History of Video Games: How it Evolved?

History of Video Games: How it Evolved?

History of Video Games

History of Video Games: How it Evolved?

By Rupali Sharma

According to a saying, a generation which ignores history has neither past nor future. Therefore, we’ll try to comprehend the history of Video Games and how drastically the gaming industry has evolved.

Children enjoy video games because they prepare them for life, and adults enjoy them to escape reality. In recent decades, almost every aspect of life has moved into the digital world. As of 2021, there will be 3.24 billion players across the globe, whether on their mobile phones, their consoles or their computers. 

So, what’s the harm in knowing history? In this blog post, we’ll be talking about the evolution of video games from Arcades to Consoles. Let’s first start by knowing its early history.

Table of Contents

Beginnings (1948-1970)

Video games have a long history that stems from the evolution of computers. In 1950, computer scientists created Bertie the Brain, a tic tac toe game system, using electronic machines. In the past, these systems were mainly used as demonstration systems at large exhibitions to showcase the power of computers. Tennis for Two was another early demonstration, which used an analogue computer and an oscilloscope for its display. 

The first widely known video game that benefited from wide distribution was Spacewar. The PDP-1 mainframe computer was created in 1961. It allowed two players to simulate space combat on the PDP-1’s relatively simplistic monitor. As MIT students moved across the country, the source code of the game was shared with other institutions running PDP-1s.

Video Game Machine (1970s)

In the early 1970s, students played around with increasingly compact computer systems. Atari was established in 1972. In addition to dominating the video game industry over the next decade, this company also created the first-ever global hit game, Pong. As with its predecessor, Tennis for Two, Pong’s playing principle is very similar, and it couldn’t be easier. This game has the same instructions: ‘Avoid missing balls for high scores.’ In this game too, players try to hit a ball that is no more than a pixel over a line. Even though the idea for the game was not new, Atari integrated the computer and a display into a box with a coin slot, thus inventing the video game machine. For the first time, a video game was affordable for a wider audience.

It was with Space Invaders (1978) that the golden age of arcades began when teenagers in the 1980s gambled their pocket money away on video game machines. With Apple’s founding in 1976 and the creation of microprocessors before this, computer technology had advanced significantly. More than 30 million people bought the Atari 2600 home console launched in 1977, which was not restricted to just one game, thanks to interchangeable cassettes, but offered a theoretically unlimited number of games.

The games had very simple graphics and narratives. The game included levels, which became increasingly challenging as the game progressed, and points systems. A continuous rankings list proves a source of fame for players who attempt to beat the high score. As a result, simple games remained exciting over time.

Speed Breaker (1980s)

There are many classic games that can still be enjoyed today that came out in the 1980s, such as Pac-Man (1980), Ultima (1980), Mario Bros (1983), Tetris (1984) and SimCity (1989). The market was flooded with countless new consoles at the start of the decade as well as ever cheaper and more powerful home computers.

  • Video Game Crash (1983)

In 1983, the video game industry suffered a large-scale downturn, also known as Atari shock in Japan. The console market had collapsed. Several companies went bankrupt, including games pioneer Atari. Atari released E.T. (1982), still considered the worst video game of all time due to its crude graphics and complicated gameplay.

There were several factors contributing to the crash, including increased market saturation, flooded console market, loss of publishing control and poor quality games. Moreover, console games fell out of favor in favor of computer games.Commodore emerged from the ashes of the industry in 1982 with its Commodore 64 home computer, and Nintendo emerged in 1985 with the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES as it’s called.

With enhanced technologies, games moved into new realms; gameplay and graphics improved. The stories behind the games became more complex. This period gave rise to the majority of genres we know today. Even highly motivated users could program their own games for the Commodore 64. In the 1980s, children and teenagers spent hours in front of their computers or consoles, and with the release of the Game Boy, they continued playing well into the night by torchlight.

A New Perspective (1990s)

The games industry had grown up along with the first generation of players. In the second half of the decade, video games entered a new dimension, with their graphics becoming three-dimensional. Players could now move in three directions instead of two. The game worlds appeared more realistic and provided more complex gameplay options. 

As the market grew, console and game manufacturers competed for a piece. It was a quantum leap in terms of technology and graphics compared to the existing consoles when Sony released the PlayStation in 1994. More innovative ideas were coming from game studios, and history was often used as inspiration for gameplay: in Age of Empires (1997), gamers built entire civilizations, and in Command & Conquer (1995), they waged war. As part of Tomb Raider (1996), they sought historical artefacts with Lara Croft; in Monkey Island (1990), they sought pirate treasure.

Additionally, violence became increasingly a part of the gaming industry in the 1990s, in addition to gameplay action. ‘First-person shooters’ emerged in 1992 with Wolfenstein 3D. These games feature a player using a weapon to kill off his or her opponents from a first-person perspective. As a society, we began asking whether violence in video games leads to violence in real life. The debate continues to this day.

Games such as NH ’94,