Not an arcade video game. I think I played Pong first.
But an actual, sit down at the terminal, computer game.
It was Star Trek.
A friend’s dad had to go into the office one weekend and brought us along to show us the game that somebody had put on the accounting computer. He left us to poke at it while he went off and did his work. A clear waste of government resources back in an age when most people didn’t really know what a video game was, outside of Pong and Tank, and where the idea of a computer game probably would not have occurred to them.
It was a very simple game. You were tasked to clear out the galaxy of hostile elements with a limited set of resources.
It was a pivotal moment in my life. We were entranced.
I am sure the fact that it was called Star Trek, and represented the Enterprise fighting Klingons helped. Star Trek was a big deal at the time, which was at least a year before Star Wars. Maybe two. It also pre-dated my Atari 2600.
We had such a good time with the game that my friend and I ended up creating a board game version of it so we could play at home. We were engrossed. It was the first in a series of games we created by piecing together the mechanics we discovered from other games. Our home version got more complex over time.
It also got us to go out with horded allowance money to buy games like Star Fleet Battles as time went on, both to play them and to see how they dealt with spaceship combat. There was even a foray in to naval miniatures rules and the like. It was a heady time.
Anyway, I bring this up because over at The Register, the have a short piece up about the history of the original Star Trek game as part of the Antique Code Show series.