Digital gaming is not a new phenomenon. It has been around since the time of indoor games; only changing its form. Digital gaming has evolved over the years and has become an independent industry with great creative and professional potential.
Origins (1940 – 1960)
The beginning of video games has its foundations in the attempts of developing artificial intelligence. From the installation of the very first ENIAC computer to the present day powerful microprocessors; video games have always witnessed growth along with developments in hardware and software. This is why it is difficult to pinpoint the very first video game ever created. There is a large possibility that any number of puzzles, arcade and card games and/ or military simulations that have long been forgotten from human memory could be contenders for the first video game.
And yet, Nimrod, launched in 1951, is the very first popular, commercially available video game. Simultaneously, IBM’s popular ‘Checkers’ game program (1950s) and William Higinbotham’s revolutionary ‘Tennis for Two’ (1958) gained notice.
Nascent stage (1960 – 1990)
In the year 1960, MIT employee Steve Russell created ‘Spacewar’, the game that is credited as the first widely available and influential computer game. Nolan Bushnell founded Atari, Inc. in 1972 and began taking very first steps towards the commercialisation of the digital gaming industry. Soon after, Atari released the very popular ‘Pong’, which was widely accepted. In 1983 the video game market crashed and bankrupted several companies that produced home computers and video game consoles in the United States. The arcade industry reached its peak between the years 1978-1990. ‘Space Invaders’ by Taito was such a blockbuster that it inspired scores of video game manufacturers to enter the market. This nascent age saw the advent of evergreen computer and arcade games such as ‘Pac-Man’ and ‘Donkey Kong’.
The golden years (1990- 2010)
The resurgence in the video game market brought about permanent players in the industry. Nintendo came out with its next generation console known as ‘Super NES’ in 1990. Armed with similar 16-bit technology, Sega responded with its very own ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’. 1991 onwards PC gaming began to gain popularity. Id Software’s 1996 game ‘Quake’ pioneered online multi-player options in first-person shooters.
In 1996, Nintendo released its 64-bit console, the Nintendo 64. During this time, Sony Corporation began to dominate the market with its popular PlayStation. In 2002, Nintendo announced the launch of its flagship product, the GameCube, which used 80mm mini-DVD discs, holding 1.4GB of data each – over 200 times the capacity of the largest N64 cartridge ROM. Around the same time, Microsoft jumped into the bandwagon with the now popular Xbox. Mobile phones also entered the mainstream market as popular console devices during this time.
The future (2010- ?)
Along with Android, iPhone and Windows devices are the popular choice for digital gaming platforms. The industry is set to see an explosion of growth. Virtual reality and 3D gaming are soon to enter the mainstream market, along with a host of new, revolutionary technologies to serve as peripherals for enhancing the digital gaming experience.
Which are your all-time favourite games? Share with us in the comment box below.