Until the late 1970s, electronic gaming consisted of playing one of the hundreds of ping-pong console variants on your home television, an LED-based electronic handheld game, or possibly playing a text-based computer game … if you were lucky enough to have had access to a mainframe and/or minicomputer at work or school.

The nascent microcomputer industry began to slowly take off in the late 1970s with the availability of the first appliance computers for the mass market, notably with the release of the “1977 Trinty”, which included the Commodore PET, the Apple II, and the Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80. Prior to the release of these “take them out of the box and plug them in” appliance computers, most microcomputers were sold in kit form and had to be hand assembled, which usually required an electronics background and mad soldering skills.

Even with the release of these early appliance computers, quality commer- cially-released software was still hard to come by. Many new computing hobbyists learned to program by typing in text-based game programs from BASIC source code listings printed in various computer magazines and books. Mike Mayfield’s 1971 Star Trek space conquest game and Gregory Yob’s 1973 map exploration game Hunt the Wumpus, first published in the People’s Computer Company newsletter, were two popular games that found their way from the mainframe and minicomput- er world of businesses and uni- versities to the memory-con- strained microcomputer world.

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BillLange BillLange (15 Posts)

Bill is a software engineer. He designs and develops cloud-based software solutions. He resides in NJ with his wife Lucy and their dog Yoda. In his spare time, he likes to tinker with game programming, 8-bit computers and the classic arcade machines of his youth.