How The Creation of Video Games Was Inspired By “The Manhattan Project”

By Goodness M

The Manhattan Project was instrumental in creating the first nuclear weapons during World War II. This had a tremendous effect on the world which led to those involved in creating these weapons protesting against nuclear proliferation.

William Higinbotham participated in the Manhattan Project as a team leader in the electronics department. They were building the first atomic bomb. After working on this project, Higinbotham decided to quit and began advocating for nuclear non-proliferation. However, to continue earning a living, he joined the Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Image courtesy of Pixel-Shot / Shutterstock

The video game was played on an oscilloscope that was connected to the Atari Missile Comand. This was a computer that was used for tracking missiles. The controllers had a single button for hitting the tennis ball, and the angle of hitting the ball was set by a dial.

This whole design of the video game was in shambles. The score display was missing, and there were no customizable characters. However, visitors to the exhibition enjoyed playing this video game despite its poor design. People were super excited about this game and lined up by the dozens to try it out.

The popularity of the game was so overwhelming to the extent that Higinbotham enlarged the display. Therefore, this made it possible for people to have an illusion of playing tennis on Jupiter and the Moon.

Sadly Tennis for Two was discontinued in the second year of the exhibition. Higinbotham wanted to concentrate on building his legacy as an advocate for nuclear non-proliferation. Although his legacy was divided, he played a major role in linking the creation of video games to the first nuclear weapon invention.