Text-Based Shootout at High Noon

Here I’ll take a brief look at a specific intersection of education and gaming. There were many educational networks that sprang up in the 1960s and I’ll be showcasing some of them in future posts. These networks were a key enabler of the “people’s computing” that I’ve talked about already. This post will cover a very specific example that will serve to highlight the general tenor of the timeframe.

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ROCKET and Lunar Landers

The particular game I’ll focus on here led to a whole slew of very similar variants and was based on one of the most amazing endeavors undertaken by the human race. The variants all came to be known as variants around titles like “Lunar Lander” or “Moon Lander” but the original was called, quite simply, “ROCKET.”

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Talking with ELIZA

In between the two iterations of The Sumerian Game (in 1964 and 1966), an interesting early ludic experience became known. This was not really a game, but it certainly was a simulation. There are some interesting aspects to ELIZA that you could argue should have prefigured a bit of what came later — such as the text adventure — although it’s not actually clear that it did.

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Play Like a Sumerian

In terms of the education-technology-gaming intersection mentioned in the previous post, we can step into the early 1960s and look at a game that, for quite a long time, was obscured, if not entirely absent, from a lot of game history. This game shared an interesting context with a wider education initiative that was going on at the same time.

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