Sunday, 11 October 2009

Game History overview & Personal Gaming experience

History of Computer & Video Games.

As early as 1951, a TV engineer, Ralph Baer had the idea to add a new concept to TV: playing games on the television set. Finally some light entertainment releif after the past half a century of war, economic depression and growing communism. Thus the video game concept was born, but could not be implemented since his half-witted boss refused the idea. In September though 1966, Ralph came back to his 1951 idea of playing his games on TV sets and started building the first video game prototypes. Thank God! Rightfully so, Baer is accordingly credited as the inventor of the video game.

Although, Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann. designed the first game on a Cathode Ray Tube in 1947, graphics couldn't be drawn electronically, nor was there a video signal. So unfortunaytly, this doesn't count as a video game boys, but a vallient attempt as the first game designed for the CRT screen.

Taking a hop to 1959 and 1961 the majority of games were made in the United States by individuals with a lot of spare time on their hands as a hobby. As a result, several graphical programs for the TX-0 machine: mouse in the maze, Tic-Tac-Toe etc. where invented. Plus in 1961 a group of students programmed a game called Space War! on the DEC PDP-1, an flashy new computer at the time.

Stepping forward to the 1970s, we saw the first and second generation of consoles. Impressive. 1971 saw the creation of Star Trek, for all the Trekkies out there, on the Sigma 7 minicomputer. And then came Maze War and Spasim which became pioneering examples of early multi-player 3D first-person shooters in 1974. Over in ’75, the first role-playing game, Dungeons and Dragons was made on PDP-10. The birth of two of my 3 favourate genres within a year of eachother, ooo rah. .

Jumping towards 1980s saw rise of gaming computers, early online gaming, the third generation games consoles and a mahoosive new range of gaming genres . Due to its user smiley user friendly interface, being cheap as chips and compatable with existing console joy-sticks, gaming computers had initial success with the launch of the Commodore 64 in 1982. Tho introduction of 16-bit machines, along with dedicated sound cards in the late 80s saw a rise to a host of, lets face it, technically top-notch games at the time. Unfortunatly, their success was more limited than the 8-bit machines, but its not so bad because it was due to the acceleration in which games and their machines developed. In ’85 Nintendo went ahead and released the NES along with Super Mario Brothers which was, once again, mahoosively successful in the U.S. Equally Sega gained popularity in Europe, getting rid of joy-sticks, key pads and paddles with gamepads.

Personal Gaming History

I guess that brings up to the 90s, where my lovely little gaming life began. Though I didn’t really get into gamming until 1997, the first game I played would have been one of the Super Mario games, for the Nintendo (NES), around 1994, but being 6 years older than myself, it was pretty much dominated by my brother. Gladly I discovered the Saga Mega Drive, and Sonic the Hedgehog, which was released in 1991. Thankful for increasing popularity of household consoles, it was in the houses of friends that found other consoles and games and hand held consoles like the Nintendo Game Boy, that i began to develop my passion for games away from the risk of having the control pad wrestled out of my hands and locked outside by the brother. With the release of the PlayStation in 1994, it was like my holy grail. Through some conjoined nagging my both me and my brother, by Christmas 1995, by which point my brother was 'growing out of games', so I had a PlayStation which I fueled my new insatiable lust for games. But it was mainly due my being introduced to two games in particular which made me realize that I wanted to be a part of the gaming industry. The shifting of the Final Fantasy from Nintendo to PlayStation in 1997 with Final Fantasy VII, along with the creation of Abe’s Oddysee for PlayStation was what caused my reaction. Although, at the time of release I was far too young to understand let alone finish the game, it was the passion which these two games had sparked which caused me to return to them time and time again.

In contrast, the most recent game I have finished is Halo 3: ODST, released 22nd September 2009 for Xbox 360. The fifth but not the last in Bungie’s Halo franchise which spring-boarded Microsoft’s Xbox to massive success in 2001. Between now and then, mobile games have rocketed onto mobile phones reaching 1/4 of all video gaming software revenues in 2007.
In 2001, Sony went on to release the monumental PlayStation 2 which became the top selling 6th generation games console. I mean come on, we all had one, it was the console to have. Plus Nintendo released the cute little GameCube, which pretty accurately suffered the reputation of being a child’s console and lacked serious games. But a bit of a bash on SuperSmash Brothers: Melee was always fun. Yet, before the end of 2001, Microsoft released its first games console, the Xbox, which shortly after Bungie Studios released Halo: Combat Evolved, which went on to be one of the most successful console shooters of all time. (thumbs up)

Casual PC games and online play also became much more of a feature with Xbox live particularly Halo 2 which was massively successful and the growth of MMORPGs and Battle Net for RTS games such as Blizzard’s Starcraft and the Warcraft franchises.

In todays gaming generation, Nintendo has released their Nintendo DS and Sony had premiered its PSP in 2004, both within a month of each other. But Nintendo has continued to dominate the hand held industry by updating the DS in 2006 and releasing the Dsi in 2008. In 2005, Microsoft took the first step with the release of the Xbox 360, (hurah!) of which I only acquired in 2006, and Sony followed with its release of the PlayStation 3 (booo hiss) in America 2006, Europe 2007. These consoles were in fact the first consoles to challenge personal computers in power, at launch, and were considerably cheaper. What a golden age of gaming we live in

Although Nintendo was not expected to compete credibly at all, It surprised us all with the release and success of the Wii. The Wii was more powerful than previous Nintendo machines but has seriously lower technical specifications than both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Yet despite this, the console completely sold out over the 2006 Christmas season and for the next 18 months, becoming the fastest selling console in most of the worlds gaming markets. Nintendo then went on to capitalize on casual gaming with the release of Wii Sports and Wii Fit and continued the Super Mario Franchise with Super Mario Galexy which reached the “Best-of” list in 2007.

Both Sony and Microsoft have both been quick to notice how motion had revolutionized the way in which games are played and at E309, Microsoft presented Project Natal, inserting the gamer into the game itself. Boy how i look forward to Powning noobs with that. Then Sony presented their own motion controls similar to that of the Wii remote and nun-chuck a day later. *rolls eyes*

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