Digital games-A timeline
A brief introduction
Games of all sorts are played by kids as well as adults, especially electronic games.Electronic games are either console games or PC based games.Playing them has become one of the favorite pastime for all ages.These games come in many genre,or categories that include strategy games, sports games, adventure and exploration games, card and board games, puzzle games, fast-action arcade games, and flying simulations. But that's not all,this electronic entertainment media is being used for educational purposes too, some games are intended to teach logical skills,puzzle solving,management, realtime simulation,etc.,
Games were first developed as early as 1950s and 1960s, but since their arrival,electronic games have grown to become a multibillion-dollar industry, and it is one of the areas that uses latest technology both in hardware and software to enhance the gameplay experience for the players who play them.And there is a peculiar trend in the gaming industry- any movie or series that is a huge hit, is transformed into a game.Sometimes a game is released along with the release of the movie.And yet in some cases,games have been the inspiration for making movies based on them.
"Console games"-When and where did it start?
An engineer at the Brookhaven National Laboratory a man named Willy Higginbotham,in 1958 created perhaps what is considered the first electronic game.He used an oscilloscope , he called the game Tennis for Two,where players used knobs to control rectangular paddles as they batted a “ball” back and forth over a vertical line that would represent a net.
It was a man named Steven Russell,who created the first computer game named,Spacewar!(he was a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology).But it was an engineering student named Nolan Bushnell who experimented with reproducing Russell’s game without using a computer, which at the time were too large and expensive for a commercial game. Eventually, he created a version of Spacewar! that used a black-and-white television set and dedicated circuits and in 1971 with the help of a marketing company,he began marketing the first video arcade and it is still considered the first step into creating gaming consoles.
Atari Corporation, one of the pioneer in the game console market was founded by Nolan Bushnell in mid-1972.As video games became increasingly popular, especially among children, dedicated amusement arcades would become widespread.In 1977 Atari released its first cartridge console, the Video Computer System (also known as the 2600).But the glory was short lived, since in 1982, interest in arcade games started to decline and revenues dropped. Many arcades closed as the entire industry was in recession. By the end of 1983 interest in home games had dried up too. Atari began selling computers rather than video games or game consoles.
But the influence of electronic games had not worn off,Nintendo a Japanese company,in 1985 renovated the electronic-game business when it introduced its Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the United States. With more powerful computer chips allowing for advanced graphics and faster game play.Nintendo also brought along a market trend to the industry.They realized that game hardware soon becomes obsolete,and people would soon want something more promising.So Nintendo pioneered the practice of releasing new consoles every five to six years. The NES, for example, was followed by the Super NES and then by the Nintendo 64.
A Japanese company - Sega introduced a popular system known as Genesis in the late 1980s, they were competing with Nintendo in the gaming industry.In 1995 another Japanese electronics , the giant Sony Corporation launched its PlayStation line of game consoles. With it'shigher quality of graphics and gameplay,Sony dominated the console market after 1995, selling more than 100 million PlayStationsworldwide by 2002.They did not stop there,Sony launched the PlayStation 2, which was released in 2000, and it still continues this dominance.
Following Sony Corporation's massive success,other companies wanted to have a try at the gaming industry.In 2001 both Nintendo and Microsoft came with their versions of gaming consoles- GameCube and Xbox.These systems featured a variety of advanced capabilities such as a hard drive for saving games and the ability to connect to the Internet or local area networks (LANs).But Sony dominated the gamingindustry even then.
(the images below are gamecube and xbox)
Microsoft released Xbox 360 in the late 2005,as a step to lead the gaming industry.The new machine further developed and expanded the capabilities of game consoles, including the ability to connect digital cameras and portable music devices, interact with other gamers, play digital video discs (DVDs) and music compact discs (CDs), and download a wide variety of games or add-ons to its large internal hard drive.Xbox 360 also offered higher visual clarity and graphics.By 2006 Xbox had displaced Nintendo as the second bestselling console behind PlayStation. Nintendo however were not going to give up yet,in November 2006, as industry competition stiffened, Nintendo debuted new video game console.Nintendo introduced Wii, which featured wireless, motion-sensitive controllers and built-in Wi-Fi technology for connecting to the Internet.This revolutionised gaming by improving the user interaction and the game play.Entertainment wise,Wii still ranks the first.
As a reply to Xbox 360 and Wii, Sony premiered PlayStation 3, that offered higher computing power, graphics and higher storage.PlayStation 3 enabled game players to insert Blu-ray discs, which have five times the storage capacity of DVDs and allow users to play games using high-definition television screens.But due to the high pricing of the console,the prices of game DVDs were also high soPlaystation 3 was not a grand success,it did not better the predecessor Playstation2.
The PC based games
Gaming consoles were developed keeping in mind only one thing-to support gaming to highest of degrees.But gaming is only one of the many things a computer can support.In computer games, the player has the option of using multiple keys in the keyboard or use the mouse for pointing or clicking and sometimes for both.Many computers also support plug and play option,so players can connect a game pad or joystick for enhancing their game play controls.
So when did the era of computer games start?
The first computer game was text-based actually, called Hunt the Wumpus and it was created in 1972 by Gregory Yob of the University of Massachusetts.Players would have to respond to text based situation in which they've to select any of the available responses.Soon in 1975,a programmer named Will Crowther created Advent and Colossal Cave, a highly influential text-based game.Initial stages of PC games were text based only.It took sometime for programmers to integrate AI and graphics into games
Mystery House, released in 1980, was perhaps the first computer adventure game to combine text and graphics.Since people were only used to text based games, the new era of graphical games swept the gamers away.To tap into the growing excitement over video games at the time, many computer-game publishers marketed both authorized translations of arcade games and cleverly disguised versions of arcade hits.Soon in the mid 80s many new game companies were founded and the PC gaming industry was growing very fast.one of the giants in PC games-Electronic Arts was even ready to pay professional basketball stars to use their names and likenesses to make the game better and appealing for customers to buy.There are many other companies like konami,capcom,thq,etc., that are successful in bringing out games of a different genre every time.And with the advancement in technology-both hardware and software, the PC game experience id just creeping higher and higher.
The main advantage of computers were the flexibility they offered in terms of hardware and software.Because computers stored data, they made a good platform for lengthy adventure and role-playing games. Players could store their progress and continue the games at a later time.Computer systems such as the Commodore Amiga and Apple Macintosh brought other advantages to gaming. These machines used mouse controllers, devices that gave players fast and highly precise control. As technology progressed, computer monitors offered higher resolution than television screens, giving computer games a crisper look. These days there are high standard graphics cards and high resolution LCD monitors to present the graphics in stunning clarity.
But computer games have always had one disadvantage- compatibility.The game that would run in a PC would not necessarily run in another.There were conflict in the requirements of the game and mainly the operating system.If a game was designed for Linux of Mac, it won;t run in windows.There were also some other minor problems relating to game's compatibility with a particular soundcard of graphic card,but it is fixable with the patches that game developers allow to be downloaded after the game has been released.
So can any company produce any kind of game?
Surveys and studies have shown that,the majority of gamers are age 18 or older. So it is essential that this highly influential media is not misused of used for wrong promotions,so many software companies and game studios have focused on developing more advanced games aimed at late teenage and adult audiences.This inturn concerns the parents, that younger teens and children are being exposed to graphic violence, drugs, and even sexual imagery in popular games.To solve the issue,most game developers now follow an established rating system much like the movie industry called the ESRB rating/certification that certify a particular game based on the visuals offered and the game play and many other factors that influence a player-it may be the mature content or abusive language or violence involved, blood and gore,etc.,