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Game #3916
Hall of Belated Fame Inductee  SpaceWar    View all Top Dogs in this genreCollection: Fanmade Remakes
Action   Multiplayer Shooter

Rating: 8.9 (20 votes)

SpaceWar box cover

SpaceWar screenshot
SpaceWar is the first PC port of the first computer game ever made – what more needs to be said? The game was first released for DEC's PDP-1 computer at MIT in 1960. The Spacewar page at Wheels.org has some nice descriptions and anecdotes:

"The first CRT display was a converted oscilloscope used to play SpaceWar.The first trackball (and thus, the first mouse) was a SpaceWar controller at MIT. It is said that Ken Thompson salvaged a PDP-1 and created a new operating system, now called UNIX, so that he could play SpaceWar.

The gameplay was inspired by E. E. 'Doc' Smith's Lensman novels. Two players go head-to-head, each controlling a ship in interstellar combat, trying to blow the bejeezus out of each other. There is a sun in the center of the playing field that exerts an inverse-r-squared force on all objects on the screen. A talented player can aim torpedos such that their trajectory is deflected by the sun's gravitational force, getting them to intersect with the other player's trajectory."

This PC version by B. Seiler is very faithful to the original, down to the black-and-white vector graphics. You can toggle planet gravity pull on or off, and play against another human player or a computer player. All this in 9KB no less. Whether or not you are interested in the history of computer games, SpaceWar is one classic that you wouldn't want to miss.

Note: As a bonus, you can download the 1998 Windows remake in the "Extras" area below. Created as a remake of the 1979 Cinematronics version, only two-player mode is supported.

Reviewed by: Underdogs
Designer: B. Seiler & Matthew Russell
Developer: Freeware
Publisher: Freeware
Year: 1985
Software Copyright: B. Seiler
System Requirements: DOS
Where to get it:
Related Links: Spacewar page at Space Games of Fame (archived), Classicgaming.com article (archived), Windows version homepage (archived)
If you like this game, try: V-Wing, Gravity Force, KOPS

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