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Example with a context (Object-Oriented Design in Java by Bill Mccarty and Stephen Gilbert (1998)):

Stephen Gilbert teaches computer science at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA. Steve saw his first computer play tic-tac-toe in the summer of 1960 and wanted one of his own ever since. When he purchased his first machine, a VIC-20 (which he subsequently trained to play an unbeatable game), his life took a sudden turn after years spent as a carpenter, chicken picker, and offset press operator.

What does computer play mean exactly?

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Not (computer play) but (...computer) (play...) . "Play" here is a verb, not a noun.

You connected the words wrong:

Steve saw (his first computer) (play tic-tac-toe) (in the summer of 1960) (and wanted....).

The computer could have played Pong, Tetris or something else, too.

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