60’s Natural Gas Pipeline Computer Retires to Play Games

60’s Natural Gas Pipeline Computer Retires to Play Games

Computer gaming has come a very long way since the 1960s. While computers of that era may not run Doom or anything even close to it, many of us had our first exposure to computers playing Hunt the Wumpus, Adventure, or Star Trek over a clackety old TeleType machine. If you missed those days, or if you simply miss them, you might enjoy the video from [somecomputerguy] who fires up an old retired gas pipeline computer and load enough paper tape into it to play Lunar Lander. (Video embedded below.)


We don’t miss the days of toggling in a bootloader so you could load the paper tape for a second bootloader before you could enter the actual program you wanted to run.

The SEL 810A wasn’t a very well known computer compared to a DEC or Data General computer. The company was bought by Gould and later bought by Encore. The computer was actually very advanced for its day, providing an all IC-based 16-bit computer. Some parts of the company still exist as part of Compro.


As for the Lunar Lander game, those were typically a very simple model of something falling at a particular G force. You used limited fuel to counteract gravity. A successful landing was one that hit the ground at a relatively slow speed. Later versions would include moving right and left to hit a target and even some crude graphics. However, the version you see on the video has been around on many computers, including the HP-41C.