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Futureproofing Artifacts: Spacewar! 1962 In HTML5

March 1st, 2011 03:05 admin Leave a comment Go to comments

Classic Games (Games)

trebonian writes “In 1997 we posted a playable version of the Spacewar!, the first graphical computer game. Spacewar! was written by Russell et al at MIT in the early ’60s. We did not re-implement the game. Rather, we found the original source code, rebuilt it to get an authentic binary and ran it on a PDP-1 emulator that we wrote 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. Also, it would not require any effort to keep it running on all platforms well past the turn of the millennium, and through the traffic peaks of Spacewar’s 40th and 45th birthday. It’s now getting close to 15 years later. We would not want to bet that in another 15 years a Java program will still run on the latest popular platforms. As a hedge to the future, and in an effort to continue the preservation of this significant digital artifact, we’ve now ported the PDP-1 emulator to Javascript/HTML5. This should see the game through Spacewar!’s 50th (and hopefully 60th) birthday. Expect another update around 2025.”

Source: Futureproofing Artifacts: Spacewar! 1962 In HTML5

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