31/10/2013

Where did it all begin? Video Games: 1950's-1970's

How far back to video games go? I bet you are thinking the first video game ever made was something like "Super Mario" or "The Legend of Zelda", but surprisingly video games can be traced all the way back to the 1950's!

I personally believe it all started with a game on a cathode ray tube; a missile simulator made in 1947, the game was designed around radar displays from the second world war. I feel that this game pathed the way forward to the games that we all know and love today; by it showing people that there was potential to produce games electronically.

This then leads on to 1951 when "Alexander S. Douglas" created "OXO" commonly known as "Noughts and Crosses"; manufactured for the "EDSAC" computer, it used a rotary telephone for a game controller. With its unique use of a telephone as a controller this led towards the "Oscilloscope" being used to create the pioneering game "Tennis for Two". Made in 1958 by "William Higinbotham", not to be confused with the popular game "Pong"; the objective of this game was to hit the moving ball over the net rather than pass the opponent.
"OXO"

The main revolutionary game of this era was "Spacewar!"; a two player game created by "Steve Russell" and Co. in 1962, the aim of the game was to try and destroy your opponents ship whilst trying not to be pulled into a star located in the centre of the screen. This game was the first of its kind and without it I believe that we would not have games such as "Space Invaders" or "Asteroids"; even modern games like "Zombie Apocalypse" and "Diablo 3" which have the same sort of birds eye view shooting and controlling system.
"Spacewars!" compared to "Diablo 3"
"Spacewars!" is one of the most recognised games of the era due to it being the first to have a unique objective unlike other games of its time; it brought forth the a new genre of space combat simulation. Though the years this gaming style has been improved and expanded on to create the well known games we love today, however these wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for "Spacewars!".

"Maze war" created in 1973 was the first first person shooter, without this game we wouldn't have "Call of Duty"; can you imagine that? A world where we don't have 10 year old boys telling us where our mothers were last night? Nevertheless "Maze war" was played on the "Xerox Alto"; an amazing feature with this game was that you could connect numerous of these computers up together to create a multi-player game. 

"Maze war" being played on a "Xerox Alto" by two players

In 1977 consoles such as the "Atari 2600" started to pop up out of the shadows; the main game of this time was "Pong"; bringing the well known arcade game to the home. This well known game loved by many was a hit and brought console gaming to the top of the market. "Pong" is played by hitting a ball to the opponents side and hoping that they miss it; the success of this game made it obvious to other companies that there was a massive market for video games, this led to lots of games being made which were just a complete copy of "Pong".
 
"Pong" being played on an arcade machine
Towards the end of the 1970's the arcade market began to pick up; by the end of 1978 games such as "Space Invaders", "Spacewars!" and "Bee Gee" were now available to play on arcade machines and by 1979 even more games such as "Asteroids", "Lunar lander", "Monaco GP" and "Flight simulator" were released. This rise in popularity did wonders for video games; people began to think outside the box and create games with different genres and interesting objectives, this really was just the start to a wonderful thing that is video games. If it wasn't for these pioneering games and designers who knows what would have happened, would we still have games if it wasn't for these innovative people? "If I hadn't done it, someone would've done something equally exciting if not better in the next six months. I just happened to get there first." - Steve Russell aka "Slug" on inventing "Spacewar!"


References:
1) "OXO" image: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-cNKioTJaz50/UWJ0dVXFqVI/AAAAAAAAAMI/r7RdFDtA4g4/s1600/oxo.jpg
2) "Spacewars!" image: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/gamelife/images/spacewar.png
3) "Diablo 3" image: http://geekshizzle.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Diablo-3console-2.jpg
4) "Maze war" video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7chDIySXK2Q
5) "Pong" image: http://media.edge-online.com/wp-content/uploads/edgeonline/2012/12/The-Making-Of-Pong.jpg
6) Steve Russell quote: Mary Bellis. The History of Spacewar. Available: http://inventors.about.com/od/sstartinventions/a/Spacewar.htm. Last accessed 31st Oct 2013.

No comments:

Post a Comment