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

From: Vintage Computer Festival <>
Date: Sun Feb 20 13:44:16 2005

On Thu, 17 Feb 2005, Martin Scott Goldberg wrote:

> >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."

This is totally questionable. While the design may operate like a digital
computer, it uses entirely analog techniques to produce the digital
results. Everything the box does is a result of analog circuitry.

Sellam Ismail                                        Vintage Computer Festival
International Man of Intrigue and Danger      
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Received on Sun Feb 20 2005 - 13:44:16 GMT

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