History of video games/Print version/Timeline


Earliest electronic games edit

Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device edit

The earliest known computer gaming system is the cathode-ray tube amusement device, a device which enabled its user to use its CRT system to project an electron beam on targets positioned on the screen. The game was designed by Thomas T. Goldsmith, Jr. and Estle Ray Mann, who patented it in 1947, although it was never built or sold.[1]

Early strategy games edit

A later analog computer game, Bertie the Brain, was released by Josef Kates on August 25, 1950. Bertie the Brain was a tic-tac-toe simulator, in which the user played against the computer a tic-tac-toe game, while John Makepeace Bennett and Raymond Stuart-Williams's Nimrod computer, manufactured by Ferranti and based on Edward Condon's "Nimatron" machine, was a huge analog computer released on May 5, 1951 designed to play Nim against the user. Instead, in the same year, Dietrich Prinz wrote the first computer chess simulator on a Ferranti Mark I machine, followed by Christopher Strachy's 1952 draughts simulator for the same computer. This games were mainly experiments to demonstrate the potential power of computing machines and to develop AI, more than entertainment software.

First interactive games edit

Meanwhile, A S Douglas developed and realized the tic-tac-toe software OXO (or "Naughts and Crosses"), it was a computer-versus-user game based on screen vision running on the electronic delay storage automatic calculator (EDSAC, a stored-program computer housed in the University of Cambridge's Mathematical Laboratory), in other words, the user (after receiving a special authorization to use the EDSAC) could, for one of the first times, see the game on the computer's screen. Six years later, in 1958, the first known entertainment computer game, the tennis simulator Tennis for Two, or "Computer Tennis" (designed by Los Alamos nuclear scientist William Higinbotham and built by Robert Dvorak at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, where it was shown every year). Tennis for Two, which could be played by two players using two early controllers (each with a button to hit the ball and a knob to change the angle of the trajectory), ran on an analog computer with an oscilloscope as screen and had the following gameplay: a horizontal line represented the tennis court as seen by its side, a vertical dash in the center represented the net and, once the first player started the game, the ball (a dot of light) could be used to play. The ball could hit the net, land inside or outside the yard and, when it was on one's side, he or she could use the button to virtually hit it again, but the game did not have any points nor an "end": users simply had to play.

Spacewar! and mainframe games edit

In the first years of the 1950s most mainframe computers were unsuitable for gaming, being relatively weak in memory and speed, but, in the early decade, an MIT Lincoln Laboratory research team, with Jay Forrester as head, developed, to the US Navy's gain, the perfectioned and more powerful Whirlwind I. Inspired by their work, researchers Ken Olsen and Wes Clark built the prototype machine TX-0 (Transistorized Experimental computer zero, nicknamed "tixo"), based on early transistor technology.

Clark and Harlan Anderson soon founded the Digital Equipment Corporation, or "DEC", and tixo was updated to be publicly sold under the new name "PDP-1" (Programmed Data Processor-1, one of the most notable computers in the hacker culture). In 1962, on the MIT's own PDP-1, used by later MIT students and professors, Steve Russell created Spacewar!, the first widespread video game. Spacewar! was another two-players game, in which's two-dimensional world each user controlled a spacecraft with a rear thruster (with limited fuel), yaw variation capabilities and a frontal weapon, orbiting a gravity source against a starfield background; the craft were destroyed (but soon regenerated) if the were shot by the other's weapon or they collided (with the other's ship or with the gravity source), generating explosion effects, but could also use the gravity to their advantage, jump into hyperspace to reappear at a random point of the battlefield (but increasing the probability to explode during re-entry) and use the warp screen effect ("exiting" the screen to reappear on the opposite side) to travel between two opposite points of the screen in brief time (thus avoiding the gravity source).

Other notable mainframe games (mainly written in various FOCAL dialects) include Witold Podgórski's 1962 Marienbad (an Odra 1003 Nim computer game inspired to the film Last Year at Marienbad), Doug Dyment's 1968 text-based game Hamurabi (a PDP-8 game, rewritten in the popular programming language BASIC for the famous 1973 book BASIC Computer Games, in which the player impersonated Babylonian king Hammurabi and had to participate in ancient politics) and Ken Thompson's 1969 Space Travel (a multi-platform non-combat spaceflight simulator, part of a genre that would have little-to-no further success until the late 1980s).

Early arcade games edit

In 1971, the first arcade games (usually coin-operated video game-based machines) were presented: they were the Computer Space by Syzygy Engineering ("Syzygy" was the name of the partnership between Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, originally born, inspired by Spacewar!, to found a computer games-equipped restaurant, later destined to become Atari, Inc.), though manufactured by Nutting Associates, and the PDP-11-based coin-operated Spacewar! clone Galaxy Game by Bill Pitts and Hugh Truck (a two-player arcade which enabled to play, though in with lower video and reaction quality, a multi-mode re-creation of the 1962 game, built and, for a long time, kept at Stanford University). Arcades were soon seen as a notable way to earn money easily, and, soon, other famous video game cabinets manufacturers were born: in 1972 Atari itself realized the table tennis simulator Pong by Allan Alcorn, one of the first best-selling games, as well as the inspiration for the first video game consoles; in 1973 Taito published its first game, Astro Race, a racing simulator; in 1976 Sega published Moto-Cross, the first game to provide haptic feedback (tactile output), better known as published under the Happy Days-themed label "Fonz".

Read more edit

  • History of Computers - Wikibook on the history of computers, which is a foundational technology for most video games.

References edit

  1. "Cathode-ray tube amusement device". 25 January 1947. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  2. "BNL History:The First Video Game?". www.bnl.gov. Retrieved 24 November 2020.

Understanding Historical Technology · 1960-1969

A small market edit

During the 1960's the Video Game Industry was a rather small market, and were more often than not used as a novelty attraction or the hobby project of an academic than a serious product category. In spite of that this decade would not only host some key developments in foundational technologies, some rather significant developments would be made in video gaming directly.

The PLATO Educational computer terminal system is launched after being developed from 1959 through 1960, later giving rise to a number of early multiplayer games in the 1970's once adoption picked up.[1][2]

Adaptations of the game of Nim were quite popular during the this decade. In 1962 the mainframe game Marienbad is developed in Poland as a Nim adaptation.[3] Dr. Nim is a dedicated mechanical digital computer game that used marbles instead of a screen launched at some point during the 1960's.

For more information about some early mainframe games, please read the chapter on early games.

Computer Technology Improves edit

A transparent compact cassette, showing the magnetic tape.

As Computing technology was spurred on by demand from Cold War era policies and business needs, several developments were made that would go on to impact gaming technology as well.

Reed-Solomon Code is invented in 1960, allowing for more reliable telecommunication and optical media,[4] which would later be used by gaming systems. It is also used by more obscure game media, such as Nintendo E-Reader cards.[5]

Project Xanadu begins in 1960 and becomes a significant early attempt at implementing hypertext, as well as an early prominent example of vaporware.[6] This is a key development in the realization of hypertext, and eventually it's more popular competitor, the World Wide Web, plays host to a number of web games.

An early computer animation is rendered in Sweden 1960 and broadcast in 1961.[7][8] Eventually computer generated imagery, or CGI for short, becomes a common way of generating rich visuals for games.

In October 1962 the first red LED is invented.[9] This paves the way for cheap indicator lights in consoles and computers, as well as the red LED arrays that made consoles like the Entex Adventure Vision and the Virtual Boy possible.

In 1963 the Dutch company Phillips brings the compact cassette to market.[10] Cassette tapes would later be used as a popular medium for computer games during the late 1970's and 1980's.[11] The Cassette's popularity among gamers in Europe was particularly notable. By the 1980's the cassette proved popular among computer gamers in the Netherlands, as game software was distributed on radio broadcasts, where they could easily be recorded in standard players then loaded into computers.[12]

In 1968 Digi Grotesk is created, one of the first known digital typefaces.[13][14] Digital typography would become a key component of visual design in any video game which used text,[15] and designers would quickly leverage type itself as a way they could further immerse the player in their games, improve visual clarity of game elements, and further their own artistic goals.

Doug Englebart edit

A mouse prototype which began development in 1964 by Doug Engelbart and Bill English.

Doug Englebart invents the mouse in 1964.[16] Following years of development, on December 9th, 1968 Doug Englebart hosts the "Mother of All Demos" where he demonstrates a number of concepts, such as a computer mouse, digital maps, hyperlinks, real time collaboration in the same environment, and video chat.[17][18] The concepts demonstrated by Doug Englebart in the Mother of All Demos would eventually be deployed in the gaming industry, either in games themselves or by video game developrs.

Space Race edit

The space race spawned a number space age technologies and a media frenzy. From these developments, the space race spurred several key developments in the gaming industry, either through direct technological development, or by inspiring space themed games.

A PDP-1 computer with Spacewar! creator Steve Russell.

Spacewar! for the PDP-1 computer was among the first digital video games, and featured two players fighting around a gravity pulling star.[19][20] It's open source nature also soon leads to some of the first video game mods.[20]

In March 1969 Bell Labs changed focus, spurring programmer Ken Thompson to port his video game Space Travel from the expensive to run GE-645 computer to a cheaper PDP-7 he had access to, eventually resulting in the creation of the Unix operating system.[21] Unix derived and compatible operating systems would go on to directly power a number of gaming devices, such as the PlayStation 4.[22] Unix and compatible operating systems would also go onto power a number of gaming adjacent devices, such as game servers, or mobile phones.

