The history of video games is very interesting, starting back in the 1950s, at first used only for training and research programs. But as time passed, and this technology progressed, it became more common and its uses varied.

It was the Canadians and the British, the first to build computers capable of playing computer games. From the Canadians, Bertie the Brain was born, and it could play tic-tac-toe. The British gave us Nimrod, a computer capable of playing the game of Nim.

From this point onwards, the history of entertainment worldwide would change forever. Computers became more and more powerful, and computer games increased in number and quality.

Today, the world wouldn’t be the same without video games, for a gamer knowing where it all begun is a must. The early history of this industry is long, but we can summarize it by learning about the most prominent games of that time. I’ve put together a list with the top 25 computer games from the beginning of video game history.

Tennis For Two

Tennis for Two

Released as a tech demo in 1958 by William Higinbotham Tennis for Two is arguably the first computer game ever created simply for entertainment. The game recreated a tennis match seeing from the side, where two players would compete against each other. The game was played by an aluminum controllers that had a button that hit the ball and a knob that adjusted the angle of the ball.


Developed in the MIT in 1962, Spacewar! is one of the precursors of all video games. In this game two ships (the Needle and the Wedge) face each other trying to shoot each other down while sorting the dangers of fighting to close to a star.

Star Trek

Taking advantage of the popularity of the TV series with the same name, the game Star Trek was released in 1971. This is a text-based strategy game where you control the Enterprise and your goal is to hunt Klingon warships. Your game will end if you destroy all Klingon warships, your ship gets destroyed, or the time limit runs out. The game is written in BASIC programming language.


Pong was released in 1972 by Atari and by many this is considered the first game ever. While technically that’s not true since there were many games before Pong, this game was definitely the first commercially successful computer game in history. Pong is essentially a digital version of table tennis.

Maze War

Developed between 1972 and 1973, Maze War is considered along with Spasim as the ancestors of the first-person shooter genre. Maze War is also considered the first multi-player game played between peer-to-peer computers. This means that in a sense this game could be the ancestor of modern online gaming. The goal of the game is to find and shoot other players.

Hunt the Wumpus

Developed by Gregory Yob in BASIC and released in 1973, the goal of this text-based game is to hunt the Wumpus monster hidden inside a cave system. The game is turn-based, at the beginning of each turn you can choose whether to shoot an arrow that can change directions at will (up to 5 caves) or to move to an adjacent cave. If your arrow shoots the Wumpus you’ll win the game, you’ll lose if you fall down a pit, get shot by your own arrows or get killed by the Wumpus.

Gran Trak 10

The arcade game Gran Trak 10 was released in 1974 by Atari and is considered the first true racing game in history. In this game you become a pilot racing along a racetrack seen from above. One of the features that made this game so popular was the ability to control the car as if it was real, with a steering wheel, accelerator, brake pedals, and gear stick.


Released in 1974 by Kee Games, which was a company that was founded with the goal of ripping off Atari. Ironically the company was acquired by Atari soon after. There are two tanks operated by two players inside a maze with an overhead view. They move by joysticks and fire by pressing a button. The aim is to destroy the enemy as many times as possible before the timer runs out. The player with the most points wins at the end.

Wheels (Speed Race)

Wheels was released in 1974 in Japan under the name Speed Race and distributed in North America under the alternative name. The goal of the game is to make it as far as you can before the 90-second timer runs out. One of the things that makes this game great was the inclusion of a steering wheel to control the car.


Spasim was released in 1974 for the PLATO system. It’s a 32-player space flight simulator and FPS. The original game was focused on fighting but later more strategy was added. The goal of the game is to reach a faraway planet, to do this you’ll need to choose one of 4 planetary systems and a ship from the Star Trek universe. Each system can hold up to 8 players. Players must manage their planets resources and choose to cooperate or attack other players.

Gun Fight

A shooter released in 1975 by Taito, also known as Western Gun in Europe and Japan. This is considered the first PvP game to showcase human-to-human combat ever. In this game, two players have six shots to hit each other. The game ends when one player hits the other or if both run out of ammo.

Sea Wolf

Released in 1976 by Midway as a shoot-’em-up, in this game you take command of a submarine. Your goal is to destroy as many ships as possible before the time runs out.


