Video Game Firsts - Snipes

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Geek Dave chooses level Z9...

Think online gaming is a 21st Century phenomenon? Think again! Snipes kicked the whole craze off way back in 1983.

The story of Snipes begins in November 1981, when Drew Major bought one of the very first IBM PCs to hit the market. Together with his partners at SuperSet Software, Major quickly began looking for ways to connect the PC to the companies CP/M (Control Program for Microcomputers) network, and so the local area network (LAN), a heterogeneous system of PCs connected by a common data transmission medium, was born.

Feeling that they needed a way to prove their concept, Major and Dale Neibaur wrote an application that could be used to test the network and demonstrate its capabilities. The application they wrote for that purpose was the text-mode game called Snipes.

The objective of Snipes was to control your creature by moving it around a maze to destroy snipes and their hives, and/or destroy other networked players. Each game was different because the computer generated a random new maze.

Several level options were available. First, a letter is chosen, which controls the environment settings ranging in difficulty from A to Z (with options including what bad guys are available, whether or not diagonal shots bounce off the walls, and whether running into a wall will simply block or kill you). The next choice is a number, which controls the maximum number of snipes that may exist and how many hives are initially created within the maze.

Snipes is officially credited as being the original inspiration for the popular NetWars, released a decade later, and even though it's very basic, it was the beginning of all the online gaming we experience today.

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