History of Computer Games
Several knobs allowed for adjusting the curve and speed of the moving point representing the missile. Because graphics could not be drawn electronically at the time, small targets drawn on a simple overlay were placed on the CRT by the builder of this game. It is believed to be the earliest system specifically designed for game play on a CRT screen. A. S. Douglas developed OX, a graphical version of nougats and crosses (tic-tact-toe), in 1952 at the University of Cambridge in order to demonstrate his thesis on human- computer interaction.
It was played on the now archaic DEEDS computer, which used a cathode ray tube for a visual display. In spite of its technological antiquity, the game Is still playable on an emulator available on the Internet. Many people attribute the Invention of the video game to William Hologram, who, in 1958, created a game called Tennis for Two on an oscilloscope to entertain visitors at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. Unlike Pong and similar early games, Tennis for Two shows a simplified tennis court from the side. The ball is affected by gravity and must be played over the net.
The game is played with two bulky controllers each equipped with a knob for trajectory and a button for firing the ball over the net. Tennis for Two was exhibited for two seasons before its dismantling in 1959. Tennis for Two The sass States and were developed by individual users who programmed them in their idle time. However, the limited accessibility of early computer hardware meant that these games were few and easily forgotten by posterity. In 1961, a group of students at MIT, including Steve Russell, programmed a game called Spaceward! On the then-new DCE PDP-I .
The game pitted two human players against each other, each controlling a space ship capable of firing missiles. A black hole in the center created a large gravitational field and another source of hazard. Pacer Spaceward This game was soon distributed with new DCE computers and traded throughout primitive cyberspace. Presented at the MIT Science Open House in 1962, it was the first widely available and influential game. One of the developers of Multicast, Ken Thompson, continued to develop the operating system after AT&T stopped funding it. His work focused on development of the SO for the GE-645 mainframe.
He actually wanted to play a game he was writing called Space Travel. Though the game was never released commercially (and apparently costing $75 per go on the mainframe), the game’s development led to the invention of he UNIX operating system. In 1966, Ralph Bear (then at Sanders Associates) created a simple video game called Chase that could be displayed on a standard television set. Bear continued development, and in 1968 he had a prototype that could play several different games, including versions of table tennis and target shooting. Under Bear, Bill Harrison developed the light gun and, with Bill Rush, created video games in 1967.
The sass Coin-pop games: dawn of a golden age By 1969 Ralph Bear had a working prototype console that hooked up to a TV set and played ball and paddle games. This prototype was sold to Managing who released it n May 1972 as the Odyssey, the world’s first videotape console. In 1971 Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabbed created a coin-operated arcade version of Spaceward! And called it Computer Space. Uniting Associates bought the game, hired Bushnell, and manufactured 1,500 Computer Space machines. The game was not a success because many people found it difficult to play.
Nolan Bushnell attended a demonstration of the Odyssey in Burlingame California in January 1972. He played video Ping-Pong but found it uninteresting and As Bushnell felt he did not receive enough pay by licensing games to other manufacturers, he founded his own company, Atari, in 1972. The first arcade video game with widespread success was Attar’s Pong, released the same year. The game is loosely based around table tennis: ball is “served” from the center of the court and as the ball moves towards their side of the court each player must maneuver their bat to hit the ball back to their opponent.
Atari sold 19,000 Pong machines, and soon many imitators followed. The coin-operated arcade video game craze had begun. Oxide’s Death Race (1976) sparked the first controversy over gratuitous violence in a video game, because the object of the game was to run over “gremlins” – who looked more like pedestrians – with a car. The controversy increased public awareness of video games and has never ceased to be debated. Space Invaders Here come the aliens! The arcade game industry entered its Golden Age in 1978 with the release of Space Invaders by Tattoo.
This game was a runaway blockbuster hit that inspired dozens of manufacturers to enter the market and produce their own video games. The Golden Age was marked by a prevalence of arcades and new color arcade games that continued until the sass or sass. Also in 1978, Atari released Asteroids, its biggest best-seller. It replaced the game Lunar Lander as the number one arcade hit. Color arcade games became more popular in 1979 and 1980 (e. G. Pace-Man). Other arcade classics of the late sass include Night Driver, Gilligan, and Breakout.
