Video Game Development – A Brief History

Video games have for long been associated with a teenage fantasy that one gets over once real-life problems take over. However, the booming billion dollar industry tells a different story. Video games are not just marketed to children or young teens but is a passion that many adults follow. World famous game companies like Nintendo, Sega, Ubisoft, Sony, and others have thousands making games for them. Video game development is not a mere child’s play.

The Beginning of Game Development – The First Decades

Game development can be dated back to the early decades of the 1950s when computer scientists first began dabbling with games. Some of the games from the 1960s such as 3D tic-tac-toe and Moon Landing were popular among the professors and students at M.I.T. but they were not as much popular outside the scientific circles. It was only in the 1970s and 80s with the coming of game companies like Sega and Nintendo that the gaming boom was witnessed. As these companies began rolling out games for the middle-class consumer with affordable consoles and gaming arcades became the common hangouts, video games became a part of the popular culture.

Dr. Edward Uhler Condon unveiled what you can call the first computer game at the New York World’s Fair in 1940 which was based on the mathematical game of Nim. It was only in 1967, almost three decades later that a commercial game system for home use was released. This was developed by Ralph Baer and his team and the prototype was called the “Brown Box”. This was the first home gaming console which was licensed to Magnavox and called Magnavox Odyssey in 1972. It preceded the Atari 2600, the most popular gaming console of the time by a few months.

When Atari came to the picture, video games were growing in popularity among the people and home game consoles like the Atari 2600 became an instant hit. Not only this every mall, arcade and even restaurants set up gaming consoles to attract customers. As computers began to be mass-produced in the 1970s, games such as Gunfight became popular. It introduced a new form of gameplay, the one using a joystick. However, even though video gaming became popular, the video game crash of the 1980s created the need for change.

The Rise Of Home Computers & Online Gaming

Home computers changed the face of gaming in the late twentieth and the early decades of the twenty-first century. Some of the popular ones like Apple II and Commodore 64 made possible the introduction of complex games with their better and faster processors. As BASIC as a programming language was popularized, games began to be developed by everyone. Macintosh and consoles like Atari ST allowed users to connect their devices with other gamers. However, the real revolution in gaming came with the LAN networks and the internet in the early 90s.

The world wide web was released to the public in 1993 and it slowly changed how games were played in the 2000s. With gaming consoles like Xbox & Sony’s PlayStation, better computers and cheaper internet connections, the gaming community began to grow. The coming of mobile phones in gaming around 2007 was another major leap.

The Future Of Video Game Development

The move to mobile technology has defined the recent chapter of gaming, but gaming devices and consoles are still very popular. Also, the coming of new technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality is changing how millennials play games. AR/VR games like the very popular Pokemon Go was a hit while PUBG games are growing in popularity. The intermixture of video game development with new technology will change the culture of games in the years to come.

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