At the end of the 60’s the gaming world exploded with new creations. This included a hand held game console from Nintendo that revolutionized the industry.
This new type of console used disks to hold games instead of the old cartilage system. It created a competitive landscape between hardware producers like Sony and Microsoft.
Video games are electronic computer games that can be played on a screen. They can be interactive and have a wide variety of genres. They can be used for entertainment, competition, and even for computer learning.
The history of video games dates back to the 1950s, when engineers and scientists began experimenting with computer graphics and user interfaces. In 1958, physicist William Higinbotham created what is believed to be the first video game, called Tennis for Two. This game was not intended for entertainment, but rather as a way to demonstrate the capabilities of the new technology.
By the early 1970s, computers had become smaller and more accessible to a wider audience. This led to the creation of arcade video games, which featured moving graphics on a screen. The first commercial game was Galaxy Game, which was released in 1971, followed by Pong in 1972.
As the popularity of video games increased, other programmers began creating their own games. Some simply replicated the gameplay and graphics of existing games, while others tried to create new concepts that would make their games stand out.
By the 1980s, video games were peaking in popularity. But as the industry became more saturated, serious analysts and economists were pessimistic about the future of gaming. It was also during this period that Atari rushed the release of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which is considered by many to be one of the worst video games ever made. There are even rumors that thousands of unsold cartridges of this infamous game have been buried in a landfill in New Mexico.
Arcades were once a staple of popular entertainment. At their peak, arcades brought in billions of dollars. They spawned games like alien-fighting Space Invaders and the mouth-watering Pac-Man. They introduced new aspects or ideas to gaming, such as background music, “lives” that went away when a player failed and high score tracking.
The first commercial arcade video game was Computer Space, developed by Nutting Associates in 1971. Nolan Bushnell later founded Atari, which produced Pong in 1972. Despite its limited technology, Pong proved so successful that it was replicated by other manufacturers, opening the door to home gaming systems. Magnavox offered the first home system, the Odyssey, in 1975.
As the 1980s drew to a close, arcade games began a steep decline. Many experts cite the rise of the home console and PC game market as the reason for this drop, and they may be right. But the decline of arcades also likely had other causes, such as oversaturation and saturation, competition from a growing number of options, and a rushed game that proved disappointing to gamers: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
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While arcade games had exploded in popularity, inventor Ralph Baer was working on a system to allow gamers to play at home. He released his prototype in 1972 – the Magnavox Odyssey, which allowed a few basic games to be played on TV screens. It was a flop, but it did provide the basis for Atari’s Pong arcade and home console games in 1975.
The first modern home consoles tended to look like toys, but their capabilities were growing. For example, the Commodore 64 could create new graphics on-the-fly and even allowed highly motivated users to code their own games. During this time it was common to hear pessimistic analysts and economists predict that gaming would be a one-time fad.
But Nintendo’s release of the NES in 1985 marked a major turning point. Its hardware improved on previous technology, and the company corrected past mistakes by enforcing strict quality standards for third party software. As a result, many of the games released for the NES became instant classics such as Super Mario Bros and The Legend of Zelda.
The NES sparked a huge surge in demand for video games at home. The industry grew so fast that a whole host of smaller manufacturers emerged to produce consoles and game systems for consumers. The 1990s saw the transition from cartridge-based systems to CD-based ones such as Philips’s CD-i, NEC’s TurboGrafx-16 and Sony’s PlayStation 2. As the decade progressed, consoles grew smaller and more powerful and gaming was at its peak of popularity.
Video games on the big screen
The video game industry had exploded. Millions were being spent on creating games that competed in scope and quality with blockbuster Hollywood movies. It wasn’t long before big production houses realized the potential of bringing gaming to the big screen.
By the end of the 1970s, arcade and home console games generated more profits than Hollywood films did. By the beginning of the next decade, a handful of live-action adaptations hit theaters.
Although Higinbotham was often credited as the inventor of the first video game, other inventions predated his, including Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle R. Mann’s 1948 “Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device.” This machine required overlays of pictures or illustrations on the screen, a style that dovetailed with the action, unlike Higinbotham’s Tennis for Two, which displayed only the game’s visuals.
In the 1980s, the popularity of Pong and Space Invaders prompted the creation of home console systems. But the influx of new consoles and companies resulted in market saturation, leading to a crash in North American sales in 1983.
The decade was marked by the advent of open-world games, in which players explored fictional worlds and were able to determine their own course of action, as well as games that allowed users to create the virtual world themselves, known as sandbox gaming. The success of these titles helped gaming rise from a niche pastime to true pop culture, attracting viewers that would not have traditionally attended movies or musicals.