Spacewar! (was Re: Laser display...)

From: Martin Scott Goldberg <>
Date: Thu Feb 17 23:20:52 2005

Sellam Ismail says:

>That's another thing: I don't understand this other distinction he wants
>to make between "video game" and "computer game". Does a "video game"
>have to be made out of discrete analog components like the Magnavox
>Odyssey to qualify?

Actually, while the Odyssey does use discrete components, he considers it
Digital, not analog. From an interview last year

"Ralph Baer The Brown Box and its 1968 predecessor developmental systems
were neither built around an analog computer (come on now...this was a
consumer product!) nor was a purely analog design. While its circuitry was
made up of discrete components, the circuits contained Flip-Flops, AND and
OR gates, One-Shots, diode matrices, etc...what are these circuits if they
are not digital circuits? People think that discrete component circuitry
was strictly analog. This is complete nonsense. Of course we built digital
circuits in the forties and fifties before there were IC's. In the
sixties, plug-in cards with as little as one or two flip-flops were
typical of logic modules of the day. So the notion that the Brown Box and
its production version, the Magnavox Odyssey game was comprised of "analog
circuits" is a myth...but that myth has a real origin: During the
lawsuits, the opposition (Bally-Midway, Seeburg, etc) tried to make the
judge believe that our circuits were analog and theirs were digital and
hence they didn't fall under the Claims of our patents. The judges ruled
otherwise and saw through this ploy in a hurry."

> At what point is a
computer not a computer? >

Again, his distinction has to do with the output/display device. Not the
fact that it is a computerized game.

Received on Thu Feb 17 2005 - 23:20:52 GMT

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