During the space race NASA created demand for then emerging technologies spurring their development, like microchips.[23] This helped to promote the miniaturization of consumer electronics.[23][24]

On July 20th, 1969 humans lands on the Moon for the first time, with the historic moment televised across the globe.[25] This moment defines a generation, and many are deeply moved by this momentous occasion. Among those captivated by the Apollo 11 moon landing is Hideo Kojima, who would later develop games inspired by space travel, such as Policenauts.[26][27]

Influence of Literature edit

The literature of the late 1950's and 1960's had a large influence on the plots of many video games in later years. One of the most notable examples Bioshock (2007) took inspiration from Atlas Shrugged (1957) 50 years later to explore the society advocated by the novel, and would also offer a deconstruction by illustrating the pitfalls of such a society.[28][29] A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959) would go on to inspire the Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout (1997), with both using a theme of a religious order safeguarding old world relics in a post-nuclear landscape.[30] Dune (1965) was a major work of science fiction literature which would go on to influence a number of foundational science fictin games, shaping genres in a media which barely yet existed.[31] The 1959 novel Starship Troopers is commonly credited with popularizing the concept of "Power Armor",[32] a concept later found in other science fiction media, including many video games.

1960's Gaming History Gallery edit

References edit

  1. "The Game Archaeologist: The PLATO MMOs, part 1". Engadget. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  2. "How PLATO changed the World...in 1960". eLearningInside News. 3 June 2017. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  3. "Marienbad (video game)". Wikipedia. 3 September 2020. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  4. "Reed-Solomon Codes". Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  5. "Nintendo E-Reader Technical Details". www.caitsith2.com. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  6. "World's most delayed software released after 54 years of development" (in en). the Guardian. 6 June 2014. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jun/06/vapourware-software-54-years-xanadu-ted-nelson-chapman. 
  7. Wenz, John (25 June 2015). "These Retro Animations Were Far Ahead of Their Time". Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  8. "3D Animation Design: 5 Large Industries Reshaped by It". Blog cgiflythrough.com. 3 July 2020. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  9. "LED at 50: An illuminating history". BBC News. 9 October 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  10. "Total rewind: 10 key moments in the life of the cassette". the Guardian. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  11. Moore, Bo (20 April 2015). "New storage format could hold 220 terabytes of games—on tape". PC Gamer. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  12. "People Once Downloaded Games From The Radio" (in en). www.amusingplanet.com. https://www.amusingplanet.com/2019/04/people-once-downloaded-games-from-radio.html. 
  13. "This Was The First Computer Font". BuzzFeed News. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  14. "The Digital Past: When Typefaces Were Experimental". AIGA the professional association for design. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  15. "Down to the Letter: The Importance of Typography in Video Games". www.gamasutra.com. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  16. Markoff, John (3 July 2013). "Computer Visionary Who Invented the Mouse (Published 2013)". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  17. "Highlights of the 1968 Demo - Doug Engelbart Institute". dougengelbart.org. Retrieved 12 November 2020. {{cite web}}: no-break space character in |title= at position 28 (help)
  18. Center, Smithsonian Lemelson (10 December 2018). "The Mother of All Demos". Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  19. "Spacewar! PDP-1 Restoration Project Computer History Museum". www.computerhistory.org. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  20. a b Brandom, Russell (4 February 2013). "'Spacewar!' The story of the world's first digital video game". The Verge. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  21. "The Strange Birth and Long Life of Unix". IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  22. "PS4 runs Orbis OS, a modified version of FreeBSD that's similar to Linux - ExtremeTech". www.extremetech.com. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  23. a b Gaudin, Sharon (20 July 2009). "NASA's Apollo technology has changed history". Computerworld. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  24. Potter, Sean (5 June 2019). "Exploring the Moon Promises Innovation and Benefit at Home". NASA. Retrieved 10 December 2020.
  25. Sosby, Micheala (12 July 2019). "Memories of Apollo from People All Over the World". NASA. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  26. Chen, Adrian (3 March 2020). "Hideo Kojima's Strange, Unforgettable Video-Game Worlds". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  27. "shmuplations.com". shmuplations.com. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  28. Perich, John (25 February 2009). "The Myth of Atlantis: Atlas Shrugged and Bioshock" (in en). Overthinking It. https://www.overthinkingit.com/2009/02/25/the-myth-of-atlantis-atlas-shrugged-and-bioshock/. 
  29. Perrotta, Anthony (7 July, 2017). "“BIOSHOCK” AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF AYN RAND". https://entropymag.org/bioshock-and-the-philosophy-of-ayn-rand/. 
  30. Boisvert, Lauren (25 November 2020). "The Untold Truth Of Fallout's Brotherhood Of Steel". Looper.com. https://www.looper.com/285387/the-untold-truth-of-fallouts-brotherhood-of-steel/. 
  31. "What if: Dune was never written?". PCGamesN. https://www.pcgamesn.com/doom/what-if-dune-was-never-written. 
  32. Singer, Peter W. (May 2, 2008). "How to Be All That You Can Be: A Look at the Pentagon’s Five Step Plan For Making Iron Man Real". Brookings. https://www.brookings.edu/articles/how-to-be-all-that-you-can-be-a-look-at-the-pentagons-five-step-plan-for-making-iron-man-real/. 

Early games · 1970-1979

Mass Media edit

While the general public remained generally oblivious to video games during the early part of the decade, this quickly began to change with the dawn of the golden age of arcade gaming, as well as the release of the popular Atari 2600 home video game console. With the rise of this new mass media, also came some of the first widespread moral panics and controversies over video gaming.

In addition to consumer usage, edutainment games in schools began to propagate more broadly during the 1970's, though their usage was hampered by both the technology, and by a lack of computers.[1]

Women Developers edit

Despite facing workplace adversity, the 1970's saw several women make prominent contributions in the video game industry, most notably at RCA and Atari.[2][3] However these developers would often not see widespread recognition in their day. This trend would continue into the 1980's.[4]

Popular Genres edit

  • Arcade style games, especially the Lunar Lander subgenre
  • 2D Shooters
    • In the first half of the decade Spacewar! clones were popular among video gamers.
    • The massive success of Space Invaders (1978) led to the popularization of the genre with the public.
  • Tabletop games often influenced computer games of the time.
    • Wargaming, as well as tabletop role playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons inspired many early computer roleplaying games.
  • Text adventures and other interactive fiction proved popular among those few who owned home computers. These simplistic games often required no special graphics hardware, yet offered a glimpse into fantastic worlds for imaginative gamers despite their limitations.
  • Edutainment games were a popular target for developers, hoping to improve or capitalize on the educational market.
    • In the first half of the decade, these games were common on minicomputer and mainframe time share systems, limited to those affiliated with specific institutions.
    • Later in the decade, as schools began adopting home computers, these games became much more accessible to the public.

1970 edit

The May 4th Massacre edit

A bullet hole in a statue near the shootings at Kent State University.

The horrific events of the May 4th massacre by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University had drastic effects on America, and especially on those present. Several of those present at the event would go on to influence the game industry.

Several students present were moved by what they witnessed transpire to form the band DEVO.[5] Band member Mark Mothersbaugh later goes on to work on games such as Crash Bandicoot.[6] Another student, John De Lancie, was less then 20 yards from the shooting, and worked with Senator Young and Ted Kennedy to share his experience with the Senate.[7][8] John De Lancie would later pursue a career as a prominent actor, which included voice acting for video games.[9]

Game of Life edit

After development in the 1960's, Conway's Game of Life is published in Scientific American in 1970.[10] Although initially a simple mathematical game, it was later turned into various computer programs. The game is formed by a simple playfield of "cells", each one surrounded by eight "neighbors" (the adjacent cells), and either "lives" or "dies" in the next turn based on them. The correct combination of "alive" and "dead" cells can create stable systems ("still lives"), mutating shapes, ("oscillators"), moving objects ("spaceships") or generate an infinite stream of shapes through "guns", thus allowing for a sort of "war" to be "fought".

1971 edit

The 1971 game Star Trek.

Galaxy Game edit

Galaxy Game, a 1971 arcade game.

In September 1971 the arcade game Galaxy Game is installed at Tresidder Memorial Union of Stanford University.[11] The game is a Spacewar! clone, designed with multiplayer-only capabilities in mind as it lacked an artificial intelligence for single-player gameplay. Although it ranks as the first known coin-operated video game (running on a modified PDP-11), it was never commercially released. Despite this, it can be ran on the popular MAME emulator for modern computers.

Computer Space edit

In November 1971 the arcade game Computer Space is released by "Syzygy Engineering" (the progenitor of Atari, Inc.) to try to recreate the success of the Computer Quiz game of 1968.[12][13] The gameplay is reminiscent of Spacewar!, but is distinct enough to avoid being classified as a Spacewar! clone. Few units survive to this day, but the game itself is a popular culture icon among video game fans,[14] both due to it's historical value and due to it's distinctive and funky cabinet design.

The Oregon Trail edit

In November 1971 three student teachers (Bill Heinemann, Don Rawitsch, and Paul Dillenberger) make The Oregon Trail for a UNIVAC computer operated by the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium and is connected to a number of schools in Minnesota by teletypewriter.[15][16] The Oregon Trail was made despite challenges posed by limited computer access.[17] The first version of The Oregon Trail had to be made with teletypewriters in mind, so shooting mechanics were based on accurately typing words quickly.[17]

The Oregon Trail is one of the earliest edutainment games. As of 2020 the game's modernized versions are often considered to be among the best edutainment games made.[18][19]

Intel 4004 edit

1971 saw the release of the Intel 4004, Intel's first chip produced on a 10 micron process.[20] This chip becomes one of the first generally available microprocessors, helping to usher in an era where mass-produced computers and programmable game consoles could reach the home.

1972 edit

Atari & Pong edit

The prototype Pong cabinet.

In 1972 Nolan Bushnell founds the company Atari, releasing the arcade hit Pong by fall 1972.[21]

1973 edit

Gaming at BGSU edit

You have just run out of fuel - pray for rescue.

