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Gaming pioneer Alan Kotok dies

Spacewar creator passes away, aged 64...

Whilst Pong is celebrated widely as the world's first 'videogame', individuals who have investigated gaming history more deeply might counter that Pong was beaten to the punch by Spacewar, a space-based shoot 'em up involving the firing missiles, which could be controlled via keyboard or joystick. Spacewar was crafted by Alan Kotok, alongside a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology students in 1962. Alan Kotok passed away on May 26th, at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A heart attack was blamed for the 64 year old gaming pioneer's death.

Kotok was just sixteen when he designed Spacewar with his fellow MIT students, and post-Spacewar he worked for Digital Equipment for 34 years, and in recent years as associate chairman of the World Wide Web Consortium. Regardless of whether Pong or Spacewar came first, Kotok's role in the forging of gaming cannot be denied, yet despite his groundbreaking creation Kotok saw little reward for his innovations, noting that "the only money I made from Spacewar was as a consultant for lawsuits in the video game industry in the 1970s."

Regardless, the gaming world as it exists today certainly owes Alan Kotok a debt of gratitude.

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