From Mainframe to WoW
December 8, 2006 12:22 AM   Subscribe

Play history: Noughts and Crosses (EDSAC, 1952) begat Tennis for Two (Donner & oscilliscope, 1958) begat Spacewars (PDP, 1962) begat Star Trek (SDS Sigma, 1971) begat Hunt the Wumpus (Mainframe, 1972) begat Maze War (Xerox Atlos, 1974) begat DECWAR [warning:telnet(!)] (DEC-10, 1978) begat Zork (PDP-10, 1979) begat World of Warcraft... with a few steps in between. All names (but Maze Wars) go to playable versions. Dates have information on the game itself
posted by blahblahblah (13 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, didn't know that Spacewars was so old. Played a ton of it as a kid.

But I'm afraid that if I play Hunt the Wumpus again I'll have to gouge out my ears and take a balcony dive. Which would be fine, but I'm only second-story; it wouldn't be fatal.
posted by dreamsign at 12:34 AM on December 8, 2006

this post would be better if the links worked.
posted by casconed at 12:44 AM on December 8, 2006

Wow, that Star Trek game sure is complicated.
posted by grouse at 3:01 AM on December 8, 2006

Atari hosted a version of Maze Wars with a network of Atari 800s in 1980 as a sales promotion.
posted by tgyg at 4:17 AM on December 8, 2006

Nice one blahblahblah. I have two networked Mac SE's that I play Maze Wars on occasionally.
posted by tellurian at 4:40 AM on December 8, 2006

You forgot poker, dice, backgammon and chess! The very games the 1337357 of the 1337 APL programmers were playing!
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:18 AM on December 8, 2006

I spent days manually entering the text-listed BASIC version of the Star Trek game, de-typoing it and debugging it.

Once working it took me about 30 minutes to grow very bored with it and go back to playing Zork, Chopper Command and Hard Hat Harry. I often wonder if this is because I'd already seen the inner workings of the game, every single output string, every data set.

Oddly enough I was actually able to remember an alarming number of the commands when I played the Java applet version linked to above. And I wonder why I can't remember celebrities. Or why some days I totally forget to put on pants.
posted by loquacious at 6:38 AM on December 8, 2006

No nethack?
posted by QIbHom at 7:31 AM on December 8, 2006

Star Trek and Hunt the Wumpus -- two games that were powerful influences to me.

In grade school a friend and I played Star Trek for hours at a time on my dad's CP/M Heathkit. There's not much to do in that game, as I recall -- warp to quadrants, avoid stars, engage Klingons, dock at starbases.

One afternoon we had an epiphany: What would happen if we attacked our own starbase? Could it be done? Would the computer blow up? Would some law be broken? We tried it.

It worked. **YOU DESTROYED YOUR OWN STARBASE**. We were rolling on the floor, in disbelief that a programmer would be SO SMART that he would consider this "unlikely" event. It seems trivial but that action opened my eyes to the possibilites of computers -- that people smarter than me were making them do incredible things that were worth discovering.

I played Star Trek recently and wasn't surprised at how boring it was. EGA Trek was a nice graphical update to the game that's still entertaining in a DOS emulator.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 8:58 AM on December 8, 2006

Wow teh zork! Thanks.
posted by Mister_A at 9:37 AM on December 8, 2006

this post would be better if the links worked.

Which links aren't working?
posted by blahblahblah at 12:46 PM on December 8, 2006

More about the BASIC version of Star Trek than you ever wanted to know. I never did have the patience to key in the whole thing from 101 BASIC Computer Games. Having re-read the code--large portions of which have had all the whitespace removed, including syntactically necessary bits--I no longer feel like a wimp for not following through. Props to you, loquacious!
posted by jewzilla at 10:38 AM on December 9, 2006

You know you're both old and a huge nerd...

... when you've played most of these on their original native hardware systems.

posted by zoogleplex at 12:11 PM on December 9, 2006

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