Moon, "Computer can play golf, blackjack" Nancy Laughlin BG News (Oct 3, 1973)[22]

Across the United States, many gaming cultures have sprung up at various universities, piggybacking off of the advanced computing resources available to students. Records from the rural Bowling Green State University show that this spread was not limited to the biggest or most elite universities by 1973.[22] The Bowling Green State University computer center offers about 250 computer games for students to play freely, including Moon an early game in the Lunar Lander genre.[22]

Lemonade Stand edit

The interface for the game Lemonade Stand.

A programmer working for the educational institution Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium makes Lemonade Stand for their UNIVAC mainframe, which is connected to a number of schools via teletypewriter.[15][16]Gameplay revolves around simulating a business, balancing prices and costs with demand influenced by external factors like weather.[16]

Lemonade Stand is among the first games that attempts to simulate a business, as well as an early example of an edutainment game.

Oil Panic edit

The OPEC Oil embargo to the United States, Japan, and other nations creates great economic shock and a recession.[23][24] Hanafuda cardmaker and toy manufacture Nintendo is nearly pushed to financial ruin by the economic effects of the embargo and begins desperately seeking alternate revenue sources, eventually leading them to make home video games.[25]

Phong Shading edit

Phong Shading is invented in 1973, becoming a common 3D graphics shading technique which adds dynamic highlights to objects.[26][27]

BASIC Computer Games edit

1973 sees the release of one of the most influent computing and video gaming books of History: BASIC Computer Games, initially a DEC book titled "101 BASIC Computer Games". The book is a collection of BASIC source codes (usually converted from DEC's FOCAL) for simple video games, collected and partially modified or created by David H. Ahl. The book initially written in the DEC dialect of the language for use on PDP computers, but Ahl later left DEC to found the magazine Creative Computing, purchased the rights to the book, changed its title and ported the games to the now more standard Microsoft BASIC (which was starting to be used for home computers, and still survives today in its Visual Basic form), with instructions on how to port the games to platforms running personalized dialects.

1974 edit

Dungeons & Dragons edit

dnd, a game inspired by Dungeons & Dragons which started development in 1974.

In 1974 the original "White Box" edition of the World-famous Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game is released with it and its derivatives influencing a number of programmers, and through them highly influenced the creation of both Western computer RPGs and Japanese RPG genres.[28][29][30]

1975 edit

Video Games on Planes edit

In 1975 Braniff Airlines offers Pong during flights, becoming the perhaps first airline to offer a video game as an official in flight entertainment option.[31][32]

First Digital Camera edit

On December 12th, 1975 the first digital photograph is taken by Kodak employee Steven Sasson of subject Joy Marshall.[33] The Camera captures the image using a CCD from Fairchild Semiconductor and then takes 26 seconds to record the result onto an audio tape.[33] Later on gaming devices such as the GameBoy camera and the Xbox Kinect used digital cameras to offer unique gameplay experiences.[34][35]

Graphic Music Synergy edit

At ACM SIGGRAPH 1975 in Bowling Green, Ohio a presentation is given on graphics influenced by music[36], an early example of a relationship that would become common in games with adaptive music.

1976 edit

A flyer for Fonz, a 1976 arcade game by Sega

Cars! edit

1976 was an important year for automobiles and racing in video games.

Datsun became the first automaker to license one of it's cars for a arcade game in 1976,[37] later seeing a home console port to the Bally Professional Arcade.[38] Later on, real automobile brands would later proliferate in racing games, adding to realism and immersion, as well as being a powerful marketing tool for the automobile industry.[39]

In 1976 the Death Race arcade game is introduced, prompting media to question the violence featured in the game.[40] The newness of video games meant that some outlets struggled to differentiate the game from a pinball machine or board game.[41] The sensationalism surrounding the game ultimately boosted it's sales.[42]

Apple Computer edit

The Garage where Apple Computer was first based.

On April 1st, 1976, Apple Computer is founded by Steve "Woz" Wozniak and Steve Jobs in the latter's garage[43]. The initial purpose of the company is to manufacture Woz's Apple I motherboard. The company later produces a number of computers which were commonly used for gaming, and would even help produce the short lived Apple Pippin game console during the 1990's.

1978 edit

The gameshow TV Powww debuts, focusing on playing video games on a television show via telephone.

1979 edit

Mobile Suit Gundam edit

The Anime Mobile Suit Gundam is released in Japan, having a huge influence on Japanese geek culture, and by extension influencing a number of Japanese game designers. The designs of Mobile Suits from Gundam may have had an influence on other game series as well.[44]

References edit

  1. Wells, Matthew (28 July 2022). "The nuclear war origins behind some of the earliest computer lab games". Polygon. https://www.polygon.com/23278536/rand-corporation-nuclear-wargames-computer-lab. 
  2. "Celebrating Women at Atari - Blog - The Henry Ford". www.thehenryford.org. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  3. Edwards, Benj (27 October 2017). "Rediscovering History’s Lost First Female Video Game Designer". Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/90147592/rediscovering-historys-lost-first-female-video-game-designer. 
  4. Hernandez, Patricia (11 February 2021). "In the ’80s, she was a video game pioneer. Today, no one can find her" (in en). Polygon. https://www.polygon.com/2021/2/11/22273073/ban-tran-atari-2600-wabbit-first-female-character-video-games-playable-history-apollo. 
  6. "Exclusive Interview – Composer Mark Mothersbaugh talks working with Wes Anderson, Crash Bandicoot and his discography". Flickering Myth. 27 June 2018. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  7. "de Lancie" (in en). Star Trek. https://www.startrek.com/database_article/de-lancie. 
  8. "Q and A-theism w/ John de Lancie - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  9. "John de Lancie Kent State University". www.kent.edu. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  10. "The Game of Life, by John Horton Conway The Embryo Project Encyclopedia". embryo.asu.edu. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  11. ""Galaxy Game", the Earliest Coin-Operated Computer or Video Game : History of Information". www.historyofinformation.com. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  12. "Computer Space and the Dawn of the Arcade Video Game". PCWorld. 1 January 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  13. "Pixels In Print (Part 1): Advertising Computer Space - The First Arcade Video Game". Video Game History Foundation. 10 April 2018. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  14. [computerspacefan.com "computerspacefan.com"]. computerspacefan.com. Retrieved 10 February 2020. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  15. a b "How You Wound Up Playing The Oregon Trail in Computer Class". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  16. a b c Juba, Joe. "A Pioneer Story: How MECC Blazed New Trails". Game Informer. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  17. a b Porges, Seth. "How 'The Oregon Trail' Was Built Without Access To A Computer". Forbes. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  18. Brown, Shelby. "Worried about your kids' screen time? Try one of these educational video games". CNET. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  19. Staff, GamesRadar; December 2013, GamesRadar 25. "The best edutainment games [ClassicRadar]". gamesradar. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  20. "The Story of the Intel® 4004". Intel. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  21. Edwards, Benj (17 February 2017). "The Untold Story of Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell's Visionary 1980s Tech Incubator". Fast Company. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  22. a b c "The BG News October 3, 1973". BG News (Student Newspaper). 3 October 1973. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  23. "oil crisis of 1973 Japan Module". www.japanpitt.pitt.edu. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  24. "Milestones: 1969–1976 - Office of the Historian". history.state.gov. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  25. "Nintendo - The Early History". www.i-programmer.info. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  26. "History School of Computing". Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  27. "Phong shading algorithm". mrl.cs.nyu.edu. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  28. "The Unlikely Origin Story of JRPGs". www.gamasutra.com. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  29. Messner, Steven (15 April 2017). "The forgotten origins of JRPGs on the PC". PC Gamer. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  30. "​Henk Rogers: The Dutch Godfather of Japanese RPGs". www.vice.com. Retrieved 28 November 2020. {{cite web}}: zero width space character in |title= at position 1 (help)
  31. "Beautiful posters from the golden age of flying – where are the airlines now?". The Telegraph. 13 September 2018. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/lists/posters-golden-age-air-travel/braniff/. 
  32. "A Brief History of In Flight Entertainment – Imagik Corp". Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  33. a b "How the Digital Camera Transformed Our Concept of History". IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  34. "Hands on: Xbox One Kinect review". TechRadar. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  35. "The Game Boy Camera, Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Pixels". Hackaday. 26 October 2020. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  36. Kaczmarek, Thomas; Smoliar, Stephen W. An experiment in interaction between independent music and graphics processors. Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 208–211. ISBN 978-1-4503-7354-8. Retrieved 5 December 2020.
  37. "Datsun Was The First Car Maker To Officially Brand A Video Game" (in en-us). Jalopnik. https://jalopnik.com/datsun-was-the-first-car-maker-to-officially-brand-a-vi-1652829922. 
  38. "The Torchinsky Files: I'm Betting Most Of You Have Never Seen A Bally Professional Arcade" (in en-us). Jalopnik. https://jalopnik.com/the-torchinsky-files-im-betting-most-of-you-have-never-1844218806. 
  39. Wilson, Mark (8 June 2012). "How Do Real Cars End Up In Video Games? And Does It Help The Brands?". Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/1669990/how-do-real-cars-end-up-in-video-games-and-does-it-help-the-brands. 
  40. "The Media vs. Death Race". Video Game History Foundation. 1 June 2018. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  41. "A Video Game By Any Other Name". Video Game History Foundation. 24 May 2018. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  42. Kocurek, Carly A. (September 2012). "The Agony and the Exidy: A History of Video Game Violence and the Legacy of Death Race". Game Studies. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  43. "Apple Computers: This Month in Business History (Business Reference Services, Library of Congress)". www.loc.gov. Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  44. Barder, Ollie. "Understanding How Gundam May Have Influenced Halo Over The Years" (in en). Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/olliebarder/2015/07/01/understanding-how-gundam-may-have-influenced-halo-over-the-years/?sh=6586cd8655eb. 

