Tennis for Two, developed in 1958, is among the candidates for the world’s first video game. However, outside of a modified, necessarily-inauthentic reconstruction from original circuit schematics in 1997, Tennis for Two has not been playable in its original form since the late 1950s. According to Peter Takacs of the Brookhaven National Laboratory, where the original game was developed by physicist Willy Higinbotham and engineer Robert Dvorak a half-century ago, that is about to change.
Takacs posted today on Brookhaven’s Bits & Bytes blog that after some rigorous searching and restoration work, authentic vacuum-tube computer components are being added to the 1997 retrofit. This will recreate Tennis for Two in its “original 1958 state.”
Here’s hoping the end product is made publicly accessible. If it is through history that culture is grounded, then there is no better way to strengthen cultural acceptance then revisiting the catalysts that make it so. For digital games or otherwise.
Pilgrimage to Upton, New York anyone?