The Historic Journey of Video Games

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Google is rumored to be developing an Android-based video gaming console, which will be a breakthrough for the gaming industry. With thoughts of a Google gaming system potentially delivering next-generation technology, let’s take a look back at how it all began. Gaming historians can point to the 1940s as the decade of video game conception. Edward U. Condon designed an over-sized standing console displayed at the World Fair. Tens of thousands people played Nim, an electronic pick-up sticks game. Just 10 years later, Claude Shannon and Alan Turing created a chess-playing computer.

In The Beginning

Maybe we can blame electronic slot machines on programmers at Los Alamos laboratories in New Mexico. The team designed the first blackjack program on an IBM-701. The next few decades exploded with computer checker games, mouse-in-the-maze and military war games. In 1963, the U.S. Defense Department created a game called STAGE (Simulation of Total Atomic Global Exchange) to prove they could defeat the Soviet Union during thermonuclear war. The traditional video gaming obsession picks up speed in the late 1960s. Ralph Baer developed a chase game to work with a console on a standard television. His creation was appropriately called the Brown Box, because it indeed looked like a big brown box.

First Consoles

The Brown Box made its way to Magnavox, and they built the first commercial video game console called the Magnavox Odyssey. Gamers will wax poetic over those six cartridges playing 12 games made up of dots and lines. Then Atari founder Nolan Bushnell first made the arcade version of Pong in 1972. It promptly jammed with quarters and stopped working after being used so much. Unlike video games before it, Pong made that satisfying

thud sound when the paddle hits the ball.

Gaming Bankruptcy

Pac-Man chomped its way through gamers’ hearts in the 1980s, followed by gender-equality gaming with Ms. Pac-Man. But a console war broke out in the 1980s when Intellevision entered the market and competed with Atari and Mattel. Eventually, so many unlicensed games and new consoles, such as CelecoVision, hit the market. The industry imploded and went bankrupt.

Big & Small Players

The mid-1980s and 1990s ushered in Nintendo and PlayStation. Each took turns outdoing the other with Nintendo 64 and PlayStation 2. Xbox eventually came along in 2001 and turned Microsoft into a gaming contender, releasing the wildly popular “Halo: Combat Evolved.” And it’s not always the big gaming industry players blazing new trails in the industry. Small up-start games such as Sims and Farmville gain momentum. Luckily, the growth of video gaming addictions can be credited to the expansion of Internet connection capabilities. Providers such as offer more bundles than ever for the addicted who play on PCs and laptops.

In The Future

By 2012, video game sales toppled $14.8 billion, yet many gaming companies are shuttering its doors, including LucasArts. Classic favorites, such as Nintendo and Sony, are here to stay though. Both plan to update home console systems in the next year, including options beyond the standard game controller.

We’re also seeing a rapid influx of independent publishers. Shorter games for mobile devices and social media, such as Angry Bird, have become household names. Because of new technologies, DIY platforms and open source tools, we live in a digital world where anyone can make a video game. The future may actually be ours for the gaming.