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kelly's i: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PINGS AND PONG; NET NEWS.

Byline: Matt Kelly

HARD to believe the first video game arrived 40 years ago this month.

Two barely-discernible spaceships pinging around a blob meant to be the sun, this ground-breaking game in one-dimensional black and white was Spacewar, later refined by Atari into Asteroids.

Designed by a group of 20-something geeks the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Spacewar set off a chain of events that lead to the creation of companies like Apple and Atari.

But it was never played outside of MIT - most computers were too feeble - and it's now a museum piece.

The processor ran at 100,000 instructions per second, in comparison with the two billion instructions per second of today's microchips. Ten years later, in 1972, Atari changed video games forever with the release of Pong, a humble tennis game that kicked off the home video games market.

How fitting that the first video game should celebrate its 40th birthday just as Xbox, the world's most powerful games console, hits the shops.

Roll on the next 40 years...

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 5, 2002
Words:176
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