Resurrecting Tennis for Two a video game from 1958

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

Tennis for Two presented a tennis court shown from the side on an oscilloscope screen, where handheld controllers allowed the two players to toss the ball to each other. Each controller had two controls: a button and a knob. With the button, you could hit the ball at any time of your choosing when it was on your side of the net, and with the knob you could choose the angle at which the ball was hit.

Resurrecting Tennis for Two a video game from 1958
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The game was based on the best contemporary technology: analog electronic computers built out of op-amps, relays, and the occasional transistor. It took Higinbotham and his technicians several weeks to design and build the game. Of course, some things have changed over the last 50 years. Using convenient modern electronics, we have designed a functional and playable replica of the original that can be put together by a hobbyist in a couple of evenings. You can watch the video of our recreation on YouTube or embedded here: So, the next question you might ask is, How do you build this  And, if that is in fact what you`re asking right now, you`re in the right place. The quick answer is, with an oscilloscope, an AVR microcontroller, and a digital to analog converter.  Ready to get going Before we start, let`s be clear that this is not a tutorial in how to build an oscilloscope. Tennis for Two is supposed to display on a scope, so beg, borrow, or buy one if you don`t have one handy. Older low-end analog scopes like mine (a Hameg!) usually go for $50-$150, and if nothing else, you can always make a Scope Clock out of it later. There are three parts to the electronics that we`re building. First, there is the AVR microcontroller the brains of the outfit. The specific variety that we`re using is the ATmega168, the same chip used in (for example) the Arduino platform. Secondly, there are two handheld controllers that connect to the...

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