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Nutting & Associates Computer Space

The World's First Video Game!

See below for specifications and information on this system.

Specifications and information

Introduced: 1972
CPU: TTL Logic
Controls: Single-player button controls on console: one button pair for left-right rotate, one button for accelerate, and one button for fire
Games: Variation of Space Wars

A lot of people will tell you that Pong was the first video game.  And they'd be wrong.

Nutting & Associates Computer Space is the world's first arcade video game system. It was designed almost two years before Pong, by Nolan Bushnell, who would later found Atari Corporation and create the Pong game.

Computer Space proved too complicated to play for a public who had no experience with video games. Today it seems very simple... a group of flying saucers moves across the screen, and the player's ship has to shoot them or be shot. The player ship maneuvering controls are exactly like Atari's eventual hit, Asteroids. Not many machines were sold, although Nutting tried making a two-player version later on, in hopes of attracting players away from the air hockey tables.

Computer Space was inspired by the first action computer game, PDP-11 Space War. Direct ancestors of Computer Space include Cinematronics Space War, Atari Asteroids, Atari Space Duel, Atari Gravitar, Midway Omega Race, and a host of other imitators.

Strangely enough, its durable, lightweight and attractive fiberglass case design was never again used for arcade video games.

Watch for a Computer Space machine, painted white (ugh!), making a cameo appearance in the film Soylent Green with Charlton Heston. It shows up fairly early in the film, in the background of the apartment of the wealthy murder victim.

The Computer Closet's machine is in perfect working condition. It's fun to play!

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Last modified: April 17, 2003