Sunday, 6 November 2011

A History of Computer Games: Part 1 - 1950s - 1970s

Before the time when video games and and the game industry didn't milk the shit out of consumers with DLC and rehashes, existed a time where video games were nothing more than fun with a few bright lines and shapes on a black screen.

During the 1950s, games such as OXO, a tic-tac-toe game and Tennis for Two, a two player tennis game were created. 'OXO' was created by Alexander S Douglas and is often deemed the first video game invented but was created for a computer that was unique to Cambridge called the EDSAC and as a result, did not spread far at all.
'Tennis for Two' was created by William Higinbotham and is a two player game of tennis (hence the name) with both players using a box shape controller. It was dismantled in 1959 but would be suceeded by 'Pong' later on in the years to.

In 1961 Spacewar! was made by a group of student at MIT for a new computer during that time. This game was later made into a coin operated arcade machine in the 1970s and influenced many other games later to come such as Galaxy Game.

In 1966, plans were being made by Ralph Baer and Bill Harrison on what would allegedly become the first console. They were involved with projects such as creating a light gun and so it must have been pretty ground breaking for its time to be able to simulate shooting a gun at home without using the real thing! Three years later, the first console ever was being shown to manufacturers.

In the 1972, Atari was formed and Pong machines was later created by them. The success of Pong was jumped on by many imitators and the amount of different Pong machines made was ridiculous

Here is a video that gives a good idea of how many were created :p.

In the same year the Magnavox Odyssey was a console that used cartridges. The cartridges were used with circuit jumpers and enabled different kind of games to be played using the same system. Coloured plastic sheets could be overlayed onto the TV screen to 'allow colour' to your game.

In 1977 there was a huge video game crash as Pong machine manufacturers and consoles were being sold at a loss and greatly affected the video game industry of it's time. Only Atari and Magnavox remained in the scene. It wasn't until 1978 when Space Invaders by Taito invaded the the industry's gap and secured the way for the golden age of old school gaming. Taito's Space Invaders was later licensed by Atari and boosted it's sales considerably, recovering from the earlier losses of the crash of 1977. With the success of the Atari 2600, video games once again found themselves within the homes of the consumers.

Looking back, video games have come a long way and has evolved at an amazing rate. With all the advancements and innovative designs being made with software and hardware, I'm excited to see what surprises the industry have in store for us in the future.
Although, I hope it doesn't involve using shitty remotes that don't work as well as they're supposed to... ^_~

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