Games on university mainframe computers University mainframe game development blossomed in the early sass’. The history of this era is difficult to write in a comprehensive way for several reasons: Until the late sass’ game programmers never received any money for their work. The reward for designers of this era was praise from friends and an occasional fan letter from students at another university. There is little record of all but the most popular games, since they were played on machines which are no longer operated and saved on tapes that no longer exist.
There were at least two major distribution networks for the student game designers of this time, and schools typically had access to only one brand of hardware and one supply of shared games. Many websites dedicated to the history of games focus solely on one system or the other, because the authors never had access to the “parallel universe” of the other hardware platform. The two largest systems were: The PLATO System supported by CDC mainframe computers, and The DECKS software sharing system run by Digital Equipment Corporation for schools and other institutions utilizing DCE computers such as the PDP-II.
Highlights of this period, in approximate chronological order, include: 1971: Don Adagio wrote the first Computer Baseball game on a PDP-II mainframe at Pomona College. Players could manage individual games or simulate an entire season. Adagio went on to team with programmer Eddie Domineer to design Earl Weaver Baseball, published by Electronic Arts in 1987. 1971: Star Trek was created, probably by Mike Mayflies on a Sigma 7 minicomputer at MIT. This is the best-known ND most widely played of the sass’ Star Trek titles, and was played on a series of small “maps” of galactic sectors printed on paper or on the screen.
It was the first major game to be ported across hardware platforms by students. Adagio also wrote a popular Star Trek game for the PDP-II during 1971-72, which presented the action as a script spoken by the TV program’s characters. A number of other Star Trek themed games were also available via PLATO and DECKS throughout the decade. 1972: Gregory Hob wrote Hunt the Wampum for the PDP-II, a hide-and-seek game, though it could be considered the first text adventure. Hob wrote it in reaction to existing hide-and-seek games such as Hurdle, Mumps, and Snack. 974: Both Maze War (on the Impalas PDP-I at the NASA Ames Research Center in California) and Spasm (on PLATO) appeared, pioneering examples of early multi-player AD first person shooters. 1975: Will Crotchet wrote the first text adventure game as we would recognize it today, Adventure (originally called ADVENT, and later Colossal Cave). It was programmed in Fortran for the PDP-II. The player controls the game through simple sentence-like text commands and receives descriptive text as output. The game was later re-created by students on PLATO, so it is one of the few titles that came part of both the PLATO and PDP-II traditions. 975: Before the mid-sass, games typically communicated to the player on paper, using teletype machines or a line printer, at speeds ranging from 10 to 30 characters per second with a rat-a-tat- tat sound as a metal ball or belt with characters was pressed against the paper through an inked ribbon by a hammer. By 1975 many universities had discarded these terminals for CRT screens, which could display thirty lines of text in a few seconds instead of the minute or more that printing on paper required. This led to the development of a series of games that drew “graphics” on the screen. 75: Adagio, then a student at Claremont Graduate University, wrote the first Computer Role Playing Game on PDP-II mainframes, Dungeon. The game was an unlicensed implementation of the new role playing game Dungeons and Dragons. Although displayed in text, it was the first game to use line of sight graphics, top-down dungeon maps that showed the areas that the party had seen or could see, allowing for light or darkness, the different vision of elves and dwarves, etc. 1975: At about the same time the RPG don, also based on Dungeons and Dragons first appeared on PLATO system CDC computers.
For players in these schools don, not Dungeon, was he first computer role-playing game. 1977: Skeleton Flint and John Taylor create the first version of Air, a text air combat game that foreshadowed their later work found the first successful online game company, Kismet, now part of Electronic Arts. As Flint has said: “If Air Warrior was a primate swinging in the trees, AIR was the text-based amoeba crawling on the ocean floor. But it was quasi-real time, multi- player, and attempted to render 3-D on the terminal using ASCII graphics. It was an acquired taste. 1977: The writing of the original Cork was started by Dave Libeling, Marc Blank, Tim Anderson, and Bruce Daniels. Unlike Crotchet, Adagio and Hob, the Cork team recognized the potential to move these games to the new personal computers, and they founded text adventure publisher Inform in 1979. The company was later sold to Activation. In a classic case of “connections”, Libeling was a member of the same D&D group as Will Crotchet, but not at the same time. Libeling has been quoted as saying “l think I actually replaced him when he dropped out.
