In 1961, a talented team of programmers led by Steve "Slug" Russell developed the world's first video game: Spacewar. A lot has changed since then, but the basics of what makes a good video game are still the same as they were in the 1960s.
Of course, since it was running on a DEC PDP-1 computer, not many people could play Spacewar. For most people, myself included, their first foray into the world of video games was Space Invaders, which was introduced in 1978.
Space Invaders was designed and developed by Toshihiro Nishikado while working for the Japanese company Taito Corporation. Although Space Invaders was a simple game with simple graphics, it was a huge success. This was 'gameplay,' which is probably the single most important aspect of any computer game. Without it, a game is unlikely to be successful. Even today (2012), the incredible video sophistication available to game developers is no substitute for old-fashioned gameplay.
An interesting point to note about Space Invaders is that Nishikado originally intended to use tanks or planes as an attack force. Still, the computers were too slow to run the tanks smoothly, so the tanks were used instead—known aliens. Nishikado could have used humans instead of aliens, but he felt this would have been morally wrong.
During the 1980s, arcade games became very popular in establishments such as pubs, bars, hotels, etc. These games were generally not free to play, and I remember spending more money playing the games than beer! Companies such as Atari have been dominant in the games market since the late 1970s, and initially, the 1980s was a boom period for companies involved in the industry. However, over the decade, the market was flooded, often with poor quality games, and by the end of the decade, the industry had largely collapsed.
However, there was a re-emergence on the scene - small portable devices like Nintendo's GameBoy started to gain popularity and play an important role in the games industry to this day.
In the 1990s, the video game industry saw a gradual transition from two-dimensional (2D) graphics to more realistic and visually appealing 3D graphics. The decade also saw the emergence of new game genres such as the first-person shooter, real-time strategy, survival horror, and MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online).
Handheld gaming continued to gain popularity throughout the decade. While arcade games were still fairly popular in the early 1990s, the use of home consoles gradually pushed them out of the market. And of course, in the 1990s, the World Wide Web was invented, which would revolutionize the gaming industry over the next decade.
In the home video market, the 2000s was a decade dominated by companies like Sony, Nintendo, and - to a lesser extent - Microsoft. In the 1980s and 1990s, Sega was Nintendo's main rival, but the company left the console market in 2002 to return to the third-party company. The gradual increase in computer processing power from the 1990s and 2000s enabled developers to create immersive and interactive game environments, creating a more realistic and enjoyable gaming environment.
Influence of the World Wide Web
In the early days of the web, in the mid-1990s, the combination of a lack of computing power and slow transmission speeds meant that online gaming did not exist yet. As computers became more powerful and transmission speeds increased in the 2000s, online gaming gradually became more popular. Technologies like Flash made it quite easy to develop advanced games. These games can then be integrated or embedded in web pages and run in a web browser.
Thanks to the internet, the gambling industry is a huge winner besides traditional games like driving, adventure, action, puzzle, or shooting games. Online gambling and gambling websites are extremely popular and provide adults with an easy way to participate in gambling activities. Strict laws in many countries ensure that the sites are well regulated.
There are also plenty of sites that offer free casino games that use virtual money, so there is no financial risk whatsoever in participating in the fun, many of which allow you to play with other people around the world.
Video games can provide light entertainment for a few minutes, or they can give near-total immersion — and pretty much everything in between. The progress of video games since Steve Russell's Spacewar has been dramatic. Who knows what the future will bring?