1960-1969 · 1980-1989

Trends edit

Decision Making edit

The early 1980's were a chaotic time in the Gaming Industry, with little demographic information on gamers available to inform game companies on their decisions.[1]

Home Computers edit

The 1980's saw the rise of personal computers, as well as home game development companies.

See the 1980's section of the Computer gaming article.

Arcades edit

A replica of the iconic Donkey Kong upright arcade cabinet.

The late 1970's and early 1980's is widely considered to be the peak of arcades, as they were culturally relevant and popular in many countries. Arcade machines allowed players to game without the expensive upfront cost of consoles, as well as to experience graphical fidelity that often surpassed what was possible on popular home hardware.

High Difficulty edit

Games from the 1980's are known for their high difficulty. As game media could not easily store information for detailed long stories and campaigns, many developers instead used high difficulties to make games last longer.

Gaming Watches edit

While gaming watches first hit the market in the 1970's, they became relatively common during the 1980's and 1990's.[2] An example of a watch from this time is the 1984 Casio GD8 wristwatch, which included a simple racing game.[3]

Popular Genres edit

  • Arcade games
  • 2D Platformers
  • 2D Action adventure games
  • Puzzle games
  • Rougelikes (On Computers)

1982 edit

The Golden Age of Spanish Software dawns edit

Spanish software becomes a major player in the home computer gaming scene in Europe.[4]

1983 edit

Game Stores edit

By 1983 there were dedicated game stores and mail order used game services in the United States.[5]

The Video game crash of 1983 edit

The 1980's also saw the end of the Second generation of video game consoles with the Video game crash of 1983 severely disrupting the market in North America[6]. Unsold North American-market Atari consoles, computers and cartridges are buried in a New Mexico landfill to be discovered only in 2013.

Third Generation of Video Game Consoles edit

Beginning in 1983 the Third generation of video game consoles later saw widespread mainstream success.[7] These consoles offered much better 2D graphics and sound then earlier generations.

WarGames edit

WarGames, a 1983 movie about a teenager computer hacker and phreaker looking for unreleased video games but accidentally triggering a nuclear defense system, helps put computer hacking in the public imagination and sparks some of the first high level American government efforts regarding cybersecurity.[8] While many aspects of the movie were fake, automated scanning of phone numbers for game company computers was inspired by real phreaker practices from the time like demon dialing[8][9], which came to be known as "wardialing" after the film. The aesthetics of the film would also influence a number of later retro revival games made after the 1980's.

1984 edit

Distribution edit

A few companies such as Cumma Technology try their hand at game distribution through rewritable cartridges.[10]

1987 edit

A 1987 design document for the game Bubble Ghost. Sketches on graph paper were common for game design during the 1980's.

Beginning of the Fourth Generation of Video Game Consoles edit

Early fourth generation game console began to be released in 1987[11], though serious competition in this space would not begin until 1990 with more international releases.[12] The improved hardware in these consoles featured much better audio and graphics than the previous generation.[12]

1989 edit

Fall of the Berlin Wall edit

Throughout the 1980's game developers in East Germany had to make games in accordance to party wishes, such as not including violent elements in their games.[13] Meetings of gamers were often monitored by the Stasi agents out of concern that western software and games were being used.[14] On November 9th, 1989 East German citizens begin to tear down the Berlin Wall, leading to German Reunification[15] and thus the end of gaming culture under the East German government.

1980's gaming gallery edit

General Gallery edit

References edit

  1. Lien, Tracey (2 December 2013). "No girls allowed" (in en). Polygon. https://www.polygon.com/features/2013/12/2/5143856/no-girls-allowed. Retrieved 25 October 2020. 
  2. Crecente, Brian (7 December 2015). "Watch History Time killers: The strange history of wrist gaming". Polygon.com. https://www.polygon.com/a/smartwatch-history-guide-evolution/watch-history. 
  3. "A brief history of wearable gaming". Wareable. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2020.
  4. George, Ashley (18 November 2020). "The Other Spanish Golden Age". Language Magazine. https://www.languagemagazine.com/2020/11/18/the-other-spanish-golden-age/. 
  5. "SECONDHAND GAMES FOR VIDEO BUFFS (Published 1983)". The New York Times. 7 July 1983. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  6. "No. 3038: The Video Game Crash of 1983". www.uh.edu. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  7. "Video Game History". www.cs.uic.edu. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  8. a b "WarGames: A Look Back at the Film That Turned Geeks and Phreaks Into Stars". Wired. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  9. Kaplan, Fred (19 February 2016). "'WarGames' and Cybersecurity's Debt to a Hollywood Hack (Published 2016)". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  10. Pollack, Andrew (12 January 1984). "TECHNOLOGY; NEW SOFTWARE DELIVERY IDEAS (Published 1984)". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/1984/01/12/business/technology-new-software-delivery-ideas.html. 
  11. "Fourth Generation (1987-1993)". History of Console Gaming. 22 September 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  12. a b "4th Generation". www.retroislife.com. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  13. "Gaming Beyond the Iron Curtain: East Germany". Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  14. "ZEIT ONLINE Lesen Sie zeit.de mit Werbung oder im PUR-Abo. Sie haben die Wahl". www.zeit.de. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  15. "Fall of Berlin Wall: How 1989 reshaped the modern world". BBC News. 5 November 2019. Retrieved 22 November 2020.

1970-1979 · 1990-1999

Trends edit

Network Gaming edit

The Internet was a sensation in the 1990's,[1] leading to more incorporation in games. LAN parties became common among computer gamers.[2] Many legacy dial up gaming services from the 1980's shut down in the mid 1990's and many were founded in the 1990's.[3]

- The noise of a dial up connection being made, a common way 1990's gamers got on the internet.

3D Gaming edit

While 3D games predate the 1990's, this decade saw a huge leap and refinement in 3D video games in terms of graphical fidelity.[4][5] More importantly, this decade also saw refinements in 3D gameplay especially in level design and control.[5][6][7] The 1990's also saw improvements to storytelling in games, allowing for richer tales and better plots.[8][9]

Expanding Audience edit

The demographics for video game consoles shifted older, to include more young adults.[10][11]

Some families suffered strain due to generational conflict.[12]

Big Box Era edit

Following a number of packaging styles in the 1980's, computer game packaging from the early 1990's on through the late 2000's would adopt an informal "Big Box" standard.[13][14]

Realism & Controversy edit

In the 1990s more game developers would strive to achieve realism in their games. This was often in the form of graphical realism, taking advantage of increased graphical fidelity to push the limits of hardware. Other developers sought to leverage improving technologies by crafting ever greater and vaster worlds. Others still sought to push storytelling in a more serious direction, focusing on real world issues.

The main controversial games of the era include:

  • Mortal Kombat
  • Doom
  • Duke Nukem
  • Tomb Raider[15]

Controversy was not limited to major commercial titles. A 1992 successor game to The Oregon Trail depicting American slavery prior to the Civil War, Freedom!, attracted controversy due to several misstepes which were insensitive, despite good intentions by the developers.[16]

Popular or Iconic Genres edit

Some terms in this section will link to Wikipedia for more information.

Platformers edit

Gaming in the early 1990s is often exemplified by the 2D platformer. As better game hardware enabled new experiences, developers took risks with new and novel takes on the platformer genre, such as the fast-paced Sonic the Hedgehog. Other titles, such as Super Mario World, were iterative improvements that improved on tried and true gameplay.

The later half of the decade saw the industry pivot to 3D platformers. 3D platformers were dominated by the collectathon genre, notably by the landmark title Super Mario 64, which helped pioneer easy to use 3D control schemes. Other notable collectathons include Spyro the Dragon, Donkey Kong 64, and Banjo Kazooie. Other 3D platformers tried to differentiate themselves through other means, such as the use of lush and well crafted linear levels in Crash Bandicoot, or humor in Gex: Enter the Gecko.

Action-Adventure edit

Notable general Action-Adventure games of the decade include The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Tomb Raider.

Survival Horror Action-Adventure games of the decade included Alone in the Dark, Resident Evil, Resident Evil 2 and Silent Hill.

3D Racing games edit

This genre was influenced by important games such as the 3DO and DOS game The Need for Speed (1994-1995) and the PlayStation game Gran Turismo (1997) which aimed for realistic 3D graphics and driving mechanics for a much more immersive driving experience then prior 2D racing games could provide. Both generated successful franchises for the PC and console platforms (although the latter never left the PlayStation line).

Less realism focused arcade style and karting games were also released, including the original 2.5d titles F-Zero and Super Mario Kart, as well as their fully 3D followups F-Zero X and Mario Kart 64. Other notable 3D racing games not focused on realism included titles such as Wipeout, Cruis'n USA, Sega Rally Championship, and Daytona USA. Ridge Racer was an interesting example of a game that mixed very realistic graphics, with arcade style gameplay.

Shooters edit

After id Software's first-person interface experiments with Hovertank 3-D (1990) and Catacomb 3-D (1992), a number of Shooter sub genres, especially third person shooters and fast-paced first person shooters, were pioneered in this decade with groundbreaking hit titles. id's Wolfenstein 3D (1992) was a landmark title in the genre, a remake of the earlier 2D video games Castle Wolfenstein and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein and one of the first popular first-person shooters ever and pioneer in 2.5D graphics, although it allowed 2D-only gameplay action, thus making it impossible to jump, go up or down stairs, or even aiming up or down. More complex shooters such as id's highly controversial Doom (1993) and the tongue-in-cheek Duke Nukem 3D (1996) developed by the emerging Apogee Software and published by 3D Realms, would follow.

All three games also spawned notable modding communities, altering and modifying game files at one's own pleasure. Also, Doom pioneered the technology of online multiplayer games, already experimented by games such as the 1970s Maze War (which is also one of the very earliest FPS).

