Many gamers who are currently involved in battling their way through a first-person shooter game or have problems solving a complicated mission in an adventure-based video game, may have problems imagining what the first video games looked like.
Even though only half a century has passed since the invention of the first games, the technology and the quality of video games has improved so much that the differences are astonishing.
However, the progress of gaming can be traced through some of the most important events that happened over the years, and fast as it may be – the evolution of gaming can still be “dissected” into small pieces.
The ancestors of gaming consoles and video games did not resemble the machines and software that we have today, not even a little bit, but the basic concept was the same – to provide entertainment and to “kill some free time”. Admittedly, the first computers were solely focused on research, but creative minds have found a way around this, and the games started to appear in the 1950s and 60s.
This period saw the rise of computer technology, and the machines that were once rare and giant could now be found in universities, corporations, and research facilities. As a matter of fact, a “guy” from MIT, called Steve Russell, created one of the first commercial video games ever, and his game called “Space war!” appeared in 1962.
However, gaming could not prosper and thrive if it wasn’t available to millions of people in their homes, and things started to move in this direction in the late 1960s. Ralph Baer created the first gaming system for home use, and this machine was first known as “Brown Box”, but later the name was changed to “Magnavox Odyssey.”
Ping-pong and some similar style games could be played on these gaming consoles, but the foundation of Atari in 1972 was another step forward in the evolution of electronic gaming. Nolan Bushnell founded the company, and games like “Pong” or “Space Invaders” became a symbol of American culture of the 1970s and 80s.
Arcade gaming was tremendously popular at that time, and the boom in popularity saw the birth of well-known gaming magazines and publications as well.
The availability of personal computers was the next big step forward, and video games experienced a giant increase in popularity when machines like Commodore 64 or Apple II appeared on the market.
Nintendo and Sega were also highly influential in the late 80s and during the 90s, but Windows95 and the Internet revolution changed the face of gaming forever. Multiplayer games added another dimension to playing video games, and the excitement and entertainment levels were boosted to the max.
Popular titles from the late 90s and the start of the 2000s, such as Quake or Doom, perfectly illustrate the trend of that time, i.e. the desire to be connected with friends and play video games together but not by being in the same room. Mobile gaming is the next step, and we just have to wait and see what kind of changes will this new revolution bring to the world of video games.