History of Video Games

Published: 2019-05-14 14:45:41
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Video games are also referred to as computer games or electronic games. Video games are any type of an interactive game displayed on a screen of an electronic device like a computer, tablet, mobile phone or television. Video game started in the 1950s but they were made public in the later years. Throughout the years they have become a common form of recreation and are used in almost all the parts of the world. People of different social classes have embraced them and are playing them when tired to get refreshed and also to get entertained. This paper will examine the history of video games in details, the changes that have occurred in the marketplace up to date.


The ancient forms of computer games did not emerge as computer games. This is because all the computers were used for more serious business like research and for academic purposes. By then computers were only used in the world super power countries like the United States. Also, computer uses were limited to certain purposes as mentioned above and so one could not use a computer to design a video game. However, while using computers for research in programs which could incorporate electronics and display, the users were able to develop computer games, though the research wasnt meant for development of computer games. Even after the invention of video games, they did not pick up immediately. This is because only large organizations could afford computers, reason being that computers were expensive to purchase and maintain, consuming a lot of power and being expensive to repair. They were only used in big organizations but for business purposes and not for games.

First Generation computer Games

The first computer game cannot be traced since at the time computer games were not taken seriously. However, some games which were traced include Bertie the Brain created in the year 1950, Nimrod created in 1951, OXO created by A.S. Douglas in the year 1952, Hutspiel created in 1955 and NSS chess program created in 1958. In the 1960s, a video game which acted as an inspiration to university students was created, it was called spacewar. The game was distributed nationally and spread to all university laboratories. It was quite influential and was widely available for the public to access. The game also attracted other creation from university students and this led to development of more games. However, spacewar wasnt used for home entertainment due to the expenses which could be incurred while transforming the program.

One of the most important people in the computer game history is Nolan Bushnell. He acted as the intermediary between the two worlds of computer development. After completing his degree in computer engineering, Nolan interacted with spacewar and created a more advanced game which he called computer space. In the game, the players role is to control a spaceship and try to destroy two hardware-controlled flying saucers before they tear him down. The video game however did not sell much since it was complicated to play and was also expensive. The only people who embraced it were the university students because it was available in the laboratories.

In the 1970s more developments in the industry were witnessed. The first home console system was developed. This system was the first real video game where images could be seen and controlled as a person played the game. It was a creation of Ralph Bear. He called his creation Magnavox Odyssey which he released in the year 1972. This program recorded some sells but not the ones that bear and his team wanted. This disappointed him so much that he wanted to give up. However he didnt give up but continued with his work, only to produce another system which did not also sell to his expectations.

In the late 1970s modern computer games were developed. These games were referred to as arcade video games. The first arcade video game to be released and sold successfully was called pong. It was create by Bushnell and Dabney. They made so many sales that attracted imitations from other people and companies. In 1975 another significant move was made. A game called gun fight was released. The creator of the game was called Taito. The game was the first one to use a microprocessor. These games used the minicomputers.

Moreover, there were other computer games which were developed by university students using the Mainframe computers. The games did not sell much since the students were only doing so for fun and curiosity. However there are two notable systems which were developed during this time by students. These included the Plato system and the DECUS. These systems distributed computer programs including computer games.

Second Generation computer Games

The second generation of video games started in the year 1977 through to1983. This period composed of the following developments. The developers organized a system where video games could be found on cartridges which could enable the users to access the game without buying different software to connect on their TV set as they used to do before. Also, the users could access a wide range of games from the games cartridges.

Developments of computer games also continued in the later years. Significant advancements were made on the computers and software which could better computer games was invented. Significant sales made by the inventors attracted more people to join in invention, either new things or by imitating the previous production. For example in 1978 Taito released space invaders , which sold so well that it attracted other people to imitate or produce totally new games. This game also saw sell of arcade machine in shopping malls and so forth. Moreover the game became subject of discussions in many television stations and the media as a whole. Many people made it their hobby. The game brought huge profits to the inventors and revenue to the country. This period was referred to as the golden age of arcade video games. During this generation also, another game referred to as Asteroids was released by Atari. It was favorably accepted in the market as it recorded great sales. This increased the sale of the arcade machine. Also, color games were introduced and sold well. The sale of all these games brought profits to the inventors and revenue to the government. Computer games were doing so well that they were performing better than the Hollywood movies and the music industry in terms of performance in relation to the revenue they were bringing.