Other notable first person shooters would include Quake, Unreal Tournament, Tribes, MDK, Perfect Dark, and the 1997 Nintendo 64 shooter GoldenEye 007, based on the 1995 James Bond film. Later games with FPS mechanics such as Half-Life and Deus Ex would use this medium to tell detailed and immersive stories.

Point and Click Adventure edit

The 1990's are often seen as the critical apex of the Point and click adventure genre, where the culmination of a developers with a decade of experience during the 1980's still retained significant financial backing from publishers.

Fighting Games edit

Games such as Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat would forever shape the genre with their technical and artistic decisions which skyrocketed the appeal and popularity of the genre.

Role Playing Games edit

Notable JRPGs (Japanese role-playing (video) games) from the decade include games III-VIII in the Final Fantasy series, Chrono Trigger, and Secret of Mana.

Notable western computer role playing games from this decade include System Shock, Fallout 1 & 2, and the first Baldur's Gate from American studios. CRPGs were popular with European PC gamers during this time.[17]

Other RPGs sought to subvert traditional expectations of the RPG formula, including Earthbound/Mother 2, Super Mario RPG, and Moon: Remix RPG Adventure.

FMV Games edit

A number of games attempted to leverage the high capacity of CD-ROM to make movies interactive using full-motion video (FMV). This was a selling point of consoles such as the original PlayStation (1994) by Sony Computer Entertainment and the failed CD-i (1990) by Philips.

Sports edit

At the very end of the decade, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater would spark an interest in the skating subgenre.

Strategy & Tactics edit

This decade saw increased interest in real time strategy games, notably with the release of Starcraft, Age of Empires, Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, and Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness.

Turn based strategy and tactics games would also see landmark titles, such as Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, Front Mission, and Final Fantasy Tactics.

The original XCOM trilogy, including X-COM: Enemy Unknown, X-COM: Terror from the Deep, and X-COM: Apocalypse, offered a unique take on the genre with a theme of planetary defense, and offered a hybrid approach of real time strategy on a macro scale, with turn based tactics on a micro scale.

Simulation edit

Notable games from the decade include SimCity 2000 (Despite the name, it was released mid decade).

Timeline edit

1992 edit

The Golden Age of Spanish Software ends edit

Many companies in the Spanish gaming industry fold, ending an era in home computer gaming.[18]

1993 edit

Tetris in Space edit

The Soyuz TM-17 mission patch.
Like all cosmonauts, I love sport. My particular favorites are football and swimming. During flight, in rare minutes of leisure, I enjoyed playing Game Boy.
—Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Serebrov, Soviet and later Russian Cosmonaut and Engineer who also helped design Salyut 6, Salyut 7, Mir, and a space motorcycle.[19]Provenance note Retrothing[20]

Cosmonaut Aleksandr Serebrov flies on the Soyuz TM-17 mission to the Russian space station Mir, bringing a MIR postmarked Game Boy and a copy of the famous Russian game Tetris to play in space during limited free time, thus becoming among the first, if not the first person, to play video games in space.[20][19]

While this may seem like a trivial fact, it represents a small though significant milestone in space exploration. Following the revolt of the crew of the space station Skylab in 1974, the welfare of spacefaring people has been of particular importance.[21] Today entertainment during extended time in space is considered a critical part of daily life.[22] This event marked a point where video games became part of that strategy.

1994 edit

Industry Organization edit

In 1994 the Computer Game Developers Association is founded, later becoming the International Game Developers Association.[23]

1995 edit

Neon Genesis Evangelion edit

The 1995 release of the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion would go on to influence a number of Japanese game developers.[24]

1996 edit

Dawn of the MMORPG edit

The game Meridian 59 launches on PC, letting over 10,000 players play simultaneously in a 3D environment, making it among the earliest modern MMORPGs.[25] Players engage in social activities that the developers did not anticipate such as marriage and mass player killing.[26] Emergent behavior caused by the social systems massively multiplayer games would often prove an interesting field of study in the following years.

Video games banned in Afghanistan edit

Following the Afghanistan Civil War from 1992 to 1996 the nation of Afghanistan came under the control of the 1996-2001 Islamic Emirate. As a result Video Games are banned along with many other forms of cultural expression deemed inappropriate by the government.[27]

1997 edit

Sega Bandai Shakeup edit

A merger between Bandai and Sega nearly occurred, before being called off.[28]

1998 edit

.beat edit

Swatch .beat internet time is announced, and sees some use by players of MMORPGs for coordinating across time zones.[29][30]

Other Gaming Tech of the 1990's edit

The 1990's saw the first mobile phone games, as well as a number of novel small LCD games.

Game Gallery edit

References edit

  1. Williams, Owen (16 February 2015). "How People Described The Internet In The 1990s is Hilarious". The Next Web. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  2. "In-person LAN parties > Online multiplayers". iMore. 15 June 2020. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  3. "The Game Archaeologist: Online gaming service providers of the '80s and '90s Massively Overpowered". Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  4. "The Magic of Early 90s 3D". GameZone. 4 May 2012. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  5. a b July 2010, PC Plus11. "The evolution of 3D games". TechRadar. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  6. Otty, Karl (28 September 2020). "In Defence of Tank Controls". Medium. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  7. "Educational Feature: A History and Analysis of Level Design in 3D Computer Games - Pt. 1". www.gamasutra.com. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  8. James, Matt (29 November 2018). "The Enduring Legacy of 'Half-Life,' 20 Years After Its Release". The Ringer. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  9. "The 10 Best Stories In '90s Horror Video Games". TheGamer. 7 June 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  10. "Le public des consoles de jeux prend de l'âge" (in fr). Le Monde.fr. 4 March 1997. https://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/1997/03/04/le-public-des-consoles-de-jeux-prend-de-l-age_3765876_1819218.html. 
  11. "La culture du jeu vidéo gagne les adultes" (in fr). Le Monde.fr. 20 November 1998. https://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/1998/11/20/la-culture-du-jeu-video-gagne-les-adultes_3697628_1819218.html. 
  12. "Les jeux électroniques creusent l'écart entre générations" (in fr). Le Monde.fr. 26 March 1999. https://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/1999/03/26/les-jeux-electroniques-creusent-l-ecart-entre-generations_3557631_1819218.html. 
  13. "Big Boxes". Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  14. "Big Box Extinction". Rome.ro. Retrieved 29 November 2021.
  15. Romano, Aja (17 March 2018). "Why we’ve been arguing about Lara Croft for two decades" (in en). Vox. https://www.vox.com/culture/2018/3/17/17128344/lara-croft-tomb-raider-history-controversy-breasts. 
  16. "The 'Oregon Trail' Studio Made a Game About Slavery. Then Parents Saw It". www.vice.com. Retrieved 28 November 2020.
  17. Batchelor, Carl (21 January 2015). "A Brief History of the European CRPG". Niche Gamer. https://nichegamer.com/a-brief-history-of-the-european-crpg/. 
  18. George, Ashley (18 November 2020). "The Other Spanish Golden Age". Language Magazine. https://www.languagemagazine.com/2020/11/18/the-other-spanish-golden-age/. 
  19. a b Martin, Douglas (17 November 2013). "Aleksandr Serebrov, 69, Dies; Cosmonaut Who Persevered (Published 2013)". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  20. a b "Auction: Nintendo Game Boy Flown In Space". Retro Thing. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  21. Eschner, Kat. "Mutiny in Space: Why These Skylab Astronauts Never Flew Again" (in en). Smithsonian Magazine. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/mutiny-space-why-these-skylab-astronauts-never-flew-again-180962023/. 
  22. Wild, Flint (8 June 2015). "Free Time in Space". NASA. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  23. "About Us – IGDA". Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  24. "How much Neon Genesis Evangelion is in Metal Gear Solid?". Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  25. "The Game Archaeologist crosses Meridian 59: The highlights". Engadget. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  26. "Finding Art in an Internet Game". archive.nytimes.com. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
  27. "Kabul gamers fret over favourite pastime with Taliban back in power" (in en). Reuters. 14 September 2021. https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/kabul-gamers-fret-over-favourite-pastime-with-taliban-back-power-2021-09-13/. 
  28. "Echec de la fusion entre Sega et Bandai" (in fr). Le Monde.fr. 29 May 1997. https://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/1997/05/29/echec-de-la-fusion-entre-sega-et-bandai_3762947_1819218.html. 
  29. ".beat: Swatch's Insane Attempt To Reinvent Time for the Internet". www.themarysue.com. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
  30. "PSO-World.com - Guides - .beat Time System". www.pso-world.com. Retrieved 15 November 2020.

1980-1989 · 2000-2009

Trends edit

Internet Gaming matures edit

In late 1999 EverQuest was released, popularizing MMORPGs.[1] The 2000's saw the release of popular MMORPG's such as World of Warcraft, and Runescape.[2] These MMORPGs offered unique social experiences for their players and resulted in in game social institutions being formed.[2]

New Economics of games edit

EVE Online in 2008.

The concept of free to play games primarily downloaded on the internet with small paid additions, microtransactions, is refined. This strategy begins to be seriously pursued by major game companies like EA by the end of the decade.[3]

Companies begin seriously marketing small DLC, with incidents like Horse Armor DLC for Oblivion initially attracting an incredulous response for selling something that did not include story or other additional content,[4] and becoming a common joke online by the end of the decade.[5][6]

Virtual in-game currencies that can be officially exchanged for real currencies or to replace membership costs emerge in games like Second Life and EVE Online[7][8]. In part due to concerns of inflation, EVE Online developer CCP Games hires an economist to manage the in-game economy.[9] In games that prohibit trading in game currency for real currency like World of Warcraft, and to a lesser extent games that allow it like EVE Online, under the table deals and grey markets for in game currency obtained by techniques like gold farming arise.[8][10] In game thefts for real world gain begin catching the public eye.[11]

Games as Apps, Mobile gaming in the 2000's edit

Tetris running on an iPod music player in 2006.

