What Was The First Computer Game Ever?

If you thought Pong was the first ever computer game – you and I both thought wrong. Believe it or not, the first computer game ever was Bertie the Brain.

Dr Josef Kates created this computer game in 1950, for the purpose of the Canadian National Exhibition.

Bertie the Brain was the first game ever that applied a primitive form of artificial intelligence.

Essentially, it was a large scale game of tic-tac-toe. Embedded within a 4-meter tall computer, Bertie the Brain had adjustable difficulty settings.

Bertie the Brains is also the first video game ever because of its massive visual display screen.

Bertie’s screen consisted of additron tubes, which were, in fact, miniature versions of vacuum tubes.

However, there is an ongoing debate in the gaming world, whether or not Bertie the Brain really is the first video game ever.

For instance, Bertie used light bulbs instead of a real-time screen with visual graphics.

How Was First Computer Game Ever Played?

If you have ever played a game of tic tac toe – that is pretty much it. Just try to imagine playing it on a massive 4-meter electrical wall.

The logic behind this world’s biggest computer tic tac toe game was based on a grid of 9 big squares.

Schematic for the circuitry of the US patent of additron tubes.
By Josef Kates – U.S. Patent 2,784,312, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45835838

Similarly to playing a game with a human, the player makes their move, followed by Bertie’s move. Followed by the moves, an X or O shaped bulbs turned ON.

A fun addition to the game was the playfield signs “Electronic Brain” and “Human Brain” which marked player’s or computer’s turn.

One of the most impressive features of the first video game ever was its response time.

Quickly after the human move, Bertie would make her move almost instantly, within a second.

What is even more awe-inspiring about it is that on the highest difficulty – Bertie was never beaten.

Why is Pong Not The First Video Game Ever?

The game of Pong is considered to be the first ever generation of video game consoles, dating back to 1972, manufactured by Atari.

Pong was first console game ever, which consequently launched the success of Atari, building their next of digital kin – Computer Space.

A rectangularly shaped construction made from wood with a visual display built in the front end.
Pong is considered one of the first ever video games in existence.
By Chris Rand – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=28364913

Some researchers/enthusiasts claim that Bertie wins this popular competition because Pong was a first commercially successfull game ever.

Bertie the Brain, on the other hand, started off as a scientific project and money oftentimes trumped science.

Well, at least in the level of early public awareness. In our eyes, Bertie will always be #1!

Interested in finding out who was the first professional gamer ever?