Published on 1976 by Atari, this game would become an icon, with many modern versions being released constantly. The goal of the game is to destroy eight rows of bricks using a ball and a paddle. The ball is used to destroy the bricks, and the paddle is used to catch the ball.

Colossal Cave Adventure

Released in 1976, Colossal Cave Adventure is considered the ancestor of the adventure games genre. This game is a text-based game where you must give one or two-word commands to progress through the caves. The goal of the game is to collect as much wealth as possible and to exit the cave alive.

Space Wars

Released in 1977 Space Wars is a competitive 2-player video game. The goal of the game is to destroy the other player’s ship. To do this, you could shoot shells and warp to hyperspace randomly within the map. A single shell wouldn’t necessarily destroy a ship, instead dealing some damage reflected graphically on the screen, an innovation at the time.


The first release of this game was in 1977 as a turn-based war game. At the start of the game, a new random map is generated with cities spread through it. You start the game controlling one of these cities and the goal is to conquer all cities on the map. To do this, the player relies on armies produced within the cities. The game was first programmed in BASIC, later in FORTRAN and in the 80s written in C langauge.

Space Invaders

Created by Tomohiro Nishikado and published by Taito in 1978, Space Invaders would become one of the greatest games of all time, with modern adaptations taking place to this day. The goal of the game is to stop an alien invasion. To do this you take control of a powerful laser that can move horizontally while taking cover behind bunkers. The player or the aliens’ lasers can destroy the bunkers. The game ends when the aliens reach the bottom of the screen or if the player loses its last cannon.



Released in 1979 by Atari, this game was based on several games like Spacewar!, Computer Space, Space Invaders, and others. Its gameplay was refined by trial and error until eventually its developers would create one of the best games of its time. In this game you control a ship as it makes its way through an asteroid field. From time to time you must also battle flying saucers. The game ends at 99,990 points or 250 lives collected.


One of the forefathers of role-playing games, Avatar was created in 1979 at the University of Illinois for the PLATO system. This game includes features that would become the standard of the genre. For example, when creating your character, you can choose race, gender, alignment, etc. Also, this game is pretty much designed to be cooperative, being almost impossible to clear the dungeons without help. Players can also trade items and gold with each other.


Released by Namco in 1980, this game’s success was incredible. There are very few corners of the world where people haven’t heard of it. The game is centered on Pac-Man, a family man with a wife and two children with an enormous appetite. The goal of the game is to eat all the dots while escaping from four ghosts: Blinky (red), Pinky (pink), Inky (cyan) and Clyde (orange), all with unique personalities and behaviours. If you run out of lives is game over. The game ends at level 256 when a screen glitch renders the level unbeatable.


Released in 1981 by Activision, this game was as simple as it was difficult to beat. The aim of the game is to defeat the Mad Bomber. To achieve this, you become our glorious hero, the bucket. Now in your powerful bucket form you must catch the bombs dropped by the Mad Bomber, who with each level passed becomes more erratic and drops bombs faster.

Donkey Kong

A platforming game released in 1981 by Nintendo. This was the game that started it all for two of Nintendo’s greatest franchises, Mario and Donkey Kong. In this game you play as Jumpman (later known as Mario) and the goal is to rescue Lady (Pauline), a damsel in distress captured by Donkey Kong. The characters in this platforming game would grow to become icons of global pop culture.


Released in 1982 by Activision for the Atari 2600, this game would become a huge financial success and the predecessor of the side-scroller genre. In this game you control Pitfall Harry as he collects the treasure of the jungle while facing crocodiles, scorpions, rattlesnakes and his worst enemy, holes in the ground.

River raid

1982 was an exceptional year for Activision. Their games were some of the most successful that year, and River Raid was no exception. This is a vertical scrolling shooter where you control a fighter jet facing endless hordes of enemies. Tanks, helicopters, jets, and more. Your goal is to destroy as many as possible to reach the highest score.

(The Dungeons of) Moria

Inspired by The Lord of the Rings this is a roguelike RPG released in 1983. The goal of the game is to face against Durin’s bane, the Balrog that ended the dwarves of Moria. At the beginning of the game you can choose your race and classs. A characteristic of the genre, if you die you can’t reload and need to start at the beginning.

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