Technology | The Guardian

How the moon landings inspired a generation of game designers

July 18, 2019 at 12:30PM

Some of the earliest video games were influenced by the space race and created using the same computers as Nasa

On 20 July 1969, before an estimated television audience of 650 million, a lunar module named Eagle touched down on the moon’s Sea of Tranquility. The tension of the landing and the images of astronauts in futuristic spacesuits striding over the moon’s barren surface, Earth reflected in their oversized visors, would prove wildly influential to artists, writers and film-makers.

Also watching were the soon-to-be proponents of another technological field populated by brilliant young geeks: computer games. It is perhaps no coincidence that during the early 1960s, when Nasa was working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Instrumentation Lab to develop the guidance and control systems for Apollo spacecraft, elsewhere on campus a programmer named Steve Russell was working with a small team to create one of the first true video game experiences.

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