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by Kirik

The Evolution of Video Games

Video games have come a long way since the mid-twentieth century when they were invented. Today, video games dominate the entertainment sector as one of the most profitable ventures with billions recorded in revenue each year.

Date:   6/22/2020 1:00:13 PM   ( 18 mon ) ... viewed 736 times

Video games have come a long way since the mid-twentieth century when they were invented. Today, video games dominate the entertainment sector as one of the most profitable ventures with billions recorded in revenue each year. In fact, the games have become so popular that franchises like Tomb Raider and The Witcher have been transformed into films, or free slots for fun, to break the bounds of just how much they can entertain. Video games have gone through a significant revolution over the years to become the force of nature it has become today.

The Tic-Tac-Toe Program

Back in the 1950s and 60s, access to computer technology was a luxury that was left for serious work and not play. These machines were still relatively new technology having been invented in the Second World War by the Allied Forces to aid on their defeat of the Axis side. The version of computers used then were reprogrammed and used by big companies like IBM and Remington Rand to undertake various tasks. Universities saw the golden opportunity to adopt the technology as well, which laid grounds for the creation of the first-ever video games.

Turochamp, which was a chess computer program, was the very first game produced for use on these devices in 1950. However, it did not run entirely on automated programs and was never fully implemented on computers. However, an electronic version of the game would pop up later that year as Bertie the Brain designed at Rogers Majestic. The following year saw an almost similar creation dubbed Nimrod at the Festival of Britain. Even though these two games were fully electronic, they did not incorporate a monitor. This lack was met by the tic-tac-toe program that went by the name OXO in 1952. The game was like checkers, and it is the first video game in history to have used graphics.

The Birth of Entertaining Games

Even though OXO is considered the first video game, it was developed as a way to showcase the power of the computer rather than provide entertainment to users. William Higinbotham was the first creator of a video game indulgent, which went by the name Tennis for Two. In 1958, the game was displayed at the Brookhaven’s annual series where it operated in an analogue computer. 

However, the computer technology at the time was still not advanced enough to support gaming, which made Tennis for Two an impractical venture. The game was dismantled a year later, and the machines were reserved for academic investments before they could adopt the mechanics to support entertainment.

The Mainframe Age

Bach processing machines defined the computers of the fifties, which means that they did not have much memory or speed to go by. At this time, the technology was also expensive and limited to one or only a few universities and companies. Therefore, they were only used to further studies and company initiatives without a thought to them supporting an entertaining venture. 

The situation changed when a team of students at MIT created a computer with a more reliable RAM that allowed it to process commands in real-time. The new gadget was introduced to MIT in 1958 and allowed users to play around with interactive programming. Students were also granted access to it to study. This led to the creation of the first video game, Spacewar, that was relatively accessible to the public.

Spacewar was created around the stories of E. E. Smith, which pitted two spaceships against each other. The game was played by two players who controlled the movement of each ship using a control box. The game became a sensation at the university and later at the east coast where one of the lading team members relocated to take up a job offer.

Commercialised Games

By the seventies, numerous advances had been made in the production of computers that made them significantly cheaper than when they were introduced. At the time, the average price for minicomputers was about 10,000 dollars. This amount was still too high for the average household to pay, but it became possible for the coin-operated game industry to be born. These computers were the centre of attraction in arcade centres where players had to slip in coins to activate games. The elaborate visuals and sounds used in these games were a significant step up from the dotted black and white images used in previous games. Some of the games that reigned high during this era include:

  • Periscope

  • Speedway

  • Pong

  • Space Race

  • Basketball

  • Gun Fight

  • Canyon Bomber

  • Space Invaders, etc.

However, in the mid-eighties, the video game industry collapsed due to the saturation of ball and paddle games. Several attempts were made to revive this era like introducing cocktail table cabinets in restaurants for the wealthy, but they did not take off. Most companies that dominated the industry at the time, such as Midway and Atari turned to a new genre of gaming, which introduced the game of racing and target shooting games.

The arcade industry revived itself in the late eighties with the entry of a new wave of games such as Galaxian, Donkey Kong, and Galaga. More than 200,000 games were pumped into the market by the Japanese industry as well. During this time, home computers became common, which also saw the rise of games like Pac-Man, Star Trek, and Frogger.

Online Gaming

The internet came into fruition in the mid-nineties, and it has changed how a lot of industries operate over time. The video game sector jumped on the online gaming train even before the internet was common among the public in 1983. The web opened game developers to a whole new world to explore from hyper-realistic visuals and multiplayer games. Today, online games dominate as the most played of all video games, most of which are supported by popular consoles like PlayStation and Xbox. Some of the current age games include:

  • Grand Theft Auto V

  • Fortnite

  • Minecraft

  • Spore

  • The Legend of Zelda

  • Overwatch

  • League of Legends

  • Red Dead Redemption, etc.

Bottom Line

Video games continue to evolve even today, but at a much larger scale than when they were first introduced. Players can expect so much more from the games in years to come, especially with the growing popularity of technology like VR and AR.

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