World 1-1

By Dana Russo - March 26th, 2015


Like many people, I had always thought that Pong was the first video game. With its simplistic beeps and boops and green bars, it was known as THE gaming experience of the 70s. There is much debate over which game wins the title of “very first video game ever”, but according to the documentary World 1-1, it was Spacewar!

Spacewar! was conceived by MIT students in 1962 on large vector display systems. It is with this game that World 1-1 begins. The documentary is an indie Kickstarter film by Jeanette Garcia and Daniel Rodriguez. There is very little in the way of actual narration; instead, it focuses on the accounts of people who were in the trenches, so to speak. People who worked on games in their young adult lives who are now in their 60s and 70s, telling us firsthand accounts of what it was like to passionately do something that others thought was weird or a waste of time.

“There is this much nerdy awesomeness in this doc!”

The film spans over two hours and goes into the history of almost every single year. This isn’t just a general sweep of information through decades – they really do get into every single year! My PhD robotics studying partner thought that every minute detail of the film was interesting and worth knowing, whereas my eyes glazed over during certain parts. While I like documentaries, I’m not sure this one was necessarily aimed at me. It takes an academic approach that would be beneficial for colleges and schools, but perhaps not necessarily something to view at home for casual entertainment (unless you are a hardcore academic).

Still, it’s a very comprehensive and impressive collection of history that is sure to have a place in universities. If you’re interested, you can now rent the film from their official website.

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