Radical Interfaces

Let’s go back in time. What’s the first videogame ever?

Right Answer #1

1962 Steve Russell & al. Bastard child of the military industrial complex. Based on a virtual planetarium. Rand on PDP-1 an early digital computer. Open source-ish collaborative creation (modding). Progenitor of Asteroids and all shooters.
Screen was a WWII radar – its roundness possibly affected the design of the game.
The interface was a bunch of awkwardly positioned switches. So they had to invent the joystick. Its mapping still dictates much of the movements in game spaces.

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 9.43.27 AM

Right Answer #2

1958 William Higinbotham, Robert Dvorak. Analog computer, oscilloscope screen. Pacifist/scientific sibling of Spacewar. Progenitor of pong and all sports games.
Control system based on knobs which spawn a the commercial pong style controllers years later, now out of fashion (but somewhat closer to the analog stick than switches).

In 1977 a million of pong clones flooded the market crashing the young industry
In 1977 a million of pong clones flooded the market crashing the nascent industry

Control interfaces mostly stabilized until the advent of mouse and GUI in the early 90s (fostering less action oriented genres like RTS, puzzles, point and click adventures, and externalizing the look and aim to the mouse).

Game genres developed incrementally mainly by reimagining the relationship between the standard cartesian control system and player/avatar.


A contemporary variation of lunar lander:

Site specific, custom controllers, multiplayer co-op

Canabalt (2009) – platformer via reduction

indie hit. Retro graphics. Flixel. One button game genre, procedural generation, environmental storytelling.

First person changes everything, press and hold, bonus, added vertigo/ilinx

People doing interesting things with game inputs (not necessarily analog interfaces).


The best interactive art always makes you look at the participants.

– 43 Dodgy Statements on Computer Art, Brian Reffin




Check Doug’s other works



…the prophet of a future, not necessarily more peaceful but more efficiency civilization is ready to seperate the men from the mice!

– /////////Fur

Domination game from James Bond Never Say Never

Other projects by Fur

Analog hack


Need more inspirations?