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The History of Video Games



Computer games are often referred to as video games, because they usually involve a video display to manifest the gaming world in which they represent. The earliest computer games were developed in the 1950’s and 1960’s. But did you ever wonder who invented video games? Willy Higinbothom designed a very basic tennis game on an oscilloscope, and around the same time Steve Russel created Space Wars on a DEC PDP-1 mainframe computer. Space Wars is usually credited as being the first video game ever made. The 1970's saw the rise of the arcade gaming industry. Some of the popular titles that were initially created, such as Pong, and Space Invaders, were really just modified variants of the games made by Higinbothom and Russel.

The end of the 1970's also saw the beginning of the home-based console video game systems. Video game consoles are computers designed solely for the purpose of gaming, and usually connect to a television for the video display. There were three significant consoles in the late 70’s and early 80’s, but the only one that achieved large scale and widespread success was the Atari 2600. These consoles are often referred to as ‘1st generation’ consoles. Today, with the release of the Xbox 360, and the upcoming release of the PlayStation 3, we are witnessing the beginning of the 7th generation of console gaming. It's hard to believe Games have come so far!

In the early 1980’s, the PC, or personal computer, became popular, and video games designed for use on this platform were also very popular. Today the video game market is dominated by the consoles made by Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo, and also by the games made for the PC. The market is divided into three basic categories; consoles, PC, and handhelds, handhelds being portable video game consoles first made popular by Nintendo’s Gameboy.

Within each market, there are many different types of video games. Some types include adventure, action, role-playing, first person shooters, third person shooters, turn based strategies, real-time strategies, and simulations. Often times, different versions of the same game are available on the PC.

Since the 1970s, the video game market has boomed and steadily grown in magnitude. Now we can look back and say the person who invented video games was a genius! Today, it is the largest entertainment industry in the world, having surpassed the movie business in terms of revenue in 2004. With new PC games coming out every week, and new consoles being designed constantly, it appears as though the video game industry has plenty of room for growth left in it. We could go on for days about each console and all, but future research and new technology will certainly move faster than ever before. Clearly video games are going to be popular for generations to come!