History of Video Games

History of Video Games

People. Love.  Video games.

This is a fact, I don't need to remind you that.​

But unlike what most of us think, video games have been around us for a much longer time.

They have here before the Xbox, they've been here before we loved Super Mario and they've been here before we started playing Pong (Not us though, our parents). I hope you get my point. In fact, the first video game was written almost as early as the first digital computers were being made.

To make easier for you, we have an infographic to show you the bigger changes happened in the history of video games -- from the beginning till now. Along with them, there are some current statistics of this industry as well. 

History Of Video Games

Also Read: History of online games by Internet Providers

History of Games - Listenthusiast.com Infographics

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Like some other things in computer science field, the credit of writing the first video game also goes to the great Allan Turing. He, along with other English mathematician David Champernowne, developed a Chess simulation game called TurboChamp. But due to some circumstances, notably Allan Turing's untimely death, caused it to be never implemented.

Instead, the earliest implemented game was tic-tac-toe and Nim, developed for two custom-built machines called Bertie 'The Brain' and Nimrod.  To track the current status, both of these games featured a static display. Technically, both of them were 'games' but they weren't available for public use. Bertie the brain was displayed in Canadian National exibition in 1950 while Nimrod was exibited in Berlin Industrial show. 

Neither of those machines featured a Cathode-Ray-Tube (CTR). The first tic-tac-toe game to have a monitor was called OXO --made in 1952. 1958 was the year when we finally had a game that was for entertainment purposes, rather than any training, educational or research purposes. It was a very simple tennis game called Tennis of Two and made by Physicist William Higinbotham

Until 1960, games a very few developed that too for research because for 2 reasons.

  • Main Frame machines of that time had limited space and memory.
  • Computers of 1950s were very costly and couldn't be wasted on entertainment purposes.

All of that, however, changed when Steve Rusell, along with his other MIT fellows, developed Space-Invaders in 1962. It was developed for PDP-1 minicomputer at MIT. That game became very popular, especially among programming community. In 1964,  John Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz designed BASIC programming  language -- in order to encourage students to develop games. Soon, small sports, cards and logic games were all over the place.

​Early Arcade Games


 In 1971, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded Atari Inc.  Atari released Pong, a ping-pong game. Pong became very popular but some copy-cats released their own version of Pong. Thus, limiting its profit and impact.

Before that, Ralph Henry Baer proposed the idea of "video game system that could be plugged into a standard television set. " That concept was carried on further when a prototype of that idea "the Brown Box" came into reality as Magnavox Odyssey. It features 4 dozen transistors and Diodes.

The success of Pong led Atari to make games of other genres like racing, fighting and shooting games. Gun Fight was the first game to incorporate a microprocessor. Due to this shift, they also released Atari 2600 - with microprocessor-based hardware and ROM cartridge. 

In 1978, Space Invaders was released. It was the first shooting game of its kind. That game became so popular that it created a shortage of 100-coin yen in Japan -- the country of its origin.

Golden Age Of Arcade Games​ And Game Crash of 1983


The golden age of arcade game started with space invaders but continued to some years. In 1982, Disney released Tron, which was based on the movie of that same name. Although Tron had a sequel too, but that didn't prove to be as successful as Tron.

Tetris, a tile-maching puzzle game was designed by a Russian game designer Alexey Pajitnov, in 1984. Due to Cold-War conflicts, Tetris was the first software to be exported from USSR to the USA. Different versions of Tetris were released for different platforms. Pac-Man, Star Wars and Donkey Kong also made it to the list of top games of the golden arcade era.

All that seemed well until the gaming market collapsed. From 1983 to 1985, stocks of Atari shrank to almost 97 percent. There were many reasons for that crash. Main reasons were the saturated market and popularisation of PC gaming. The crash pushed gaming industry many years backwards and industry couldn't stabilize until 1990s.

6th-Gen Gaming Consoles, Mobile and 3D Gaming


6th-Gen consoles era is also known as 128-bit era. It's due to the fact that   those consoles had 128-bit CPU word size. Before that, there were 32/64-bit word size consoles. That generation started with the launch of PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox and Sega Dreamcast. Dreamcast was the first gaming console with the built-in modem support. Although it was initially successful, but then faded soon by the rising popularity of PS2, which supported DVD-based disks.

Nonetheless, Dreamcast had many creative games such as Shenmue Series -- the first 3D game of its kind. Dreamcast was the last major console from Sega. Microsoft, for the first time, entered the video game industry with the launch of Xbox in 2001. Xbox was based on Intel Pentium III CPU. Microsft also released HALO through Bungie studio.

In 2001, Rockstar games released Grand Theft Auto III , which was based on a unique genre -- 'Open World'.  The success of GTA  III was carried on further by GTA Vice City and GTA San Aandreas. That game was both popularised and criticised for its violence and explicit nature. In 2003,  a new Digital Distribution software called Steam was released by Valve Inc.

In mobile gaming, the most popular game was Snake, which was first introduced in 1997. Although mobile gaming didn't grow until the introduction of iPhone and Android phones, the base of that platform was laid much earlier in Nokia feature phones. 

7th-Gen Consoles and Online Gaming


7th Generation of home video consoles began with the release of some handheld devices such as Nintendo DS by Nintendo and PSP by Sony in 2004. For mainstream market, PS3 competed alongside Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360. Each of these consoles has its own unique characteristics like HD-resolution support by Xbox, HD video playback capability by PS3 and sensor-based controllers of Wii. To enter in the motion-gaming market, Microsoft released Kinect in 2010. Since all of these consoles were popular in the market, it was a close race. But eventually, Nintendo came out as the winner by selling 101 million units of Wii.  

Along with this, online gaming also became a little more popular due to high bandwidth and low-cost internet. YouTube also became an important part of gaming due to reviews and WalkThroughs. The developement of high-speed wireless routers and other gaming-specific peripherals such as gaming mice and gaming keyboards were the main reasons of online games popularity.

8th-Gen Consoles


8th generation of video games consoles was kick-started by Nintendo through its Wii U. Wii U was soon caught up by its rivals in the form of Playstation 4 and Xbox One, in late 2013. Although all of them have different specs, they do have some common features as well such as Integrated 3DTV support. On the handheld front, Nintendo has released the new Nintendo 3DS XL  while the Sony has opted for Playstation Vita, as the successor of PSP. These handheld devices didn't go that much mainstream because of the popularity of smartphones and tablets. 

In 2016 Oculus, a Facebook-owned company released Oculus Rift -- a virtual reality (VR) headset. With that, we are entering, as termed by many, into an era of VR gaming.

Important Note!

Since the history of video games is very vast, we've only included the major breakthroughs and achievements. If you think that there's something important we've missed, then feel free to mention it below in your comments.

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