Games for non-gaming mobile computer devices gained popularity, often running on mobile media players like iPods, or on basic feature phones.[12]

Later the introduction of smartphones and application stores on them made mobile gaming more accessible.[13]

Popular Genres edit

  • Rhythm and Music games

Role Playing Games edit

Role Playing Games continued to evolve during this decade, and would incorporate technological features to enhance storytelling, such as increased use of voice acting, better CGI, and larger maps. 3D RPGs became quite common on PC and home console, while 2D RPGs remained common on handheld devices, typically reaching graphical parity with home RPGs of the 1990's while incorporating improved understanding of game design.

First Person Shooters edit

While First Person Shooters continued to be popular on PC, innovations in controllers and console capabilities lead to a boom in console first person shooters. These console shooters were typically slower paced then their PC counterparts, but found massive popularity and adoption among gamers.

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games edit

While Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) emerged before the 2000's, this decade was when they achieved mass popularity. Most notably World of Warcraft was released this decade.

Open World edit

As hardware increasingly became more powerful, game developers soon were able to craft comprehensive, vast 3D environments much more easily than before. Open World games blur the line between a subgenre, a design choice, and a game mechanic. Open world mechanics often were mixed with other genres for interesting results.

Constructive edit

One of the most notable video games to be released in the 2000s, despite the fact that it was only a paid public alpha, is Markus "Notch" Persson's 2009 masterpiece Minecraft, which was an instant success since the time of its release and has since become an ever-evolving video game running on various different platforms - eventually becoming one of the most popular games of all time. The 2009 version evolved in what was later known as the "Java Edition", due to the fact that it was completely written in Java, although this will be explored in later chapters. Earlier in the decade, similar games attempted to capture this idea of an open world where the player could do anything, though far less popularity.[14] Minecraft was influenced by the earlier 2009 voxel building game Infiniminer.[15][14] 2002 saw the beginnings of the game Dwarf Fortress.[14]

GTA and clones edit

Other, earlier, games that had enormous success in the 2000s were Rockstar Games's Grand Theft Auto III (2001), IV (2008) and the intermediate chapters Vice City (2002) and San Andreas (2004). They have spawned the GTA clone video game genre, which also encompasses many other video games, all characterized by being a hybrid of third-person shooters and driving simulators and often focusing on organized crime and mafia storylines.

There was a large demand for GTA-style games on the go, which included the well-received, but controversial, 2006 video game adaptation of The Godfather and its 2009 sequel, leading to innovative attempts to replicate the gameplay on very underpowered handheld hardware. This resulted in the release of acclaimed titles such as Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars in 2009 or the Payback clone duology (2001-2012).

2000 edit

Handheld Era edit

Samples of Tantalum, a key element in handheld electronics of the early 2000s.

High demand for handheld electronics of all kinds causes a severe shortage of the chemical element Tantalum.[16]

The People's Republic of China bans video game consoles edit

As a measure intended to protect the mental health of youth in China, game consoles are banned in the People's Republic of China.[17][18] This ban did not apply in Hong Kong or Macau, and consoles were often openly sold to wealthy gamers in grey market storefronts despite the ban during its later years.[19] There were also a few exceptions made, allowing Sony and Nintendo to make limited sanctioned attempts to enter the Chinese market.[20] Still, this restriction lead to computer and mobile games becoming the dominant mode of play in the country.[21]

2001 edit

War on Terror edit

The horrific attacks on September 11th, 2001 had huge repercussions on both culture and the global economy.[22][23] In response to the attacks, many games are delayed and edited out of respect to the victims of the tragedy.[24]

2002 edit

In the 2000's, gaming web comics became an important part of gamer culture. Pictured is a panel from the webcomic Ctrl+Alt+Del.

Game Jams edit

In early 2002 Game Jams begin taking off with developers. In Oakland, California the 0th Indie Game Jam is held from March 15th, to March 18th.[25] The first Ludum Dare follows shortly in April.[26]

2003 edit

Graham a 2003 oil painting by artist Kristoffer Zetterstrand inspired by Pixel Art in games.

Strategy Guides Peak edit

By 2003 the rush to write official strategy guides that release either on or before the launch of a game lead to poor quality writing in such guides.[27] Furthermore some strategy guides for Square Enix games required use of a non-free website in conjunction with the guide[28], which was problematic in an era before laptops and mobile devices were common, and when desktop computers were often kept in separate rooms from a television and console. Meanwhile a popular unofficial strategy guide website GameFAQs is acquired by CNET.[29]

2005 edit

World of Warcraft goes Viral edit

2005 was a landmark year for World of Warcraft, including a number of events which would have broader influence outside the game.

In 2005 a bug in the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft leads to the player transmissible status effect Corrupted Blood not always disappearing after a specific encounter, thus spreading across the game world and infecting over a million player characters in a virtual epidemic.[30]

The event became a subject of academic research by medical professionals, as the event was essentially a model of a real life epidemic.[31] In particular observations from the Corrupted Blood incident would later be used in 2020 by researchers looking to understand decision making during the COVID-19 pandemic.[32]

A video of the infamous total party wipe in the Leeroy Jenkins World of Warcraft raid gained enormous online popularity following its posting on the 10th of May 2005, though in 2017 the video was confirmed to have been staged.[33][34] The name Leeroy Jenkins became somewhat of an icon, and was used to refer to players who charged into dangerous situations with blind enthusiasm.

2005 Gallery edit

2007 edit

Great Recession edit

The Great Recession hits the economy in 2007, wiping out savings and deeply hurting the stock market.[35] Sales of video games and gaming hardware subsequently drop.[36] Compared to other industries, the gaming industry was relatively resilient.[37]

2008 edit

Tabula Rasa in Space edit

The creator of Ultima, Richard Garriott, flies to the International Space Station as a tourist.[38] He attempts to play the game Tabula Rasa into space, but this is denied for security reasons, bringing the code of Tabula Rasa with him and broadcasting a message to players instead.[39][40][41]

2008 Gallery edit

2000's Gallery edit

Screenshots edit

Events edit

References edit

  1. "Engineering Everquest". IEEE Spectrum: Technology, Engineering, and Science News. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  2. a b Silva, Matthew De. "What I learned from getting scammed by 12-year-olds". Quartz. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  3. Schiesel, Seth (21 January 2008). "The Video Game May Be Free, but to Be a Winner Can Cost Money (Published 2008)". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  4. "Download Oblivion's horse armor, for a price". Engadget. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  5. "Oblivion Horse Armor On Sale For Twice The Price". Kotaku. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
  6. "Industry must address horse armour 'joke'". MCV/DEVELOP. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
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  9. Hillis, Scott (16 August 2007). "Virtual world hires real economist". Reuters. Retrieved 4 December 2020.
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1990-1999 · 2010-2019

Trends edit

The changing economy of games edit

Online game marketplaces like Steam became quite popular as digital distribution of computer games takes off with gamers.[1] Other major publishers enter or redouble their efforts in the market, such as the launch of EA's Origin platform in 2011,[2] the revamping of Ubisoft Uplay in 2012,[3] the release of the Bethesda Launcher in 2016,[4] and the release of the Epic Games Store in 2018.[5] There were also less standard online storefronts that gained popularity, such as the launch of the indie focused platforms Humble Bundle in 2010,[6] and itch.io in 2013.[7] In the later part of the decade, cross play between platforms begins to see more adoption.[8]

Often new game storefronts and associated customer support systems were poorly secured, leading to large breaches of gamer information.[9] Casual games reach wide audiences with digital distribution on smartphone application stores,[10] as well as on social media websites such as Facebook.[11] The new frontier of digital game storefronts also attracted criminals, who took advantage of these new platforms and associated services by exploiting policy weaknesses to resell hacked keys or launder money gained through more traditional criminal acts.[12][13]

Many games go free to play, with monetization strategies such as in app purchases proving lucrative for some developers.[14][15] Dark patterns in many games enabled by internet connectivity begin to catch attention.[16] In particular, many games, both paid and free to play, add cosmetic and "Pay to Win" microtransactions and loot boxes.[17] Loot boxes in particular are linked to gambling addictions during this time.[18] These techniques raised concerns and potentially ran afoul of gambling laws, creating friction between the industry and regulators.[19] Unofficial sites that offered services such as skin gabling proliferated during this boom of in game cosmetics.[20][21]

A lack of moderation on online storefronts lead to a number of controversial and low quality games being released.[22][23]

Some games see success on crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter,[24] despite often lacking solid prototypes.[25] This also helps to revive old styles of games no longer seen as viable by major industry players.[25] At the same time, a number of high profile scams and failures shake confidence in crowdfunding as a model for video game funding.[26]

Many of the first widely available cloud gaming platforms were launched during this time. Some launches have problems, though the potential of the technology is acknowledged.[27]

The ebb and flow of sanctions on Iran during this decade helped shape their burgeoning game industry.[28][29][30] Notably, their small but hardy homegrown industry managed to compete against mostly pirated international imports for its domestic marketshare of about 20 million gamers.[28][31]

Developer treatment enters the public eye edit

This decade saw the increasing awareness of gamers of frequent poor treatment faced by video game developers in some work environments. While imperfect conditions can exist in any occupation and issues had existed in the game industry previously, this decade saw a large deterioration in relations between companies and developers.

