We humans love playing games. We’ve been doing it for all of recorded history. From the Ancient Egyptians to the Roman Empire, through to modern day, playing games is a way for us to have fun, socialize, and channel our natural competitive energies.

Today, video games are the most popular choice, with a wide variety of genres available for players to choose from.

However, among the Fortnite, Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and Harvest Moon players, there are some that prefer to play older traditional titles.

But what’s the oldest game you can play on a computer?

Spacewar!

You might think that the oldest game you can play on a computer is the first computer game ever created. That record belongs to Spacewar!, a multiplayer title created by academics at MIT in April 1962. It ran on an old computer called the PDP-1, but today you can run it inside your browser thanks to the Internet Archive’s preserved version.

Despite being the oldest video game ever made, Spacewar! is not the oldest title by quite a long way.

Poker

Poker is one of the world’s most popular card games. It is played informally in people’s homes, in card rooms, casinos, and at major international tournaments. For more than two decades, people have also been able to play it online through their computers and later their smartphones and tablets.

While not currently available everywhere, fans of the game can play online poker in Pennsylvania and several other US states, as well as many European countries.  The first record of it being played in the United States was in 1837, however, it was brought to the New World by Europeans who had played it before then.

Most historians believe it is a descendant of a Persian game known as As-Nas which can be traced back as far as the 17th century.  At around 400 years old, poker is much older, but it still doesn’t come close to being the oldest.

Chess

Chess, like poker, is an incredibly popular game that is enjoyed in a range of different ways. The internet allows chess masters to challenge each other without being in the same room and they can even spread their game over several days by making a move and coming back to it later.

It is more than three times as old as poker. Historians believe it to be the descendant of an Indian board game called chaturanga. It is at least 1,500 years old, but there are some suggestions that it could be older than that.

Checkers

If you’re unfamiliar with the games, checkers and chess may appear to be the same game at first glance. They both use a board with a grid and have players move pieces between them.

However, checkers are distinct because each counter is worth the same, unlike in chess. This means it requires much less strategic thinking and it is easier to learn and master.

It is at least 5,000 years old, with early boards from Ancient Egypt currently found in the British Museum.

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