In 1958, Dr. William Higinbotham was working at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on a simulation of bouncing balls and missile trajectories that could predict the paths objects could take. Suddenly, it hit him: why not apply this to tennis? He created Tennis for Two, which depending on your definition could be considered the world's first videogame, in October of that year. Video after the jump.
Designing the circuit board and its components took Higinbotham a few days, and building the machine took about three weeks. On October 18th, 1958, hundreds lined up to play the newly christened Tennis for Two. It used a whopping five-inch oscilloscope screen, and featured play mechanics pretty similar to 1972's Pong, though the game was viewed from the side of the net rather than an overhead vantage point.
Why didn't he patent the technology? Well, Tennis for Two used designs extremely similar to what Higinbotham had created in his federal-owned lab, so any patent would have had to belong to the government. Owning the right to every video game ever sounds pretty sweet right now, given our monstrous debt, but that's really neither here nor there. [NYTimes, thanks Ronald!. Image: Maxine Hicks/NYTimes]