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Angry Pixels
The first 50 years of video games
Jonas Heide Smith
jonas@autofire.dk
@jonassmith
www.facebook.com/understandingvideogames
The first 50
5000 years
of video
games
Games!?
Galaga (1981)




                        Galaxian (1979)


Space Invaders (1978)                            Gorf (1981)
Defender (1980)



Asteroids (1979)
Space Panic (1980)
                     Donkey Kong (1981)


                                          Mario Bros. (1983)
“Everybody loves Pac-
                   Man - and every decent
                   Pac-Man fan has Pac-
                   Man carpets on the floor,
                   Pac-Man curtains at the
                   windows, sleeps in a Pac-
                   Man pyjamas and dries
                   himself in Pac-Man
The Pac-Man Show
(ABC, 1982-1983)   towels.”
Balance of Power (1985, 1990 version shown)
“Instead of
putting funny
little creatures
on your
screen, we
put you inside
our stories...
All words. No
pictures.”
King’s Quest (1984)
Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards (1987)
Maniac Mansion (1987)
Elite (1984)
Sid Meier’s Pirates! (1987)
Little Computer People (1985)
Tetris (1984)
Nintendo Entertainment System (1985, USA)
SEGA Mega Drive (1988)
7th Guest (1993)
Phantasmagoria (1995)
Mortal Kombat (1992)
Mortal Kombat offers “children
exciting new ways to maim,
dismember, and murder unsavory
opponents in a sadistic martial-arts
tournament" where "it is considered
a mark of success… to rip the head
and spine out of an opponent and
wave it in the air while the blood
flows to the ground"

Montreal Gazette 7 Aug. 1994
DOOM (1993)
Night Trap (1992)
Ultima Online (1997)
Grand Theft Auto (2001)
“Children are playing a
game that encourages
them to have sex with
prostitutes and then
murder them...This is
a silent epidemic of
media desensitisation
that teaches kids it’s
okay to diss people
because they are a
woman, they’re a
different colour or
they’re from a different
place.”

Hillary Clinton, 2005
Guitar Hero (2005)
Wii (2006)
iPhone (2007)
iShoot (2008)
Canabalt (2009)
Wordfeud (2010)
Angry Birds (2010)
Limbo (2010)
What now?
What now?
Games            Film
500

                       467



375




250




125




 0      5
                2007

              1%...
“Games differ from
other funding-entitled
art forms, since they
are more about
movement and action
than about language.”

Carina Christensen,
2001 (in email)
@jonassmith

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Angry Pixels: 50 years of video game history