Tactics used by companies which hurt developers during this time included misclassifying workers to dodge labor laws, expecting a cycle of long crunch times[32] with unemployment following immediately after, and creating a fear of retaliation so that employees would be reluctant to speak to the press.[33]

In late 2016 the video game industry saw its first major strike, following a breakdown of negotiations between a handful of major companies and the Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), with 450 members picketing the company Insomniac Games.[32] This lead to industry concern that game developers would observe these workers demanding better and possibly unionizing as a result.[32]

Quality Assurance (QA) Testing entered the spotlight as a field where some companies were mistreating employees.[34][35] The practice of using Bug Quotas in QA testing in particular were in decline around 2019, as it created a perverse incentive which resulted in counterproductive work being done.[36]

From 2009 to 2019 game developer views on unionization shifted radically from a small percentage of developers in favor of unionization to much broader support.[37] Notably, in the United Kingdom an official trade union for video game developers was formed in 2018.[38] Some American politicians supported unionization efforts within the gaming industry.[39]

Not all companies mistreated their developers this decade. As a result of increased public awareness of these issues, companies such as Nintendo and Media Molecule use their avoidance of crunch as a symbol of ethical leadership within the video game industry.[40][41]

Player Wellbeing edit

As video game industry grew dramatically this decade,[42] interest grew in safeguarding the wellbeing of gamers.

Following industry support for gamer healthcare, the Obama Administration supported an initiative for gamers to get healthcare coverage in the United States of America from 2015 to the end of the administration's term in office in 2017.[43][44][45]

On May 25th, 2018 the World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes gaming addiction as a medical disorder, though there was some contention around the issue.[46] The description of gaming addiction provided was very specific, and was only applied to those neglecting basic needs to play games for extended periods of time.[46] Research this decade also suggested that gaming may have positive effects when performed in balance with other life activities.[47]

Mobile operating systems iOS and Android focused on digital wellbeing tools in 2018.[48][49] While meant for general use, the granular settings of these tools allowed either parental or self imposed limits to be set on game time specifically.[50]

People's Republic of China opens up to consoles edit

By January 2013 it was openly rumored that the ban on the sale of video game consoles in the People's Republic of China would be lifted.[51]

On January 7th, 2014 the People's Republic of China temporarily eases their ban of video game consoles put in place in the year 2000.[52][53] The ban was permanently ended on July 25th, 2015.[54][55]

Decline of the Physical Mediums edit

As the industry shifted to online focused markets, the industry shifted away from traditional physical ones. This decade was especially transitional, as though physical games remained an important factor in the industry throughout the decade, digital games went from a small niche to the favored future of game distribution.[56] Online shops gave serious competition to physical stores, leading to large chain stores floundering by the end of the decade.[57] This also affected other games related media. Continuing from the late 2000's[58] game manuals continued to shrink and were abandoned all together in some cases.[59] Major publishers of Strategy Guides went from paper to online during this time.[60]

Automotive Gaming edit

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announces partnership with Atari for games as Easter eggs on Tesla electric cars.[61]

German automakers Audi and Mercedes-Benz both experimented with in car gaming concepts in 2019.[62][63]

Rebirth of Arcades edit

To a limited extent, Arcades saw a small revival during this time.[64] In the 2000's arcades had struggled to compete with increasingly better home gaming experiences. Recognizing that Arcades could no longer rely on the technical dominance they once did, arcades reinvented themselves. Often this meant appealing to nostalgic adults and young adults looking for a new experience with barcades.[65] Others focused on special experiences that couldn't be had at home without spending significant amounts of money, such as virtual reality, to mixed success.[66][67]

Popular Genres edit

  • Open World games
  • Survival games
  • Shooters
  • Action adventure games
  • Rougelikes
  • Platformers
  • Retro revival games
  • Walking Simulators
  • Visual Novels

Notable Cross Platform Games of the 2010s edit

2010 edit

Mass Effect 2 edit

Outcry from conservative media on the first Mass Effect lead to LGBTQ themes in Mass Effect 2 being suppressed.[68]

Read more about Mass Effect 2 on Wikipedia.

Call of Duty: Black Ops edit

This game attracted media attention for it's secret level featuring John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon, Robert McNamara, and Fidel Castro cooperatively fighting against zombies in the Pentagon.[69]

Read more about Call of Duty: Black Ops on Wikipedia.

Later edit

The Witcher 3 edit

Final Fantasy XV edit

Released in 2016 Final Fantasy XV is known for it's well written characters and real time combat system.[70] Final Fantasy XV is also known for the extensive care which was taken in modeling it's in game food.[71]

2010 edit

American Marines playing a video game tournament in Afghanistan in 2010.

eInk games edit

A few makers of eInk based ebook readers experiment with simple games that play well with the slow refresh displays used on these devices, though the market for such games quickly peters out.[72]

2011 edit

A GameStop in San Francisco in 2010. The 2011 ruling of Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association lifted previous sales restrictions in the state of California.[73]

Video Games as Speech edit

In 2011 the United States Supreme Court rules video games are protected speech under the First Amendment of the United States constitution.[73] This overruled state legislation restricting the purchase of games based on game content.[73] Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the majority opinion, which was backed by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Justice Anthony Kennedy.[74][75]

Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Stephen Breyer dissented in this case.[74] Justice Stephen Breyer cited court rulings allowing similar prohibitions on sexual content,[74] while Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that a constitutional right to free speech does not fully apply when speaking to youth.[76][74] Justice Antonin Scalia criticized the opinion given by Justice Clarence Thomas,[74] noting that if such a position was taken, it would also lead to the erosion of the religious and political freedoms of youth in areas outside video games.[77] Thus this case not only strengthened civil liberties in the United States of America as it relates to video games, it helped set a much broader precedent supporting general freedom of speech by youth.

2012 edit

People playing a games in a library in 2012.

Video Games as Artwork edit

In November 2012 the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City debuted an applied design exhibition of 14 noteworthy video games.[78][79] This prompted some backlash by those who did not consider video games to be artwork.[80]

Satellite technology in Games edit

The 2012 release of Super Snowcross by EA (Electronic Arts) capitalizes on the public data provided by the ASTER sensor of the NASA earth observational satellite Terra to make realistic game maps based on real world locations based on data collected by the satellite, improving realism by replacing earlier randomly generated terrain.[81][82]

2013 edit

Microconsoles: Boom & Bust edit

A number of crowdfunded microconsoles are launched this year, with hopes of finding a new approach to the console industry that was more open and inexpensive then what traditional consoles offered.[83] Several years later it becomes clear that none of the early microconsoles were long lived successes,[84][85][86] though the boom did create an interesting period of gaming history.

Eighth Generation of Game Consoles edit

2013 saw the eighth generation of game consoles begin in earnest.

2014 edit

Digital catches Physical edit

In 2014 digital sales of games roughly reach parity with physical sales of games.[87] The convenience of digital games was especially resonant with owners of portable devices, with many gamers growing accustomed to not needing to carry multiple cartridges with them in addition to the system itself.[88]

Twitch Plays Pokémon edit

An experimental crowed source play through of the GameBoy game Pokémon Red leads 35,000 collective players to beat the game in 16 days.[89] The immense internet sensation created by Twitch Plays Pokémon spurs other creators to create more interactive content on streaming platforms such as Twitch.[90][91]

2015 edit

A EB Games game shop in 2015

Kojima & Konami edit

In early 2015 Konami and a well known then Konami employee Hideo Kojima had a falling out, resulting in Kojima going independent.[92]

Konami also attempted to remove independent journalistic coverage of the event.[93][94] This backfired, as this action attracted the attention of larger media outlets.[95]

Death of Satoru Iwata edit

Satoru Iwata, CEO of Nintendo, passes away at the age of 55, shocking the industry and resulting in a number of tributes made.[96][97][98] Respects were paid across the industry, including from people working at rival companies who respected the impact and character of Iwata.[99][100]

2017 edit

Year of Innovation edit

2017 is noted for a number of high quality or mold breaking games releasing that year, like Breath of the Wild, Cuphead, Nier: Automata, Sonic Mania, Gravity Rush 2, Pyre, and Super Mario Odyssey.[101][102] Nier: Automata was noted for it's nihilistic tone.[103][104]

2017 also saw the release of new ways of gaming. The Nintendo Switch was released this year as the first popular hybrid game console, combining a portable console and a home console in one unit.[105] Netflix tested out interactive movies this year.[106]

End of Miiverse edit

On November 8th, 2017 the Miiverse social networking service is shuttered.[107] Miiverse had been Nintendo's gaming social network since 2012.[107] An unofficial community archive of Miiverse content was made before the shutdown occurred.[108]

Blockchain Mania edit

In 2017 blockchain technology saw significant hype.[109] Later in 2017 the early blockchain game Cryptokitties is released, crowding the Ethereum network with over one million USD worth of transactions made after a few days.[110][111]

2018 edit

Rapper Soulja Boy promoting Bandai Namco's JUMP FORCE at E3 2018.

Celebrities in Gaming edit

2018 saw several celebrities attempt to get involved in the gaming industry, primarily by leveraging their name or brand to partner with existing manufacturers.

