Looking Back with Sean Haas (part one)

Looking Back with Sean Haas (part one)

Update: 2021-02-19


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This is part one of a two-parter, folks. And I'm sure that you'll want to hear the second part when it drops next week. Unless you're listening in the future - if so, how is everything?

Show Notes
We were joined by Sean "Advent of Computing" Haas for this episode of the podcast, and we wanted to talk about some of the oldest video games and video game systems. Sean is an expert at this kind of stuff, as his podcast is all about... well, the advent of computing - looking back at where it all started and how we got to where we are today. So it seemed only natural that we'd have him on the show, as he's a real font of knowledge on this topic. 

Sean's Podcast & Computer History

Before we get started with all of that though, we take some time to discuss Sean's show. If you're at all interested in the history of computers and computing, including things like certain applications, viruses and trojans, or even programming languages. I'd recommend subscribing to his show. It really is amazing.

We recorded this episode back on August 16th of 2020, and I put these show notes together as soon as the episode was edited and ready to go. But in the intervening time, Sean has put out an episode on the birth of Pong, and I really think that you should give it a listen. Here's a link to it: Episode 48: Electronic Ping-Pong.

Listening to Sean's podcast lights up parts of my brain which have been untouched since my Uni days. We studied the history of computing for a whole semester in the first year of my Computer Science degree, and it was then that I learned that touchscreen goes all the way back to the 50s.

I share this story on the pod, but if you want to know more about the history of the touchscreen, I'd recommend taking a look at the Wikipedia page for it as a starting point. Squidge mentions that it's the PDP-1 which was the first machine to have a touchscreen on it. And that reminded me that there's a wonderful kit out there to turn a Raspberry Pi into a working PDP-8.
Emulation and FPGAs

We talk about emulation, how great it's become recently, and about FPGAs and the MiSTer devices - keep an eye open for a future episode about the difference between emulation and FPGAs. And I take a wack at describing the difference between emulation software and FPGAs, and how it's completely magicI've heard it described as: it's software-defined hardware
- SeanRecent Games, Thunder Plains, and Some History

We discuss what we've been playing recently, as we always do. One thing to note is that we recorded this episode quite some time ago, as such our "recent games" aren't really that recent. We take Sean to the Thunder plains, and he tells us about the games he would take with him (and at least one mod for them).

After that, it's off to the races with us discussing some of the earliest video games ever made. I can say for certain that neither Squidge nor myself had played this games before we approached Sean about this episode, and we're glad that we hadn't.

Full Show Notes

Make sure to check out the full show notes for more discussion on the points we raise, some extra meta-analysis, and some links to related things. Jay also went the extra mile and discusses OXO (Sean calls this "Tic-Tac-Toe" in the episode), the computer it was written for, and the reason OXO was written in the first place - the reason could really shock you, honest.

Had you played any of the earliest games that we cover? If so, what did you think of them? Had you ever killed the dragon with your bare hands before?

Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, leave a comment on the show notes or try our brand new contact page.

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Looking Back with Sean Haas (part one)

Looking Back with Sean Haas (part one)

The Waffling Taylors