Archive for September, 2009

Unusual UI-constraint in an early computer game

September 21, 2009

My exploration of an early computer game development has been published recently in IEEE Annals of the History of Computing (download article pdf 9.3 MB). The unusual UI aspect of the game is that – unlike many contemporary computer games played on the computer terminal or console as typed characters – the designers of this game opted for a proper game board, i.e to adhere to the principle of user interface consistency (having the computer representation of the real world mirror the real world). Fine – but do note that this principle was not at all coined in 1962-63 when this development took place. What farsighted game designers!

The Nimbi-game board
In those early days, connecting an unusual I/O device was cumbersome: the game board became hardwired to the central register of the Gier computer. This meant that only one computer was equipped to play the game – that in turn implied that the game was never used as intended to promote computers towards the public.

Reference A H Jørgensen: Context and Driving Forces in the Development of the Early Computer Game Nimbi. IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, Vol. 31, No. 3, July-September 2009, 44-53.