Playing the Game

Playing the Game: The Culture of Digital Games


Created in 1962 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Spacewar! is one of the first ever digital games. The two players each control a spaceship which is positioned against a starry background. Manoeuvring is made difficult by the presence of a star in the middle of the screen which exerts a strong gravitational pull. The objective is to shoot your opponent's spaceship before yourself being destroyed. Additional information about Spacewar! is available on Wikipedia.

Play Spacewar!

You can play Spacewar! online.
Player 1 Controls: a (left), s (right), d (thrust), f (fire).
Player 2 Controls: k (left), l (right), ; (thrust), ' (fire).
Click here to play Spacewar!


DeMaria, Rusel and Wilson, Johnny L. (2004). High Score! The Illustrated History of Electronic Games. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill/Osborne, pp. 12-13.
Myers, David (2003). The Nature of Computer Games: Play As Semiosis. New York: Peter Lang Publishing. The first two chapters of Myers' book discuss Spacewar!
Poole, Steven (2000). Trigger Happy: Videogames and the Entertainment Revolution. New York: Arcade, pp. 15-18.


Spacewar! was created by Martin Graetz, Stephen Russell, Wayne Wiitanen, Peter Samson, Dan Edwards, Alan Kotok, Steve Piner and Robert A. Saunders.