Cork was ‘derived’ from Advent in that we played Advent… And tried to do a ‘better’ one. There was no code borrowed… And we didn’t meet either Crotchet or Woods until much later. 1980: Michael Toy, Glenn Hickman and Ken Arnold released Rogue on BBS Unix after two years of work, inspiring many rocklike games ever since. Like Dungeon on the PDP-II and don on PLATO, Rogue displayed dungeon maps using text characters. Unlike those games, however, the dungeon was randomly generated for each play session, so the path to treasure and the enemies who protected it were different for each game.
As the Cork team had done, Rogue was adapted for home computers and became a commercial product. Early handheld games The first portable, handheld electronic game was Tic Tact Toe, made in 1972 by a company called Waco. The display consisted of a grid of nine buttons, that could turn red or green when pushed. The first handheld game console with interchangeable cartridges was the Micronesian designed by Smith Engineering, and distributed and sold by Milton-Bradley in 1979. Crippled by a small, fragile LCD display and a very narrow selection of games, it was discontinued two years later.
Although neither would prove popular, they paved the way for more advanced single-game handheld, often simply called “LED games” or “LCD games” depending on their display system. Matter had seen car-race games in arcades, and wanted to mass-produce something animal, but a video-game version would have been too costly. In 1974, Matter engineers George Close and Richard Change contracted with John Danker to write the Matter Auto Race game as we know it, played on a ex. array of LED dots. Mark Lesser at Rockwell International Microelectronics Division ported the code to a calculator chip.
The program was 512 bytes long. Subsequently, the same team produced Matter Football l, which sold well over one million units and ushered in a short golden age of LED handheld games, especially sports games. At first composed of simple arrangements of Leeds, later games incorporated vacuum fluorescent displays allowing for detailed graphics in bright colors. The heyday of LED and BFD would last until the early ass, when LCD technology became cheap and durable enough to be a viable alternative.
Gaming on home computers consumer) in video arcades and home consoles, the rapidly evolving home computers of the sass and ass allowed their owners to program simple games. Hobbyist groups for the new computers soon formed and game software followed. Soon many of these games (at first clones of mainframe classics such as Star Trek, and then later clones of popular arcade games) were being distributed through a rarity of channels, such as printing the game’s source code in books (such as David All’s Basic Computer Games), magazines (Creative Computing), and newsletters, which allowed users to type in the code for themselves.
Early game designers like Crotchet, Adagio and Hob would find the computer code for their games which they had never thought to copyright published in books and magazines, with their names removed from the listing. Early home computers from Apple, Commodore, Dandy and others had many games that people typed in. Another distribution channel was the physical mailing and selling of floppy disks, asset tapes and ROOM cartridges. Soon a small cottage industry was formed, with amateur programmers selling disks in plastic bags put on the shelves of local shops, or sent through the mail.
Richard Garrote distributed several copies of his 1980 computer role-playing game Cleanable in plastic bags before the game was published. The first home video games (1972-1977) 1972 also saw the release of the first video game console for the home market, the Managing Odyssey. Built using mainly analog electronics, it was based on Ralph Beer’s earlier work and licensed from his employer. The console was connected to a mom television set. It was not a large success, although other companies with similar products (including Atari) had to pay a licensing fee for some time.
It wasn’t until Attar’s home version of Pong (at first under the Sears Tell-Games label) in Christmas of 1975 that home video games really took off. The success of Pong sparked hundreds of clone games, including the Collect Telltales, which went on to be a success in its own right, with over a dozen models. Early 8-bit home consoles (1977-1983) Home video-game systems became popular during the sass and ass. The game featured on the stamp is Defender for the Atari 2600. N the earliest consoles, the computer code for one or more games was hardcore into microchips using discrete logic, and no additional games could ever be added.
By the mid-sass, video games were found on cartridges. Programs were burned onto ROOM chips that were mounted inside plastic cartridge casings that could be plugged into slots on the console. When the cartridges were plugged in, the general-purpose microprocessors in the consoles read the cartridge memory and ran whatever program was stored consumers could now amass libraries of game cartridges. The Fairchild EVES was the world’s first cartridge-based video game console. It was released by Fairchild Semiconductor in August 1976. When Atari released their VS. the next year, Fairchild quickly re-named it to the Fairchild Channel F.
