From the commercial birth of video games in the 1950s up until today’s day and age, it would be an understatement to say little has changed. Video game technology is becoming more advanced and created entirely new gaming platforms from mobile gaming to VR (Virtual Reality). For nearly over 70 years we have had video games to help us get through those boring days. So, let’s see exactly how far video games have come since their invention.
In the 1950s computer scientists started by designing simple games for IBM computers. Students and professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology started playing all kinds of games, such as 3D Tic-Tac-Toe, Pong (a tennis game), and Moon Landing. It was a decade later in 1967 when the first gaming system for commercial use emerged. Ralph Bear together with his team designed their prototype the “Brown Box”. The prototype represented a tube-circuit that could be connected to the television and allowed two users to control tubes that chased each other on the screen. Other games that could be played on the “console” were ping pong, checkers, a target shooting game, and a golf putting game.
Arcade Video Games
Sega and Taito were one of the first-ever companies to grab the public attention and interest in arcade gaming with the release of two electromechanical games “Periscope” (shooting game) and “Crown Special Soccer” in the late 1960s. In the 1970s, Atari began selling the first real electronic video game “Pong” and arcade machines began emerging nearly everywhere from bars to bowling alleys and shopping malls. The first-ever multiplayer game became a reality in 1973 with the game “Empire” – a strategic turn-based game that could be played by up to 8 players. Taito released the arcade classic “Space Invaders” in 1978, a fixed shooter game where the player controls a laser cannon from the bottom of the screen and firing at the incoming spaceships. The period between 1978 up until 1982 is known as the golden period of video games as more than 15 companies began to develop video games for the new and expanding market. Technological advancements, such as the world’s first microprocessor by Intel, led to the creation of games such as the arcade game “Gunfight”, the first multiplayer human-to-human combat shooter. The technique of using one joystick to control movement and the other to shoot was something that was never before seen.
Alongside the rapid development of home computers in the 1980s, gaming became even more popular. In 1977, Atari released its first console the Atari VCS or otherwise known as Atari 2600. However, as people were still getting used to the idea of coloured TV’s in their homes, sales were low. The console had one detail that changed a lot of things – a game cartridge. The potential of this was quickly discovered by programmers around the world and the mass production of many video games began. Game classics such as “Frogger”, “Space Invaders”, “Donkey Kong” and “Pac-Man” were being distributed through all kinds of channels. Developers printed the game source code in books and magazines, which allowed users to type the code for themselves and play. Games were also distributed by the physical mailing and selling of floppy disks, cassettes, and ROM cartridges.
Nintendo released several important video games for the industry, such as “Super Mario Bros.”, “The Legend of Zelda”, and “Metroid”. In 1989, Nintendo made a new era again by popularizing handheld gaming with the release of its 8-bit Game Boy video game device and the game Tetris. More and more consoles began to arise. One of Nintendo’s biggest competitors on the market, Sega, released its Genesis console in 1989 and its famous Sonic the Hedgehog game in 1991 while Nintendo released the Super NES console launching the first “console war.” Newer franchises came to the market such as “Street Fighter II” and “Mortal Kombat”.
Modern Age of Gaming
Since the 2000s the Internet has had a major impact on the video game industry as possibilities expanded immensely. The development of new games and the improvement of old ones started with rapid speed. Consoles connected to the Internet were the norm, and home gaming became extremely popular.
Online game stores for both console and computer-based games helped ease gamers and gave quick and easy access to millions of games. The rise of mobile games has peaked also over the last decade with the huge distribution of mobile smartphones. Today virtual reality games are becoming more and more advanced and “fake” reality is becoming more realistic as newer games are being produced.
With the rapid advancement of technology in today’s digitalized world, who knows what video games will look like in the future. However, one thing is for sure, only better things are to come. So, get ready for what the future of the video game industry will have to offer us!