Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The history of computer games, part 1 1950 - 1970

Like most subjects studied going back to the origins of its subject is always a good idea.So for studying game-art where did this start off ? When did the first video game emergeand how did they evolve ?
To begin at the first sign of a true computer game (  Games on themselves existed far before this and would cover a whole new chapter) we would have to get back to 1958. Even though people have different opinions and arguments for what would be the first true video game I would personally acknowledge "Tennis for Two" as the first true video game.  It was produced by William Higinbotham and represented a by that time spectacular tennis match it was a machine the size of a Microwave oven had an oscilloscope as display with controllers. The reason for acknowledging this as the first video game rather than Spacewars ( 1962) is the fact it's the predecessor of pong. it had a clear win/los condition, graphics therefor making it a game and most important earlier in its time.

1962 - Spacewars !

In 1962 Stephen Russel at MIT developed a game called Spacewar. Unlike Tennis for Two you were a space ship trying to avoid the star in the middle and shoot the other player.  Both ships had fuel and ammo to take down the other while avoiding collision with the star and being hit
by the other.

1966 - Chase

Chase was a game made by Ralph Baer and Bill Harrison. the reason this was a breakthrough was because it used the television as display and a lightgun as controller. later on in 1968 they also brought table tennis and target shooting to their console.

1972 - Pong !

Still to date one of my favorite ( type ? ) of games came from 1973. Pong created by Bushnell and Dabney ( founders of Atari) . It was the first Arcade video game and became a great success. It was based on Table tennis and both players need to try and score and/or prevent the "ball" from slipping through. Due to its success Atari decided to bring a home version of pong in 1975 only sold in Sears retail stores. Because of this a lot of copies and variations of the game have been made and led to the birth of the video games industry.

1977 - Video games crash

In 1977 there was a video game crash. This was mostly due to all the obsolete game consoles ( mostly Pong clones) at prices that were below profit

1978 - Space invaders

After the video game crash in 1978 Taito released a game called Space invaders. this became a big success and caused arcade machine to be placed in more public places like shopping malls, restaurants and stores. Due to the success of Space invaders several other manufactures dared to enter the market leading to new and innovative games but more of that in the next chapter .

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