In 1977, Atari released its cartridge-based console called the Video Computer System (VS.), later called Atari 2600. Nine games were designed and released for the holiday season. It would quickly become by far the most popular of all the early consoles. In 1978 Managing released its cartridge-based console, the Odyssey 2, in the United States and Canada. Philips Electronics released this same game console as the Videotape 67000 in many European countries. Although it never became as popular as Atari, it managed to sell several million units through 1983.
In 1979, Activation was created by disgruntled former Atari programmers. It was the first third-party developer of video games. Many new developers would follow their lead in succeeding years. The next major entry was Interrelation, introduced by Matter in 1980. Though chronologically part of what is called the “8-bit era”, the Interrelation had a unique processor with instructions that were 10 bits wide (allowing more instruction variety and potential speed), and registers 16 bits wide. The system, which featured graphics superior to the older Atari 2600, rocketed to popularity.
Unique among home systems of the time was the Vectored, the only one to feature vector graphics. 1982 saw the introduction of the Collision, an even more powerful machine. Its sales also took off, but the presence of three major consoles in the marketplace and a glut of poor quality games began to overcrowd retail shelves and erode consumers’ interest in video games. Within a year this overcrowded market would crash. The popularity of early consoles was strongly influenced by their ports of arcade games. The 2600 was the first with Space Invaders, and the Collision had Donkey Kong.
Early cartridges were KGB Rooms for Atari 2600 and K for Interrelation. This upper limit grew steadily from 1978 to 1983, up to KGB for Atari 2600 and Interrelation, KGB for Collision. Bank switching, a technique that allowed two different parts of the program to use the same memory addresses was required for the larger cartridges to work. In the game consoles, high RAM prices at the time limited the RAM (memory) capacity size limit grew steadily, the RAM limit was part of the console itself and all games had o work within its constraints.
By 1982 a glut of games from new third-party developers less well-prepared than Activation began to appear, and began to overflow the shelf capacity of toy stores. In part because of these oversupplies, the video game industry crashed, starting from Christmas of 1982 and stretching through all of 1983. The sass In the early sass, the computer gaming industry experienced its first major growing pains. Publishing houses appeared, with many honest businesses (and in rare cases such as Electronic Arts, successfully surviving to this day) alongside fly-by-night operations that cheated the games’ developers.
While some early ass games were simple clones of existing arcade titles, the relatively low publishing costs for personal computer games allowed for many bold, unique games, a legacy that continues to this day. The primary gaming computers of the sass emerged in 1982: the Commodore 64 and XX Spectrum. The Golden age of arcade games reached its full steam in the sass, with many technically innovative and genre-defining games in the first few years of the decade.
Defender (1980) established the scrolling shooter and was the first to have events aging place outside the player’s view, displayed by a radar view showing a map of the whole Plainfield. Battledore (1980) used wireman vector graphics to create the first true three-dimensional game world. AD Monster Maze (1981) was the first AD game for a home computer, while Dungeons of Doctorate (1982) added various weapons and monsters, sophisticated sound effects, and a “heartbeat” health monitor.
Pole Position (1982) used sprite-based, pseudo-AD graphics when it pioneered the “rear-view racer format” where the player’s view is behind and above the vehicle, looking forward along the road with the horizon in sight. The style would remain in wide use even after true AD graphics became standard for racing games. Pace-Man (1980) was the first game to achieve widespread popularity in mainstream culture and the first game character to be popular in his own right. Dragon’s Lair (1983) was the first lacerates game, and introduced full-motion video to video games.
With Adventure establishing the genre, the release of Cork in 1980 further popularized text adventure games in home computers and established developer Infusion’s dominance in the field. As these early computers often lacked graphical capabilities, text adventures proved successful. When affordable computers started catching up to and surpassing the graphics of consoles in the late sass, the games’ popularity waned in favor of graphic adventures and other genres. The text adventure would eventually be known as interactive fiction and a small dedicated following has kept the genre going, with new releases being nearly all free. He first graphic adventure on home computers. Graphics consisted entirely of static monochrome drawings, and the interface still used the typed commands of text adventures. It proved very popular at the time, and she and husband Ken went on to mound Sierra On-Line, a major producer of adventure games. Mystery House remains largely forgotten today. In August of 1982, the Commodore 64 was released to the public. It found initial success because it was marketed and priced aggressively. It had a BASIC programming environment and advanced graphic and sound capabilities for its time, similar to the Collision console.
