back to article Before Pong, there was Computer Space

The holiday spirit is still strong with This Old Box — or rather, the nog we're drinking this evening has some pretty strong spirits in it. Just semantics really. This old box logo But as the shopping days until C-day dwindle, there's computer games on many-a-reader's mind. And with Atari's latest resurrection in swing, we …


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  1. Skyraker

    This story... worthless without screenshots.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Daaamn, I'm impressed...

    That's some seriously rare and old box there. You've actually larned me sumptin' today!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Was this the first...

    computer pr0n ad as well? That's some mighty fine knickers she's wearing.

  4. N


    I want one!

    & well spotted AC you stole my thunder on the knickers! eeh they dont do advertising like that anymore...

  5. Ian Ferguson
    Dead Vulture

    Why no screenshots?

    An annoying article as all I wanted to find out while reading it was what the gameplay looked like.

    I headed over to the retro fansite and had a look at the videos. Very interesting - the gameplay was a hell of a lot more advanced than Pong.

  6. jake Silver badge

    Sorry, kids.

    According to TheWife[tm]: "That's not knickers. It's a trick of light and shadow. Or 'shopped. The geometry is just plain wrong." (Her words, not mine.)

    I disagreed ... Fiddling with a camera & lighting & some flimsy nightwear (and a largish dresser as stand-in for the fiberglass shell that I last saw at Straw Hat Pizza on San Antonio, between

    Charleston & Middlefield on the Palo Alto/Mountain View border, in probably '73ish) , we can duplicate the picture ... but we only get the same effect sans knickers ... With pants, we get weird shadows that ruin the effect.

    So I'm sorry, the model isn't wearing panties ... wait ... Is that good, or bad?

    No, I'm not going to post pics as proof. Do your own fscking detective work :-)

  7. goinglogo

    You Can See This Machine Working... the movie Soylent Green.

    I do believe its in a luxury apartment of one of the Soylent executives.

  8. BlueGreen

    short, slightly sucky non-youtube gameplay video here


    Very neat.

    For best video game ever I nominate Defender.

  9. Dana W
    Thumb Up


    I Remember seeing one as a kid, same cabinet, only red metalflake. It had had been gutted and turned into a PONG machine!

    If you can find a copy of the movie "Soylent Green" the console appears in it with video of the game play.

  10. Daniel Garcia

    do you want to play?


  11. Diane Miller

    I've seen those

    My brother told me about one of those machines in one of the first shopping malls, Southland at Hayward, California. Apparently it sat in the mall just outside of the Woolworth's. It was weird enough looking that he conned my parents into letting him try it for a dollar or two while they were shopping. I was about five at the time, so my memories are limited.

    I ran into my own version of this visiting my grandparents in about 1982 in the video arcade at Bell's Amusement Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It wasn't a bad game at all, and not nearly as hard as this makes it sound. I wonder if it's still there...

  12. theotherone

    yes but can it

    yes but can it run crysis on high?

    what about if you hard-wire Crysis onto it ....

    mine's the one with "not another one" written on it .....

  13. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    On that ad with that model...

    ...the box looks like a gigantic ET with a hard-on. With knobs on it.


    Did I just say that?

  14. Bob Merkin

    It was real?

    I recognized those curves immediately as the game in Soylent Green. I had always assumed that thing was a prop created solely for the movie set. It had that look of "this is what the future will be like" from the perspective of the early 70s. Pretty funny that those were actually built. The fiberglass and the metal flake paint makes me think of a sidecar or a custom trike from that era.

  15. Paul Smith

    Comes in Red, Blue, Yellow and Soylent Green.

    The yellow one looks like some Sesame Street inspired nightmare.

  16. Simon Harris

    Off to build my own...

    Now I've found all the circuit diagrams at

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Great article!

    Thankyou for an informative article about something that's completely new to me. Excellent work :D

  18. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Thumb Up

    Panties or no panties...

    Pwwwooooorrrrrrr, in a 70's kind of a way!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    No CPU?

    Not really an unusual feature, plenty of the early video games were 'just' a bunch of TTL chips with no CPU.


    Don't worry about us asking for the pics of your semi-clad wife, we've got the nude ones already

    Paris, we've all seen those pics too.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Having made simple circuits (LED 7segment controllers) from 7400 quad nands as part of a project at college, I am seriously impressed that this machine was made from these. The logic must have been a complete nightmare to work out/debug and the box must have been stuffed with circuitry. Pictures would have been nice?

  21. Peter Kay

    It's pretty amazing in the flesh

    (The machine, don't know about the model). There were a couple of them at the videogames exhibition at the science museum in London; however I don't think they were operational, sadly.

    The pictures really don't do justice to quite how sparkly it is.

  22. Rock Lobster
    Thumb Up

    this is the future

    @ Bob Merkin:

    Well the funny thing is that the makers of Soylent Green (which is set in 2022), couldn't have known what the future of gaming would be like. So they used "Computer Space" and maybe thought "yeah, in the future people will have such cool games for their homes" :) and now just imagine where we are today in 2008, and what the games already look like :) I'm sure they wouldn't have imagined that (think of Crysis etc)

  23. Andy

    i just had an idea for a new game

    it's called commuter space. that rare and oft fought over commodity shared by hundereds and thousands of cube slaves every morning and evening, on the train/bus/etc...

    no... i didn't think so either....

  24. Robert Moore


    "it's called commuter space"

    I assume it is a First Person Shooter.

  25. SiliconSlick
    Paris Hilton

    @Simon Harris

    Nice find... and an interesting read in itself.

    Paris, because she knows about vertical _and_horizontal hold.

  26. jake Silver badge

    @Clint Sharp

    "Don't worry about us asking for the pics of your semi-clad wife, we've got the nude ones already"

    Thanks for winning the bet for me ... word for word, no less :-)

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