Tennis for Two is one important milestone in the history of the billion dollar computer and video game industry: It’s the first sports game. It’s the first game completely displaying the game graphics in real time. It’s the first game having two controllers for two players and thus fulfilling the long-term requirements of interactivity.
After reading an instruction manual that accompanied a Systron-Donner analog computer, William Alfred Higinbotham was inspired to design Tennis for Two, the first computer game to utilize handheld controllers and to display motion. It was also the first game to be played by general public, in this instance, attendees of “visitors day” at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in 1958.
Tennis for Two presented a tennis court– shown from the side– on an oscilloscope screen, where handheld controllers allowed the two players to toss the ball to each other. Each controller had two controls: a button and a knob.
Tennis for Two was displayed on an oscilloscope and played with two aluminum controllers. It took Higinbotham and his technician Robert V. Dvorak 3 weeks to build. The visuals show a side view of a tennis court.
Its position, however, as the first two-player implementation of a controller-based tennis game is indisputable. As to Higinbotham's ownership of Tennis for Two, he attempted no patent on his device. He would later write that, while he should have applied for a patent, I would not have been any richer. The patent would have belonged to Uncle Sam.
More Tennis For Two Controller images
The Tennis for Two Simulator (TeTS) has two modes: player vs. CPU and player vs. player. You can alternate between them with the switch on the righthand controller. First, click on one of the two silver buttons to make the ball to appear. If playing CPU mode, click on the dial on the lefthand controller. This dial controls the angle of the ball when hit.
Tennis for Two was first shown on October 18, 1958. The game was rendered as a horizontal line, representing the tennis court, and a short vertical line in the center, representing the tennis net. The first player would press the button on their controller to send the ball, a point of light, over the net, and it would either hit the net, reach the other side of the court, or fly out of bounds.
To run the Tennis for Two Simulator simply click here. Download the zipped file, extract it and run TennisForTwo.exe. After selecting if you want to play a solo game, or a game against the computer (called "Tennis-O-Tron"), you will begin. There is even an option for Internet play by selecting client hosting. The game should be played with apaddle controller.