"VIDEO GAME FIRSTS"|
by Michael Rubin
(Appeared in the February 1984 issue of "Computer Games" Magazine)
The First Home Video Game
Odyssey 100, made by Magnavox. Invented by Ralph Baer and introduced
in 1972, the Odyssey 100 could play several varieties of tennis and
hocky, as well as some maze games.
The First Game With A Trak-Ball Controller
NFL Football, by Atari.
The First Couple To Be Married In An Arcade
On May 30, 1982, Kyle Riley and Jo Linda Richardson were married
where they met -- next to Pac-Man at the Fun Factory, an arcade in
West Des Moines, Iowa. Atop their wedding cake, Mr. and Ms. Pac-Man
stood over a field of their game, and the couple's bridal suite came
furnished with a Pac-Man game and a roll of quarters.
The First Game With A Hyperspace Button
Space Wars, made by Cinematronics in 1978, had the first arcade
hyperspace button, but it was actually invented by J.M. Graetz at MIT
for Spacewars back in 1962.
The First Record Album About Video Games
Buckner and Garcia recorded an album in 1981 called Pac-Man Fever,
which includes such classics as Do the Donkey Kong, Hyperspace,
Froggy's Lament and, of course, Pac-Man Fever.
The First Video Game Made Into A Television Show Or Movie
Tron (not Pac-Man cartoons, and not Star Trek), by Bally/Midway.
The First Move Or Television Show Made Into A Video Game
Here's a surprise -- it's not Tron, and it's not Star Trek, Star Wars
or even Porky's II. Did you guess Deathrace? It's taken from the
movie Deathrace 2000, in which they drove around trying to kill
people. Deathrace (by Exidy) was also the first game to be taken off
the market because of its violent nature.
The First Cocktail-Style (Sit-Down) Video Game
Space Invaders, by Taito. When Space Invaders "thumpa-thumpa-ed" its
way into the hearts and pockets of the world, it was introduced with
both the standard arcade upright version and an interesting sit-down,
cocktain version. The style caught-on.
The First Game Designed By A Woman
Centipede, by Atari. By the way, it was this programmer's preference
for pastels that gives Centipede its characeristic colors: pinks,
greens, violets. The programmer, Donna Bailey, wanted the game to
be, as she says, "visually interesting."
The First Game To Have "Official" Spin-Offs
After the great success of Pong, Atari produced Super Pong, Pong
Doubles, Quadrapong, Breakout and Super Breakout. An official spin-
off is a new game designed by the same company and having some
relationship to its predecessor -- in name, style or game characters.
The most recent spin-off clan is the (Namco/Midway) Pac family: Pac-
Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Super Pac-Man, Baby Pac-Man and Pac-Man Plus.
The First Game To Have Recorded A Nine-Digit High Score
Robotron: 2084 was scored out to nine digits (that's a hundred
million points, to you and me). The score, which, by the way, has
been topped, was 100,525,700. This, indeed, is a lot.
The First The First Book About Video Games
It had to happen. With the popularity of video games, there had to
be guides to playing them better. How to Master the Video Games, by
Tom Hirschfeld, ws the first how-to-win book. The first "complete"
guide to video gaming (manners, maladies, dress, etc.) was Defending
the Galaxy, of course.
The First Gamers To Play While Partially Submerged in Jell-O
Greg Pincus and Scott Johnson, on May 30, 1983 in Providence, RI,
played a 28-minute game of Dig-Dug while standing in wading pool
filled with lime-flavored Jello brand gelatin. No comment was given
as to a purpose for this stunt, although they did hope they were the
first to do it.
The First Person To Die Playing A Video Game
Galactic warrior Peter Bukowski had a heart attack on April 3, 1982,
in Calumet City, Illinois -- at the Friar Tuck game room, River Oaks
Shopping Center. The game he was playing was Berzerk.
The First Video Game Made Into A Cartoon
Pac-Man, by Bally/Midway
The First Cartoon Made Into A Video Game
Popeye, by Nintendo
The First Game With A High Score Mode
Space Invaders. It remembered the highest score, but it didn't care
who made it.
The First Game With An Initial High Score Mode
Asteroids. Part of Asteroids' amazing success was its ability to
accept and display the initials of its high scores. Soon after, most
The First Video Game Made Into A Pinball Game
Pac-Man, by Bally/Midway
The First Pinball Machine Made Into A Video Game
Video Pinball, by Atari
Typed by Keita Iida