How A Fifty Year-Old Video Game Survived The Internet

How A Fifty Year-Old Video Game Survived The Internet

Programmed in the early 1960s, Spacewar! is the granddaddy of video games. It’s inspired countless other games and has stood the test of time. You know what else has stood the test of time? The game’s source code. Here’s how.

“In 1997 we posted a playable version of the Spacewar!, the first graphical computer game,” netizen Trebonian tells Slashdot. That playable version uses the original source code, rebuilt in an authentic binary and ran on an emulator that was written in Java.

We chose Java to implement the PDP-1 because we believed at the time — correctly as it turned out — that a Java version would survive the browser wars,” Trebonian continues. But nearly 15 years has passed, and in an effort to keep the source code ticking, the game’s emulator was ported to Javascript/HTML5.

“This should see the game through Spacewar!’s 50th (and hopefully 60th) birthday,” adds Trebonian. “Expect another update around 2025.” Consider our calendars marked.

Original 1962 game code running on a PDP-1 emulator in JavaScript [Spacewar! via Slashdot]

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