It would become the most popular home computer of its day in the USA and many other countries and the best-selling single computer model of all time internationally. At around the same time, the XX Spectrum was released in the UK and quickly came the most popular home computer in most of Western Europe, and later the Soviet bloc due to the ease with which clones could be produced. Superset Software created Snipes, a text-mode networked computer game in 1983 to test a new PC based computer network and demonstrate its capabilities.
Snipes is officially credited as being the original inspiration for Novel Network. It is believed to be the first network game ever written for a commercial personal computer and is recognized alongside sass’s Maze War (a networked multilayer maze game for several research machines) and Spasm (a ad multilayer space simulation for time hared mainframes) as the precursor to multi-player games such as Doom and Quake. The true modern adventure game would be born with the Sierra King’s Quest series in 1984.
It featured color graphics and a third person perspective. An on-screen player-controlled character could be moved behind and in front of objects on a AD background drawn in perspective, creating the illusion of pseudo-AD space. Commands were still entered via text. Lucubrates would do away with this last vestige feature of text adventures when its 1987 adventure Maniac Mansion built with its SCUM system allowed a point-and-click interface. Sierra and other game companies quickly followed with their own mouse-driven games.
With Elite in 1984, David Brazen and Ian Bell ushered in the age of modern style ad graphics in the home, bringing a convincing vector world with full 6 degree freedom of movement and thousands of visible planetary systems into the living room. Initially only available for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron, the success of this title caused it eventually to be ported to all popular formats, including the Commodore 64, XX Spectrum, Commodore Amiga, Atari SST and even the Nintendo Entertainment System, although this version only received a European release. 1984.
The new 16-color AGE display standard allowed its graphics to approach the quality seen in popular home computers like the Commodore 64. Sound however, was still only the crude bleeps of PC speakers. The primitive 4-color GA graphics of previous models had limited the PC’s appeal to the business segment, since its graphics failed to compete with the CO or Apple II. The Apple Macintosh also arrived at this time. It lacked the color capabilities of the earlier Apple II, instead preferring a much higher pixel resolution, but the operating yester support for the GUI attracted developers of some interesting games (e. G.
Lode Runner) even before color returned in 1987 with the Mac II. In computer gaming, the later sass are primarily the story of the United Kingdom’s rise to prominence. The market in the U. K. Was primly positioned for this task: personal computer users were offered a smooth scale of power versus price, from the XX Spectrum up to the Amiga, developers and publishers were in close enough proximity to offer each other support, and the ONES made much less of an impact than it did in the United States, being outsold by the Master System. The arrival of the Atari SST and Commodore Amiga in 1985 was the beginning of a new era of 16-bit machines.
For many users they were too expensive until later on in the decade, at which point advances in the IBM PC’s open platform had caused the IBM PC compatibles to become comparably powerful at a lower cost than their competitors. The VGA standard developed for Vim’s new AS/2 line in 1987 gave the PC the potential for 256-color graphics. This was a big Jump ahead of most 8-bit home computers but still lagging behind platforms with built-in sound and graphics reward like the Amiga, causing an odd trend around ’89-91 towards developing to a seemingly inferior machine.
Thus while both the SST and Amiga were host to many technically excellent games, their time of prominence proved to be shorter than that of the 8-bit machines, which saw new ports well into the ass and even the ass. Adlibbed set an early defaced standard for sound cards in 1987, with its card based on the Yamaha YAMMER sound chip. This would last until the introduction of Creative Labs’ Sound Blaster in 1989, which took the chip and added new features while remaining imputable with Adlibbed cards, and creating a new defaced standard.
However, many games would still support these and rarer things like the Roland MET-32 and Disney Sound Source into the early ass. The initial high cost of sound cards meant they would not find widespread use until the sass. Shareware gaming first appeared in the late sass, but its big successes came in the sass. Bulletin Board Systems and early online gaming Dialup bulletin board systems were popular in the sass, and sometimes used for online game playing.