The Evolution ofVideo Games By Jacob T. Sloan
Early Beginnings • The “videogame” was first developed in 1951, by Ralph Baer. • At this time his boss had asked him to develop “the best television set in the world”. • His solution was a television which would allow interaction on the part of the viewer in the form of games, so he began work on prototypes. • As such he is accredited with their creation. • In 1947, however, Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann developed a simulator of sorts that depicted WWII missiles being shot at eight different targets. • This would be credited as the first inception of video gaming, but at the time video games were defined by the display being some form of television set, as opposed to the Cathode Ray Tubes on which the missile simulator was displayed on.
Even More Beginnings • The first “official” (as in obeying the given definition) game was made in 1961 by 3 MIT students. • It was known as Space War. • It was discovered by accident, when the students were trying to create a game involving two spaceships shooting at one another. They discovered that when their debugger ran it made little dots display on the screen. Which worked fine for them as they felt it accurately depicted space. • In 1966 the “Chase Game” came out, on it two squares would chase each other around the screen. • In May of 1972 the Magnavox Odyssey came out, later in November of that same year the Atari came out. And thus PONG was born.
From Simple to Complex(Really Quickly Too!) • During the 1970’s and since, games have begun to advance in complexity really fast. • Games depicting worlds completely with text, such as Star Trek, Hunt the Wumpus and Adventure. • Even Games that depicted a 3D world. (Yes, 3 Dimensions, displayed in first person perspective, the first game with avatars representing the players and it featured networking too I might add)
Games Systems for You and Me • Later several game systems would be created in a manner that allowed for different games to be played on the same system, the idea was revolutionary and everyone in the field had the same idea. • Atari 2600 • Intellivision • ColecoVision • Commodore 64 • At the same time as these some Atari members broke off and founded the first 3rd party game developer, Activision.
Crashes and Recovery • Like most new industries the gaming industry was plagued by crashes in its economy. • The first was in 1977. • The second was in 1983. • These were due to lack of popularity of some games and in some cases poor ideas on the parts of the designers. • In the case of the 1983 crash it was primarily influenced by Atari’s poorly conceived ET game and a record keeping error which resulted in the release of more Pac-Man games than there were consoles. • These crashes would result in the next generation of gaming, and the concept of “next-gen” as we know it today was developed as a preventive measure against stagnation and as a way to keep the industry alive.
The 3rd Generation • Most of us will at this point begin to recognize these consoles and companies. • Following the North American crash of 1983, a Japanese company decided to go international with its system, the Famicom. • This system is known outside of Japan as the Nintendo Entertainment System. • The games developed for this system also established another well known feature of games, franchises. • At the same time a company known as Sega released its Sega Master System.
Fallout • As a result of games being readily available in households around the world, arcades began to go out of business. • Another major event was the urge for “gaming on the go.” • During this time, the “Game & Watch” was released, followed by the Game Boy in 1989. • Nintendo’s Game Boy had competition from Sega’s Game Gear and Atari’s Lynx.
The Step to 3D(Haven’t we done this before?) • The step to 3D was a rocky one, shortly after the Super Nintendo was released Nintendo wanted something more. They began working with Sony to develop the SNES-CD. They eventually decided that they wanted to stick with cartridges and Sony decided they were going to use the research for their own system. • Atari Jaguar • Sega Saturn • Sony Playstation • Nintendo 64
Next-gen • In 1998 Sega released the first of the Sixth Generation consoles, the Dreamcast. • Two years later Sony releases the PS2, which signs the demise of the Dreamcast due to its inbuilt DVD player. • In 2001 the Nintendo GameCube came about supporting Optical Mini-disks instead of the standard CD or DVD. • That same year Microsoft released the Xbox. • The flop of the Dreamcast forced Sega into retreating as a console developer and becoming solely a game developer. • The lack in sales of the Gamecube did not deter Nintendo, however, they immediately began work on their next system.
Next-gen Again • The current generation is that of the Xbox 360, the PS3, and the Wii. • The Wii has become the best selling gaming system worldwide in history. • The PS3 was predicted to be the flop of this generation with its debut price of over $600, but has since lowered the price and has managed to keep the majority of its fanbase. • The Xbox360 currently is the best selling system in America, but unfortunately its sales in America are almost equal to its sales internationally. • This generation has just begun, and all three competitors seem to be doing well, who knows who will “win” this generation? Only time will tell.
References • http://www.pong-story.com/intro.htm • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_video_game • http://zip-zapgames.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/pong.png • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_video_games • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_2600 • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ColecoVision • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellivision • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_Entertainment_System • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wii • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xbox_360 • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PlayStation_3