Media Artefact: Video Games (Evolution of Video Game Graphics) By: Brandon Di Biasio
First Off: The 5 W’s Who: John Bennett came up with the initial idea to create a video game What: The video game was titled “Nimrod Computer Game” When: 1952 Where: London Why: To show at an exhibit
Why are video games played? People usually play video games to entertain themselves, to relieve stress, to distract themselves from real world issues, to relax, etc. Throughout the 60-70 years video games have been here, they have opened up many jobs that can earn you a good living (ex: Script writing, concept artist, graphics designer, game tester, Youtuber, Twitch streamer, etc). Throughout the years, video games have also been upgraded to look even better than ever. I will be showing some eras of video games and showing how they improved on recent games made by the company or the games of the recent era.
What was the first video game made? Although the first video game made is believed to be Pong (made in 1972), this isn’t true. The first game was actually called “Nimrod Computer Game”
1st ever video game. Nimrod Computer Game is the first game ever made and was made in 1952. The goal of the game seems unclear but the graphics simply look a little bit like a computer program.
Tennis for Two Another video game that was believed to be the first is similar to Pong (Playing a game of tennis), but has vastly different graphics. In this, it is a side-view of a tennis court, which is represented by blue lines and tennis ball that is a blue ball.
The 1st real era: (Arcade Games) In 1972, Pong was made by Atari. Pong is simply a game where you have to hit the ball back to the other side by controlling a white rectangle. The goal is to make sure your opponent doesn’t save the ball, similar to a tennis game.
1st era (continued) Another game following this format is called “Space Race” and was also made by Atari in 1973. The object of the game is to bring your ship from the bottom to the top of the screen without being hit. In the example, you’ll see that there has been a subtle improvement, which is that there is more happening on the screen than there is in Pong.
1st era (continued) Another example is a game titled “Galaxians” and was released in 1979 by Namco. The goal of this game is to survive waves of enemies shooting at you by shooting back at them with your spaceship, similar to the game “Space Invaders”. The graphical improvement with this is that it was the first arcade game to introduce color. Many games looked like they had color, but were actually faked by overlays.
2nd era: 8-bit games The next era to talk about are 8-bit games. 8-bit refers to the amount of information that a processor can place and register, which was improved from the older arcade games by having home consoles. (ex:Nintendo Entertainment System or “NES”)
8-bit games (Donkey Kong) “Donkey Kong” is a game that is arguably the first 8-bit game and it was released in 1981 by Nintendo. The object was simply to save the girl that Donkey Kong captured by avoiding certain obstacles and climbing ladders. This game is also known as the first platformer game and the first game where Mario is introduced.
8-bit games (Super Mario Bros) Next, is Super Mario Bros, which is the most popular platformer game and has the most iconic character. This was released in 1985 by Nintendo. In this, you just go through levels to save the princess at the end. This game has many improvements from Donkey Kong, some examples being that there are a lot more enemies or obstacles on each screen, there are more stages to be played, etc.
3rd era: 16-bit games The next era is 16-bit games. 16-bit improves on 8-bit because it can hold and process more information, allowing a lot more detail and a lot more to appear on screen
16-bit games (Mortal Kombat 2) Mortal Kombat 2 was released in 1993 by Midway. It is an action fighting game including a wide roster of characters. The graphics of Mortal Kombat look more improved than many of the 8-bit games and has a lot of animations that it can do, because of all the different characters and all the moves you can perform.
16-bit games (Mega Man X) Another 16-bit game is Mega Man X. This was released in 1993 by Capcom. The objective of Mega Man X (and many of the other Mega Man games) is to take down bosses in many stages to make Mega Man stronger by obtaining new weapons in order to defeat the final boss. This game shows immense improvement in graphics compared to the old Mega Man and 8-bit games and has a lot going on on the screen
16-bit games (Super Metroid) Super Metroid was released in 1994 by Nintendo. In Super Metroid, The player controls Samus Aran, in search for the antagonist Ridley. This game shows huge graphical improvements to the game that came before it and offers more in terms of gameplay mechanics
The final era: 3D games Arguably the most important improvement in games, the graphical improvement made video games 3-Dimensional, allowing for a lot of different concepts and ideas to be made into a reality. Many of the 3D games ended up turning into series, so most of the examples will be about a series.
3D games (Tomb Raider Series) The first Tomb Raider game was released in 1996. Throughout the series, the publishing company has changed twice. From 1996-2009 it was Eidos Interactive and from 2010-Now it is Square Enix. The Tomb Raider Series has you playing as the protagonist Lara Croft, who searches for lost artifacts. At first, Lara croft had a very polygonal player model, which has improved massively as time went on, and so has the graphics of the worlds you play in.
3D games (Bloodborne) Bloodborne released in 2015 by the company From Software. The story of Bloodborne is very confusing, so it will take a long time to explain if I were to. The graphics of Bloodborne improves a lot based on the games that came before it by this company (examples include: Dark Souls, Demon Souls), mostly in the world design.
3D games (God Of War) The first God of War game was released in 2005 by Santa Monica Studios and Ready at Dawn. To put the plot simply, the Gods of Olympus have betrayed Kratos (the main protagonist of the series), so he seeks vengeance against them. The most recent addition to the series has Kratos in Norse mythology, so it has a completely different plot. Over the 13 years, the player model design for Kratos has generally stayed the same, but improves graphically, along with the world design. Especially the most recent game, having breathtaking graphics and insane attention to detail.
Bibliography Research: https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200810/physicshistory.cfm https://www.siliconrepublic.com/play/video-game-graphics-evolution https://www.wired.com/2010/06/replay/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Race_(video_game) https://www.everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1185238 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Mario_Bros. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mega_Man_X_(video_game)#Gameplay https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_Raider Videos (Order of Appearance): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2E9iSQfGdg https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0eBUoY6W8BY&t=21s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=op2Q-IOcXh0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcqHmN0Jh0M&t=20s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrBKtNZp5mE