic voyage.
posted by ae4rv at 10:23 AM on October 29, 2004


You can play the original PDP-1 Spacewar on a PDP-1 emulator in this amazing Java applet (alternate site).
posted by Nelson at 10:42 AM on October 29, 2004


It's interesting that with all the bogus cultural revolutions Rolling Stone was covering at the time, this one turned out to be the REAL cultural revolution, and just about the biggest thing that ever happened. It's also interesting how much hippie baggage all those hackers were carrying, like the guy who used his computer to tally his commune's food accounts. (Or it could be that Stewart Brand felt that he had to pump up the hippie associations to just appeal to Rolling Stone readers.) I never missed an issue of Rolling Stone back then, but I do not recall this article. I probably blipped right over it, thinking, "computers... banks... IBM cards... boring," on my way to the spectacularly unreliable record review section.
posted by Faze at 10:45 AM on October 29, 2004


Were circa-'72 hippies really that anal that they had to tally the grocery bill to the penny? I guess that explains a lot...

Anyway, that was a fantastic article. Source code, even!
posted by arto at 12:06 PM on October 29, 2004


Since huge quantities of information can be computer-digitalized and transmitted, music researchers could, for example, swap records over the Net with"essentially perfect fidelity." So much for record stores (in present form).

Fascinating read. Thanks so much.
posted by jokeefe at 1:11 PM on October 29, 2004


Ah, mars saxman quoted that passage too. I loved this article, with its vocabulary of 'heads' and 'freaks' and all the early geek culture-- and the work that the writer is doing to insist that computers are cool, really, during a time when the average idea of computers held that they were soulless beasts that were a symptom of a loss of humanity (see 2001, a dozen Star Trek storylines, etc.).

And 1972 wasn't that quiet-- radio was hugely important (and a it was a fantastic time for 'underground' radio) and magazines had large circulations (Rolling Stone actually meant something in terms of excellent journalism back then). And of course there were the 7 or 8 TV channels, and when a show was on people would stay home to watch it, and if you missed it that was that.

And walking to school uphill both ways in the snow, and so on.
posted by jokeefe at 1:23 PM on October 29, 2004


Wow, this is good... thanks for sharing, ZB!
posted by starscream at 3:17 PM on October 29, 2004


Spacewar was programmed in Logo?
posted by tss at 5:12 PM on October 29, 2004


Were circa-'72 hippies really that anal that they had to tally the grocery bill to the penny? I guess that explains a lot...

It's a Thoreau thing - you wouldn't understand.
posted by crunchburger at 6:32 AM on October 30, 2004


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