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Steve Russell


Steve Russell

Stephen Russell
Born 1937 (age 78–79)
Residence U.S.
Fields Computer science
Alma mater Dartmouth College
Known for Spacewar!, Lisp

Steve "Slug" Russell (born 1937) is an American computer scientist most famous for creating Spacewar!, one of the earliest video games.


  • Biography 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Russell wrote the first two implementations of Lisp for the IBM 704. It was Russell who realized that the concept of universal functions could be applied to the language. By implementing the Lisp universal evaluator in a lower-level language, it became possible to create the Lisp interpreter (previous development work on the language had focused on compiling the language).[1] He invented the continuation to solve a double recursion problem for one of the users of his Lisp implementation.[2]

In 1961, Russell created and designed Spacewar!, with the fellow members of the Tech Model Railroad Club at MIT, working on a DEC Digital PDP-1.[3]

The precise origin of the "concept" of computer-based games in general has been debated. Spacewar!, however, was unquestionably the first to gain widespread recognition, and it is generally recognized as the first of the "shoot-'em' up" genre.

Russell also provided technical support for Bill Gates and Paul Allen as they learned how to program computers.

See also


  1. ^ John McCarthy. "History of Lisp". 
  2. ^ "Steve "Slug" Russell". Computer History. 
  3. ^ Markoff, John (2002-02-28). "A Long Time Ago, in a Lab Far Away . . .".  

External links

  • The Dot Eaters entry on Russell and the development of Spacewar!
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