Single-player Computer Space
is a space combat arcade game
developed in 1971. Created by Nolan Bushnell
and Ted Dabney
in partnership as Syzygy Engineering, it was the first arcade video game
as well as the first commercially available video game
. Computer Space
is a derivative of the 1962 computer game Spacewar!
, which is possibly the first video game to spread to multiple computer installations. It features a rocket
controlled by the player engaged in a missile battle with a pair of hardware-controlled flying saucers
set against a starfield background. The goal is to score more hits than the enemy spaceships within a set time period, which awards a free round of gameplay. The game is enclosed in a custom fiberglass cabinet
, which Bushnell designed to look futuristic.
Bushnell and Dabney designed the game in 1970–71 to be a coin-operated version of Spacewar!
. After the pair were unable to find a way to economically run the game on a minicomputer
such as the Data General Nova
, they hit upon the idea of instead replacing the central computer with custom-designed hardware created to run just that game. While they were working on an early proof of concept
, Bushnell found a manufacturer for the game in Nutting Associates
. Working in partnership with Nutting, the pair completed the game and ran their first location test in August 1971, a few months prior to the display of a similar prototype called Galaxy Game
, also based on Spacewar!
. It was first shown to industry press and distributors at the annual Music Operators of America (MOA) Expo in October. With encouraging initial interest, though mixed responses from distributors, Nutting ordered an initial production run of 1,500 units, anticipating a hit game. (Full article...