From 1951 to 1961, mostly in the walls of universities in the U.S., students produced such games as Nim, Tennis for Two, Mouse in the Maze, Tic-Tac-Toe and Spacewar! If the first of these can hardly be attributed to the video games in the modern sense (as such a screen was not used in it), the latter is worth looking closely - because Spacewar! was able to become the game that could give rise to mass interest in video games, which has not yet succeeded anyone. In the 1960s, MIT student Steve Russell wrote a simple duel between spaceships as an experiment. The player had control over speed, direction, and the ability to attack his opponent with torpedoes. The PDP-1 computer, costing 120 thousand dollars, was already close to modern computers - any case, despite its impressive size, it already had a screen in the form of an oscilloscope display and a keyboard.
Together with members of the Tech Model Railroad Club, Russell refined the game until 1962. The input device was also optimized - the awkward keyboard was replaced with a controller that was designed specifically for Spacewar! Today you can make a game like this in a day, using, for example, the Construct 2 engine, which lets you assemble logic from blocks instead of writing code but back then the game gained unprecedented popularity - it was distributed to anyone who wanted it and the company DEC, which produced the PDP-1, used it to demonstrate their system, later attaching Spacewar! to the systems they sold.
From this point on, a series of events began to unfold, thanks to which the game industry gradually began to unleash its limitless potential. Nolan Bushnell, the future founder of Atari and practically one of the founding fathers of the game industry itself, along with colleague Ted Dabney, make their own version of this game for arcade machines - their version differs in that one player now shoots at flying saucers. Such a maneuver allows one to finally find a commercial niche and enter the mass market - Nutting Associates implemented the game under the name Computer Space, but it happened only in 1971, marking the beginning of the era of arcade game machines. With their popularity, the idea of playing games from the comfort of your own home was already beginning to fly in the air, but it wasn't until ten years after the Spacewar! release that the first-ever commercially realized device, what we used to call a console or, what was then more in vogue, a set-top box, appeared on the market.