Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The history of computer games, part 2 1980 - 1990

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 emerge and how did they evolve ?

Because the home computer became more and more popular hobbyists could now create their own simple games allowing for a burst in games. two of the earliest games of this age were Donkey Kong and Pacman. Pacman is an arcade game developed by Namco. it was so well received that up to this date it's the highest grossing game. Everyone has seen it and unofficially became the face of video games at that time.

Donkey kong however started off as a game for players with poor results but it was such a breakthrough for nintendo that it also became one of the best selling arcade games. in 1981 universal studio's decided to sue Nintendo over Donkey kong because it would have been a copy. However Nintendo's lawyer named Howard Lincoln discovered that universal studio's didn't own the copyright neither. Universal studio's ended up not only losing the lawsuit but they also had to pay legal costs.

Because video games development made such a sprint
in innovation and releases new genre's and title's
appeared. A few well known title's are: Battlezone(1980)
,Zelda(1986) and Galaxian(1989)

1992 Wolfenstein

developed by Id software became a breakthrough for puzzle shooter games. 3D flat shaped 3DGraphics, simple textures were something new. Apogee also released the first episode ( 10 levels) as shareware making everyone play it for free and giving the player the choice to purchase the rest of the episode. This is a marketing trick still used today.

1992 Dune II

In 1992 Westwood released Dune II. It wasn't the first RTS but did pretty much set the standard for RTS games such as warcraft / command and conquer. Several new elements in this game were:
A World map where you can choose your own missions, resource gathering,  mobile units that could be changed to buildings, different factions and a mouse that changes  depending on what it's located on.

1996 Diablo

In 1996 Blizzard entertainment decided to release Diablo. It pretty much set the standard for point and click RPG's and sold over 2.5 million copies. World wide it recieved near perfect scores.

1997 Goldeneye 007/ half-life

1997 was an important year in the games industry. several big titles were released and 2 of them battle each other claiming to have had the most influence on FPS to come ( after). Goldeneye developed by rare was originally going to be an on rail shooter however they decided to redesign most of it to become a free roam FPS. with the redesign also came a few new elements not seen before such as: The sniper rifle scope that can zoom, stealth and multi player deathmatches on consoles Howe
ver people also claim for Half-Life ( a game i personally favor) to have had the most influence. Half-life, made by Valve had no new elements of game play but it got over 50 pc game of the year awards and sold a total of 20 million copies proving it to be a great game ( More on Half-life in a future blog)

1997 final fantasy 7 

Squaresoft which is now Square enix released Final fantasy 7 in 1997 as well. Originally square only released their games for nintendo but because the nintendo 64 sticked to cartridges instead of discs causing it to have a lot less storage space Square decided to move over to Sony & PC. Final Fantasy 7 became a breakthrough and enhanced the popularity of RPG's in the west.

So in the 20 years there has been a massive increase in performance causing the graphics and game play to improve and making games into a proper industry. especially when 3D games became popular the amount of games but also the costs of games became more. Consoles weren't being created for 1 specific game only and there were only a few competitors on the console market ( Nintendo, Sony and Sega).  Also the fact that more and more people had a personal computer at home helped the industry to grow. It's funny because several days ago i was thinking back to what my dad used to say back when i was six years old. he said that we were going into a "Computer era" which sounded very impressive by the time. especially considering i tough you had to be either really rich or lucky to have a computer ( most of my friends didn't had one yet) and here we are today everyone has it's own computer and often one or several consoles either an Iphone or Android phone.

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