DS - Document SignedInventor of the landmark computer game Pong. Type Script Signed by Higinbotham, 3 page -1990 "Invention and Technology Magazine" article by Frederic D. Schwartz about Higinbotham's role in the origin of computer games.
Schwartz's article begins, "Remember Pong? In 1972 it became the first succesful video-arcade game...In reality, though, it was invented in 1958, in a laboratory in then-rural Upton, New York, by a man named William Higinbotham." According to this article, Higinbotham was integral to the birth of successful, modern video games, as the article explains that "Higinbotham was in charge of instrumentation design at Brookhaven National Research Laboratory (BNL), a government supported nuclear-research facility...To assure people that they were in no danger, and that their crops would not mutate, the laboratory ran tours to show how useful, important, and safe its research was." Higinbotham's contribution, based on his desire " to liven things up," was computer based "tennis game, with the court displayed on [an] oscilloscope's screen. For a man who had helped develop the first radar systems and designed timing devices for the Manhattan Project's atomic bomb, it was a simple matter to plan the necessary circuitry, and within a couple of days the game was finished." So Pong was born. As the article explains, however, Higinbotham was in a difficult position regarding the game's ownership. As a government employee, he could not register a patent in his own name, as "Uncle Sam would have owned it."
Higinbotham, who had "witnessed the first test detonation at Los Alamos" and was "determined to reduce the awesome threat that nuclear weapons posed to the world" had attempted to create a game of non-violence. He lobbies and speaks against violent games and nuclear weapons and, as the article concludes, "It's nice to be the patriarch of Pong. But if current trends continue and his scientific efforts end up leading to a peaceful world, Willy Higinbotham will have accomplished something much greater." The typescript is signed on page 3 by Higinbotham in his hand: "Best Wishes, William A. Higinbotham Feb.8, 1991." An interesting association piece, which reveals how work on global issues such as nuclear energy intersected with the invention of peaceful computer technologies designed for diversion and entertainment. Stapled on upper left corner. In very good condition.