AS Douglas

AS (Sandy) Douglas, was the creator of OXO, a game for the EDSAC computer. It was a tic-tac-toe game that has been agrued to outdate even Tennis for Two, by William Higinbotham.

The game was not particularly popular, because it ran only on EDSAc, a computer unique to combridge university.

The picture shown on the top of this page is a simulation of Noughts And Crosses, a Tic-Tac-Toe game programmed in 1952 by A.S. Douglas who was passing his PhD degree at the University of Cambridge. His ingenious idea was the use of the tank display CRT as 35 x 16 pixel screen for displaying his game.

The game was played against the machine and the player determined who played first (EDSAC / USER). Once the game started, the player specified where he wanted to place his nought or cross using a mechanical telephone dialer.

The reason why A.S. Douglas programmed this game is his PhD dissertation about Human-Computer interraction. People willing to read this dissertation will need to visit the library of the University of Cambridge in order to obtain a copy.

People willing to simulate this game can follow this link to download the latest version of the EDSAC simulator (both MAC and PC versions are available). The software includes a number of programs and subroutines, recent contribution from EDSAC amateurs, as well as a very detailed documentation for those willing to write EDSAC programs.

Noughts and Crosses is considered as the first real graphical computer game and preceeds Space War by almost 10 years. One might wonder why it had no success outside of the University of Cambridge. The reason is obvious: EDSAC was unique, so nobody could play the game outside of the University.

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