In the 1980s significant occurrences which affected the field of computer games also took place. Firstly, more games were developed and released to the market. These included the legend of Zelda, dragon slayer 2: Xanadu, Zork, Karateka, the Akalabeth, Dragon Warrior, Karate Champ, Golden Axe, Astron Belt, Space Panic, Donkey Kong and Jump Bug among others. Congo Bongo which was released by Sega was the first isometric plat former. Zaxxon on the other hand was the first to use isometric projection. Also, a visual novel was produced by the Japanese in 1983 called the portopia serial murder case.

Computer games during this time affected even the economies of the countries. In the United States for example the games were widely sold. The market also expanded to the other continents like Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Most of the games were advertised and sold aggressively, which ensured better sales of the games. Atari was selling well America and Europe while Sinclair, Amstrad and Acorn were popular in Africa and Europe. Sharp offerings were known and used only in Asia while the MSX was used in North America, South America, and Asia and in Europe. Commodore, Atari and Apple were popular in the United States and in Europe.

At that time also, a ZX Spectrum was produced by Sinclair and released in the UK. This game picked up very fast and spread to the entire Europe. This was because of the ease of playing the game and also the way the clones were produced fast. IBM PC was also invented. This was color enabled and this made it more marketable. Later, Apple Macintosh was invented but was not color enabled. After that they released MAC II which had color capabilities. The color property helped to raise the sales of the games. Sound properties were also incorporated into the games and made the games more appealing and attractive.

Atari ST and Amiga arrived later marking a beginning of a new era where bigger machines were used. They were expensive to acquire at first so many people werent using them. After some time IBM PC introduce cheaper machines which were colored and had all the properties needed. This saw many people acquire the machines and access the games. The two games were excellent but they did not last for long.

The issue of poor sound was then addressed by the machines which followed. Dedicated sound cards were produced and this ensured that the poor sound thing was addressed and better thing produced. Their cost however was devastating and this made them not to be widely used until later years. Their success was witnessed after some years when they were accepted, bought and used.

Third Generation computer Games

The third generation of computer games also had significant developments. First, Nintendo released an eight bit console called Famicom. The game was offered in different packages which were released differently, each after undergoing some advancement from the previous one. Examples of these packages are the action and the Deluxe set. The games were becoming easier to play and less expensive to afford. During this period, the package which was the most successful was the NES, which remained popular until it was out done in the next generation. Nintendo had the following shortcomings; first, it was much expensive in maintenance because the machines were very costing. Secondly, it could not accommodate the marketplace competition because there were some other new models that were better and more affordable.

The following generation had its own developments. New innovations and inventions were made thus making the computer games easier to play and access. Arcade games declined during this time. The decline was because of the rising interest in home gaming. Also the expenses incurred in maintaining the Arcade games led to their decline.

Video games were better most all after the invention of the 3D graphics. Handheld gaming was adopted and used by many people. The significant developments which took place during this time include acceptance and wide use of 3D polygon graphics, high budget games and increased number of members in each production team.

It is during this period that Game boy was released by Nintendo. This game included some puzzles and stayed for so long in the market. The game dominated the market until recently when Play Station Portable was invented and released.

Fourth Generation Computer Games

This generation was comprised of stiff competition between the many computer game companies that had come up. The companies were trying to put up with the intense market production of quality games in order to please and serve the interests of their consumers. Nintendo, Sega and Mega Drive are some of the companies which were trying their best to survive in the market. Mega Drive started by producing first, it was then followed by Nintendos SNES which was followed by TurboGrafx-16.

In thus generation CD-ROM drives were introduced. The companies continued to compete, such that if one releases a new video game the others would respond by producing their own versions. This generation had the following advantages: firstly, the games produced were of high quality since the companies were striving to produce the best game. Secondly, the games were chap since no company wanted to lose their clients and consumers due to high cost. Thirdly, the companies produced readily acc...


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