Tennis for two


In 1958, American physicist William Higinbotham worked in the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, as the head of the instrumentation division. Higinbotham had a bachelor’s degree in physics from Williams College, and had previously worked as a technician in the physics department at Cornell University while unsuccessfully pursuing a Ph.D. there. He served as the head of the electronics division of the Manhattan Project from 1943 to 1945, and began working at Brookhaven in 1947, which focused on researching peaceful uses of atomic power.

He design Tennis for Two  a sports video game that simulates a game of tennis, one of the first games developed in the early history of video games, in 1958 for display at the Brookhaven National Laboratory‘s annual public exhibition after learning that the government research institution’s Donner Model 30 analog computer could simulate trajectories with wind resistance. He designed the game within a few hours, after which he and technician Robert V. Dvorak built it over a period of three weeks. The game was displayed on an oscilloscope and played with two custom aluminum controllers.