The games people play … 1951
I wonder just how many of you fine folk out there either gave or received a PC Game for Christmas. I suspect it may well have been quite a few of you.
You will be delighted to hear that the dedicated game-playing digital computer made its first appearance in … 1951.
On the 5th of May 1951, the NIMROD computer made its public bow. It was designed exclusively to play the game of ‘NIM’. It was designed and built by Ferranti and displayed at the Exhibition of Science during the 1951 Festival of Britain.
And yes … try fitting this in your front-room!
Diagram of the machine:
- Instructions panel: instructions that Nimrod follows during the game.
- Main panel: bulbs mirror the control panel to show the process of the game to the observers; underneath the bulbs there is a legend describing the possible states of the game.
- Panel shows the current calculations of the processor during slow game speed; a legend for this is located on the instructions panel.
- Four bays holding the machine’s valves (tubes). Each bay contains 120 valves, arranged as six blocks of twenty. (Only 350 of the installed valves were active in the computer; the others were just being ‘burned in’ to avoid early failure.Four bays holding the machine’s valves (tubes). Each bay contains 120 valves, arranged as six blocks of twenty. (Only 350 of the installed valves were active in the computer; the others were just being ‘burned in’ to avoid early failure.
- Nimrod’s control panel: demonstrator would typically sit on the side closer to the computer, while the player would sit on the other side of the desk.
The game board consists of three rows of checkboxes. Every time you click on a checked box, checks on this one and all boxes to the right are removed. It’s you against your computer. The one who removes the last check wins. Computer responds after you made your move.
A warm welcome to the 1951 Club, NIMROD.