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Steve Russell

Also Known As

  • Stephen Russell
  • Steve "Slug" Russell

Game Credits


Computer Space (1971)   (Original concept by)
Galaxy Game (1971)   (Original concept by)


Spacewar! (1962)   (Programmed by)


The New Media Reader (included games) (2003)   (Named contributors in the CD-ROM's table of contents:)

Developer Biography

Steve Russell is a programmer most famous within the gaming community for leading the team that created Spacewar, one of the earliest video games. It was developed for the DEC PDP-1 computer between 1961 and 1962 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where Russell got multiple degrees including Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences.

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1937, his interest in computers began when his uncle, a Harvard professor, arranged a tour of the Harvard Mark I computer. Russell turned to the then new field of computers after getting his math major from Dartmouth College in 1958.

In the early 1960s, Russell joined the MIT Artificial Intelligence Project, where he worked on the development of the LISP programming language with John McCarthy. While at the MIT he was introduced to the PDP-1 and, inspired by science fiction movies and books, he went on to conceive Spacewar with fellow students Martin Graetz and Wayne Wiitanen.

After leaving MIT, Russell continued to work for universities as a programmer, first for Harvard and later for Stanford's Artificial Intelligence Lab. He then went on to work for a number of technology companies including DEC and two Silicon Valley video game startups.

Last updated: May 08, 2014