While the 1950s are the years when computer really began to accelerate, the origins of computers go back even further than that. Some of the most well-known examples of early computers are the ones that were developed and used in the Second World War. During the early 20th century, World War II was a huge driving force between the development of technology and huge steps forward were made, but it was still at least a decade before the first games began to emerge.
Before that could happen, there were several more steps that technology had to take. The first was the ability to store programs. Previously, programming would have had to be entered manually into the machine. The ability to store programs not only made the process of using computers much faster, it allowed easier editing and refining of programs.
The mid 1950s saw the construction of the mitt tx-0, an experimental computer built at the Lincoln Laboratory. It was notable because it was created for use by students, whereas previously computers had been used exclusively by businesses for number crunching, and to eliminate human error in calculations. This sudden availability of computers outside of the business world was the second big step; the majority of games for the next few decades would not be made by specialist companies, but by individual hobbyists or small groups with a shared enthusiasm for computing. Therefore, it’s no coincidence that the pioneers of the first games almost all had some connection to universities where the machines were available.