In 1952, A.S. Douglas wrote his PhD degree at the University
of Cambridge on Human-Computer interaction. Douglas
created the first graphical computer game - a version of Tic-
Tac-Toe. The game was programmed on a EDSAC vacuum-tube
computer, which had a cathode ray tube display.
William Higginbotham created the first video game ever in
1958. His game, called "Tennis for Two," was created and
played on a Brookhaven National Laboratory oscilloscope. In
1962, Steve Russell invented SpaceWar!. Spacewar! was the
first game intended for computer use. Russell used a MIT
PDP-1 mainframe computer to design his game.
HOW IT BEGAN
As an electrical engineering student at the University of Utah
in the mid-1960s, Bushnell received limited exposure to
computer programming through his classes while gaining work
experience maintaining the coin-operated games at the
Lagoon Amusement Park.
Bushnell and Dabney founded Atari, Inc. in 1972, before
releasing their next game: Pong. Pong became the first
arcade video game with widespread success. Allan Alcorn
created Pong as a training exercise assigned to him by
Bushnell. Bushnell based the idea on an electronic ping-pong
game included in the Magnavox Odyssey. Surprised by the
quality of Alcorn's work, Bushnell and Dabney decided to
manufacture the game.
NOLAN BUSHNELL & ATARI
At the end of 1983, the industry experienced a downturn. This was the
"crash" of the video game industry, as well as the bankruptcy of several
companies that produced North American home computers and video game
consoles from late 1983 to early 1984. It brought an end to what is
considered to be the second generation of console video gaming. Causes of
the crash include the production of poorly designed games, an immature
distribution system which left retail stuck with unsold copies to discount,
as well as a general thought among retail that video games were just
another toy fad and that home computers were the next big thing.
Atari also issued the widely advertised E.T. game. It manufactured millions
of units in anticipation of a major hit. Concerned about making the
Christmas season, Atari rushed the game to market quickly, after a mere
six weeks of development time. The end result is widely considered to be
one of the worst video games ever. It is generally inferred that, in order to
clear their inventory, Atari eventually ended up burying the unsold copies
in a landfill in New Mexico. For years, there was debate as to whether or
not the burial actually happened, but the site has since been rediscovered.
A few thousand cartridges were recovered, which actually added up to less
than 10% of the total buried video games recovered, With the production of
many unsold cartridges, combined with the high costs for the movie
license, E.T. became a financial failure for Atari.
VIDEO GAME CRASH OF 1983
In 1985, the American video game console market was
revived with Nintendo’s release of its 8-bit console, the
Famicom, known outside Asia as the Nintendo Entertainment
System (NES). Marketed as a toy to North American
audiences, the NES instantly became a success, dominating
both the North American and Japanese home console gaming
markets until the rise of the next generation of 16-bit
consoles in the early 1990s.
Video games also became more and more controversial
because of their violent nature, especially in games of Mortal
Kombat, Night Trap, and Doom, leading to the formation of
the Interactive Digital Software Association and their rating
games by signing them their ESRB ratings since 1994
3D polygon graphics were soon popularized by Yu Suzuki's
Sega AM2 games Virtua Racing (1992) and Virtua Fighter
(1993), both running on the Sega Model 1 arcade system
TRANSITION TO 3D
Sega's Genesis sold well world-wide early on after its debut in
1988 and Nintendo responded with its own next generation
system known as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System,
or SNES, in 1990.
The intense competition of this time was also a period of not
entirely truthful marketing.
Sega's platform game Sonic the Hedgehog was released. The
game gave Sega's Genesis console mainstream popularity,
and rivaled Nintendo's Mario franchise, starting the so-called
"console war." Its namesake character became the mascot of
Sega and one of the most recognizable video game characters
In the early 1990s, shareware distribution was a popular method of
publishing games for smaller developers, including then-fledgling
companies such as Apogee (now 3D Realms), Epic Megagames (now
Epic Games), and id Software.
Real-time strategy became a popular genre of computer games in the
early 90s, with Dune II setting the standard game mechanics of many
games since. Meanwhile, Alone in the Dark influenced the survival-
horror genre with its action-adventure elements. It established the
formula that would later flourish on CD-ROM–based consoles, with
games such as Resident Evil, which coined the name "survival horror"
and popularized the genre, and Silent Hill.
Id Software’s 1996 game Quake pioneered play over the Internet in
first-person shooters. Internet multiplayer capability became a de facto
requirement in most FPS games since. Other genres also began to offer
online play in the late 90s, including real-time strategy games as Age
of Empires, Warcraft and StarCraft series, as well as turn-based games
such as Heroes of Might and Magic.
In 1989, Nintendo released the Game Boy, the first handheld
game console since the ill-fated Microvision ten years before.
The design team headed by Gunpei Yokoi had also been
responsible for the Game & Watch systems. Included with the
system was Tetris, which became one of the best sold video
games of all time and was ported to a large variety of systems.
Several rival handhelds made their debut in the early 90s,
including the Sega Game Gear and Atari Lynx (the first handheld
with colour LCD display). Although these systems were more
technologically advanced, they were hampered by higher battery
consumption and less third-party developer support.
the Game Boy, and its successive incarnations the Game Boy
Pocket, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance, would be
virtually unchallenged for dominance in the handheld market,
until the PlayStation Portable was released in 2004 to compete
with Nintendo's successor to the Game Boy line, the Nintendo