The history of video games is filled with events and earlier technology that paved the way for video games. It also includes games that represent steps in the evolution of computerized gaming, and the development and release of video games themselves. The earliest known electronic game was by Thomas Goldsmith. The game was a missile simulator inspired by radar displays from World War II. It used analogue to control the CRT beam, and position a dot on the screen. Screen overlays were used for targets since graphics could not be drawn at the time. In March 1950, Claude Shannon devised a chess playing program that appeared in the paper Programming a Computer for Ferranti computer.
The introduction of computer games is largely down to Steve Russell in 1961, who was a programmer and scientist famous for creating Spacewar, one of the earliest videogames. While there is some debate over the concept of computer-based games, Spacewar was unquestionably the first to gain widespread recognition, and is recognized as the first of the "shoot em up" genre. In 1971 Bill Pitts and Hugh Tuck developed the first coin-operated computer game, called Galaxy Game at Stanford University using a DEC PDP computer. Which was the only one unit was ever built, although it was later adapted to run up to eight games at once. Two months after Galaxy Game's installation, Computer Space by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney was released, which was the first coin-operated video game to be commercially sold and the first widely available video game of any kind, predating the Odyssey by six months. Both games were variations on the vector display, 1961 (Spacewar era). However, Bushnell and Dabney's used an actual video display by having an actual television set in the cabinet. Pong, crafted by Bushnell and Dabney, used the same television set design as Computer Space, and was not released until 1972, a year after Computer Space. Pong brought video games to mainstream popularity. The aim is to defeat your opponent in a simulated table tennis game by earning a higher score. The game was originally manufactured by Atari Incorporated (Atari). Pong was organised by Allan Alcorn as a training exercise assigned to him by Atari. Allan had originally worked for the video pioneering company Ampex, where he met Ted Dabney and several other people that would end up being constants through the Atari, Inc, Apple, Cyan Engineering companies. Pong quickly became a success and is the first commercially successful video game, which led to the start of the video game industry as we know it. Soon after its release, several companies began producing games that copied Pong's game play, and eventually released new types of games. Space Invaders is an arcade video game designed by Tomohiro Nishikado, released in 1978. Though simple by today's standards with basic two-dimensional graphics, it was one of the forerunners of modern video gaming and helped expand the video game industry from a novelty to a global industry. Originally Nishikado wanted to use airplanes as enemies for Space Invaders, but would have encountered problems making them move smoothly due to the limited computing power at the time. Humans would have been easier to render, but Nishikado viewed games allowing the killing of virtual humans as immoral. After the first few months following its release in Japan, the game became very popular. Specialty arcades opened with nothing but Space Invaders cabinets, and Taito produced 100,000 arcade machines for the Japanese market over the next few years. 60,000 machines were sold in the United States. A shortage of yen coins and a subsequent production increase in Japan is attributed to the game! All kinds of new games had suddenly become possible, and so had a whole new art form.