Saturday, August 27, 2016

New Info on Galaxy Game

I’ve been too busy to post much lately, but I did want to post a quick note about some new information that has recently emerged about Galaxy Game (the two-off game created at Stanford in 1971). 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, a number of people had claimed that Galaxy Game, and not Computer Space, was the world’s first coin-operated video game. This seems to be based on the claim in Tristan Donovan’s book Replay that the game was put on location in September 1971, a month before Computer Space debuted at the 1971 MOA show and about two months before it was “released.” As I also mentioned earlier, I don’t find this line of argument entirely convincing, given that Computer Space was location tested before it made its debut. Goldberg and Vendel claim that it was first tested in August, a month before Galaxy game – though I think this is based on the recollections of Ted Dabney and/or Nolan Bushnell. 

Well, some new information has surfaced that sheds further light on the issue. Donovan’s date was (I believe) based on an interview with Bill Pitts, the game’s programmer and co-creator. While a number of people have interviewed Pitts, including me several years ago, it seems that no one had interviewed Hugh Tuck.

Recently, Alex Smith of the They Create Worlds blog/podcast interviewed Tuck. As luck would have it, Tuck still had the business plan for Mini-Computer Applications, the partnership he and Pitts formed when they were peddling Galaxy Game to investors. There weren’t any major revelations in the document, but it did give some more solid evidence for the game’s dates. According to the document (which was written around February 1972), Pitts designed and built the game interface from July to November 1971. It then notes “In late November, the first game was installed in the Chess Room of the Tresidder Memorial Union at Stanford University. Simultaneously, an ad was run in the Stanford Daily Newspaper stating the name of the game and location.”
So according to contemporary evidence, the game was not put on location until late November 1971, after Computer Space had debuted at the MOA and well after it was first put on location for testing. And it seems that it was very late in November at that. The business plan mentions that when the game was put on location, they put an ad in the Stanford paper. The paper (the Stanford Daily) has an online archive dating back to 1892. I did a search for Galaxy Game and the first ad I found was in the November 29, 1971 issue, which actually contained two:




The November 23 issue also has this personal ad, which was repeated in subsequent issues.  "Atlas" was probably Hugh Tuck, whose family owned a company called Atlas Heating and Ventilating.




Of course, one could still argue that Galaxy Game was "released" before Computer Space,. Computer Space is believe to have started shipping to distributors in November, 1971 - though the date is unclear and it may not have been until December. And it likely would have taken ome time for the game to make its way to distributors to operators to locations. 
As I mentioned in my earlier post, however, I think this argument is a bit dubious because Galaxy Game, which wasn't a commercial product and was not sent to distributors at all, didn't really have a "release" date. 

18 comments:

  1. The nature of a release date, for me, has to rely on either contemporaneous company acknowledgement or the date where it goes into full production for the local area.

    For example, Atari Coin Connection lists and exact date for Breakout: May 11th, 1976. However, the leaked Atari production document says that it started production in April. What I think the former date means is that is when it went nationwide to distributors, that *any* operator in the country could order it. It's a vamping thing. When you consider a release date depends on your ability to waver from the "finishing" date.

    I think based on the available evidence that Computer Space came out in November, but I'll talk about that a bit more when I do my Nutting summation.

    I'm glad you found some supporting evidence for Alex's info. It's great that there's an archive like the Stanford Daily, right in the heart of the explosion, which is available for us to research!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well, of course, sadly, they still refused already, but was too late to posting pages. Allright and anyway, that's all over... Yet!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Replies
    1. Sorry, I've been busy lately. Work on the book is going slowly, but I'm still working on it. I plan to start posting again sometime, but I'm not sure when.
      Someone recently dug up some more documents from the Magnavox v Bally case as well as the Bally v Williams case on Bally's microprocessor pinball patent. they had a few tidbits, including details on Bally, Ramtek, Williams, and Gottlieb's early solid state pinball projects. I may do a post on them soon.

      Delete
    2. That was me, by the way :) I was going to send you notes on it, but if you've had time to go through it then feel free to share.

      Delete
  4. Your blog is very useful for me,Thanks for your sharing.

    หนังฝรั่ง

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cool blog. I'll visit it in the future :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Very nice article :) greetings!:)

    ReplyDelete
  7. It was a lont time ago so they may not remember.. ;) Very interesting post ;)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Wow.. post is good. I have read with interesting. ;)
    _______________
    Wyświetlacze Reklamowe LED

    ReplyDelete
  9. Numpang izin promo ya kk / cc admin ^^

    Ayo mari sini join dan daftarkan diri anda bersama kami BandarJudiQQ, Situs Poker dan Domino Terhebat
    BandarJudiQQ →→ https://goo.gl/yDsoVi

    Minimal Deposit & Withdraw IDR 15.000
    Bonus TurnOver 0.3 % - 0.5 %
    Bonus Referral 20 %
    Dan mainkan ke 7 Game Hanya dengan 1 ID

    Tunggu apalagi ayo segera join BandarJudiQQ
    Register : https://goo.gl/fqE356

    Kunjungi juga fanpage kami yahh https://goo.gl/QAZniQ

    Bila anda mempunyai pertanyaan langsung saja hubungi kami via :
    LiveChat : https://goo.gl/noSSC9
    BBM : 336057ED
    YM : bandarjudiqq@yahoo.com
    Twitter :@bandarjudiqq

    ReplyDelete
  10. Our Meltic Balls for amusement machine Supply and Product Quality Inspections are your eyes and ears to check on any poor quality and expose unreasonable price point.We believe that being a supplier is something but being a partner leads to everything that grows possibilities.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello Blog Admin,
    Your blog and post very good and attractive.
    Explore India’s Golden Triangle Tour 4 Day from New Delhi, and discover some of India's most famous attractions, such as the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, and city of Jaipur.
    Thanks and best regards
    Manoj Sharma
    www.indiatripdesigner.com
    +91-9837332533

    ReplyDelete
  12. I like what you shared in the article, thank you for that, it has given me more experience. I would like to share with you some interesting things, if you have free time and want to find a tool for fun read it now.i need a hug quote Read and ponder the good quotes of life below, you will surely draw in life's own deep lessonstruyện ngôn tình hiện đại hay nhấtOr you can go and search for the most fun games to play likenhạc chuông mario. Surely what I'm introducing to you will not disappoint you. Please click and experience. Having fun.

    ReplyDelete