Tennis for Two with FamiLAB at The History Center!


The Orange County Regional History Center has an exhibition called “Games People Play: The History of Video Games” running now through September.

The FamiLAB crew is hosting an event there Saturday, July 16th called the “Retro Arcade” – we will be setting up classic video games and computers for History Center visitors to see, touch, and play.

While planning the event, we stumbled on plans to recreate the original “Tennis for Two”, which is generally considered the first video game ever created. It was built over 50 years ago, in the age of vacuum tubes and a newly invented thing called a “transistor”!

When I found the plans over at, I popped them on the FamiLAB mailing list. Within minutes, several of our members said “Let’s do it” and we suddenly had a project, AND a deadline – the “Retro Arcade” was less than a week away.

Ted built the main circuit board, and we sourced most of the parts from parts bin (ATMEGA CPU, a few buttons) and our local Radio Shack (pots, knobs, perf board).

Ted brought the work-in-progress to the normal Tuesday night FamiLAB meeting, where Mack started building the “paddle” controllers and getting the dust off the analog oscilloscope. I took the parts home to cut the pots to length and mounted the buttons to finish the paddles. One more quick hand-off late last night and Ted has the setup working at the lab.

I’m excited to tell this story, because this is what I love about working with the FamiLAB team. When I first saw the plans, there was no way that I could execute on it myself in the timeĀ I had available – but with the FamiLAB crew, a great idea gets attention, and others jump in to make it happen. I learned a few things along the way – AND we have a fun and historic game to show off at The History Center. Huge thanks go to Ted and Mack for their efforts on this one.

I hope you can come out to see and PLAY it Saturday at the Retro Arcade!




About digitalman2112

Ian is currently working to help build the technology innovation community within Central Florida while also raising his two sons ( and occasionally making something fun...