Rapper Soulja Boy briefly launches a console line, with Soulja Boy claiming 5 million consoles sold before withdrawing from the market.[112][113] Consoles were existing models, such as the Chinese Fuze microconsole.[114]

Telltale Games edit

In September 2018, noted studio Telltale Games abruptly collapses.[115] Following a failure to raise needed funding, most employees are fired and given 30 minutes to leave.[116] Inability to retain talented employees, poor management, dated technology, and increasing competition from other studios are common factors cited in the collapse of the studio.[117][118]

2019 edit

Scapegoating games edit

In the United States, politicians consider a ban on violent games, blaming violent video games for recent mass shootings despite little evidence linking the two together.[119][120][121]

In response to the shootings some stores and television networks reduced or eliminated advertisements for violent video games.[122][123][124] Additionally, lawmakers in Pennsylvania revived discussions on a 10% tax on mature rated games in response to the shootings.[125][126]

"We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome video games that are now commonplace" - President Donald Trump, Speech in August 2019.[127][128]

Auto chess edit

2019 saw the release of a number of games release in the new genre Auto Chess.[129]

Runescape edit

A prolonged power outage in Venezuela leads to an economic shock in the MMORPG Runescape.[130]

2010's gaming gallery edit

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2000-2009 · 2020-2029

Trends edit

COVID-19 edit

The game industry booms, as people hunker down at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] Some game retailers initially resisted closing down during lockdowns by declaring themselves essential businesses, to widespread criticism.[2] Numerous high profile games are delayed due to COVID-19.[3][4] Game development companies move to work from home, with some such as Square Enix planning to allow work from home after the pandemic ends.[5][6] Animal Talking leverages the Animal Crossing: New Horizons as a medium to create a highly successful talk show that rivals and outcompetes traditional media during early pandemic restrictions.[7]

In contrast to many other economic sectors that are drastically affected by the pandemic, the video game industry has been more resilient. Most video game developers, publishers, and operators have been able to maintain operations with employees w:remote working to sustain game development and digital releases, though some productivity issues arose.[8] With many people globally at home and unable to work, online gaming has observed record numbers of players during the pandemic as a popular activity to counter physical distancing for society, a practice recommended by the w:World Health Organization[9] that helped boost revenues for many companies in the gaming industry.[10][11]

The pandemic simulation game Plague Inc., which was originally released eight years prior in 2012,[12] gains massive popularity, with the developers releasing an update to enhance the educational experience of the game in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.[13] The developer of Plague Inc. also donated $250,000 to CEPI and WHO to help fight the pandemic.[13] The older 2008 flash game Pandemic 2 also experiences a surge of popularity.[14]

As things began to reopen, masks were still common at gaming events, such as can be seen here at the 2021 Taipei Game Show.

In 2021 the Truck Simulator series held a virtual trucking event in solidarity with real truckers delivering COVID-19 vaccines.[15] Players from around the globe organized a virtual graduation ceremony using Minecraft.[16]

COVID-19 increased the public profile of virtual reality applications,[17] potentially increasing interest in VR gaming as a result. AR gaming proved to help some seeking reprieve from isolation.[18] As gyms closed, interest in Exergaming greatly increased by those looking to get fit while isolating.[19][20]

Though its launch was delayed by COVID-19, the first Super Nintendo World theme park in Osaka, Japan was shown in a video tour online by Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto.[21][22]

Groups dedicated to tracking the availability of game consoles during the shortages sometimes assisted in finding COVID-19 supplies.[23]

Games as a Political Vehicle edit

In the run up to the 2020 United States elections, politicians used online multiplayer games and game streaming to reach out to voters safely during the pandemic.[24][25] The Biden campaign operated a custom Fortnite island with its own minigames.[26] In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, which supports user made content, digital yard signs were distributed by the Biden campaign.[27] Though the official Trump campaign mocked campaigning in games,[28] independent efforts by his supporters also made Animal Crossing signs,[29] as well as using the massively popular game Among Us to promote their candidate.[30] Following the election a video was posted of President Biden playing Mario Kart Arcade GP DX with Naomi Biden at Camp David.[31][32]

Developer Welfare Concerns edit

Concerns for developer welfare continued from the previous decade into the 2020's.

In particular there were a number of high profile incidents at major game developer companies.[33][34] This lead to increased calls for, and corporate pushback against, unionizing.[35][36][37]

Concerns of child labor in the industry were also raised.[38][39]

Popular Genres edit

2020 edit

A Manhattan GameStop is boarded up in the turbulent year of 2020. Many American retailers boarded up their windows in preparation for turbulent events.[41]

Apple vs. Epic edit

In August 2020, Apple and Epic begin disputing payment systems on the Apple App store, resulting in the game Fortnite being removed from the App Store.[42] Coupled with increasing scrutiny from lawmakers, Apple reduces their cut from 30% to 15% for developers making under a million dollars annually, a move said to benefit indie game developers.[43][44]

Ninth generation of video game consoles edit

The first ninth generation consoles launch in November 2020.[45] 3D audio, SSD storage, and raytracing support is a common trend in this generation.[46][47] Initially supplies of new PS5 and Xbox Series consoles are quickly bought up.[48][49]

2021 edit

Economy edit

GameStop Stock edit

GameStop stock chart from 2021.

Defying expectations, in January 2021 Redditors send the stock of the physical game retailer GameStop soaring over 1600%.[50][51] This had broader implications for the overall market, as the reactions from some firms caused some members of Congress to begin looking into the event.[52]

Blockchain edit

CryptoDragons, one of many NFTs which attempted to find a niche in gaming.

Some game developers and game artists turn to non-fungible tokens as an additional revenue stream, with concerns over environmental impact and issues with rights leading to controversy.[53][54][55]

Major PC game distributor Valve banned games using blockchain, NFT, and cryptocurrency from it's distribution platform Steam by October 15th, 2021.[56] Competitor Epic continued to allow such games on it's Epic Games Store.[57]

Collectables edit

Collectables soared in value, with a sealed and graded copy of Super Mario 64 selling for over 1.5 million US dollars.[58][59] This was the first publicized instance of a single copy of a video game selling for over one million US dollars.[60] This was quickly surpassed, with an unopened copy of Super Mario Bros. selling for 2 million dollars.[61][62]

Mint edit

The United States Mint mixed game collecting with coin collecting with the production of the manganese-brass 2021 New Hampshire American Innovation $1 coin, which honored Ralph Baer, and the development of the Magnavox Odyssey.[63] The reverse of the coin was designed by artist Christina Hess and depicted gameplay generated by the Odyssey prototype, the "Brown Box".[63][64] Upon release the coin proved to be popular among collectors, selling 785,700 coins in 6 days.[65]

This is recognized as the first time the United States Mint created currency featuring a video game.[66]

Other edit

2021 also saw increased investment in gaming companies by sovereign wealth funds.[67]

Technology edit

Neural Implants edit

In 2021 the game Pong was used to demonstrate a wireless neural implant to the public.[68]

Xbox 2042 edit

In October 2021 Microsoft released a speculative concept of what an Xbox might look like in 2042.[69][70] Technologies included in this work of speculative fiction included a holographic interface, a neural interface, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and quantum technology.[71][72] The fictitious console were touted as being "90% smaller", while using 1 exaFlop of performance to ouptup 32k video in between 240 and 480 frames per second.[73][74]

Nuclear Handheld Game Console Mod edit

Tritium radioluminescence is responsible for powering the mod.

Ian Charnas attracted much attention in 2021 with the development of a nuclear powered handheld game mod.[75]

The modded console captured the output of 25 vials luminescent Trintium vials placed between 2 conventional solarphotovoltaic cells, and then stored the continuous 1.5 microwatts of output energy in thin film solid state batteries.[76][77][75] The console was not capable of continuous operation, but could play a clone of Tetris for 55 minutes[76] once every one to two months.[75][78] The system power source should last for 25 years,[76] though some media sources stated the system to have an operational life of 100 years.[75]

The system was raffled to raise proceeds for the charity Chernobyl Children International.[79][80]

Culture edit

For the first time, the Hugo Awards included video games as finalists in 2021.[81]

The International Olympic Committee hosted their first esports event, the Olympic Virtual Series, beginning on May 13th, 2021.[82][83] The opening ceremony for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games on July 23rd, 2021 included music derived from a number of video games.[84][85]

Some American politicians cited video games as a negative factor in society.[86][87][88]

Fall of Kabul edit

Following the collapse of the Afghanistan government, gamers in Afghanistan feared that games would once again be banned in their country.[89]

2022 edit

Gaming in Russia edit

Major console manufacturers left the Russian market, though they were not popular with gamers there due to a preference for PC gaming.[90]

Notable Cross Platform Games of the 2020's edit

Umurangi Generation edit

A 2020 photography game set in an future apocalyptic Tauranga, New Zealand.[91] The game was developed by a Māori developer, and was noted for it's themes of colonization from the perspective of the colonized.[92][93]

Read more about Umurangi Generation on Wikipedia.

Gallery edit

External Resources edit

References edit

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  2. "GameStop closes all stores". CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/20/tech/gamestop-open-essential-business/index.html. 
  3. McWhertor, Michael (10 September 2020). "No More Heroes 3 delayed to 2021". Polygon. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  4. Warren, Tom (11 August 2020). "Microsoft delays Halo Infinite to 2021". The Verge. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  5. G, Alec (21 May 2020). "Nintendo Developers Experiencing 'Big Limitations' From Working at Home Because of COVID-19 Pandemic". Tech Times. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  6. Clayton, Natalie (25 November 2020). "Square Enix will let employees work from home permanently". PC Gamer. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  7. Farokhmanesh, Megan (14 May 2020). "Late night's hottest talk show is in Animal Crossing". The Verge. Retrieved 2 December 2020.
  8. Schreier, Jason (21 April 2020). "Gaming Sales Are Up, but Production Is Down". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  9. Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named who video games
  10. Romero, Nick (19 March 2020). "Game (still) on: How coronavirus is impacting the gaming industry". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  11. Howley, Daniel (18 March 2020). "The world is turning to video games amid coronavirus outbreak". Yahoo!. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  12. "How to Get Rich Simulating the Deaths of Billions of People" (in en-us). Wired. https://www.wired.com/2012/12/plague-inc/. 
  13. a b Thompson, Benjamin; Howe, Nick (16 December 2020). "Could you prevent a pandemic? A very 2020 video game". Nature. doi:10.1038/d41586-020-03594-6. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  14. Leskin, Paige. "An old flash computer game is getting a 2nd life because of its eerie similarities to the coronavirus outbreak, and its website's CEO says it has too much of an 'educational value' to shut it down". Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/coronavirus-pandemic-2-computer-game-second-life-amid-outbreak-2020-3. 
  15. Good, Owen S. (22 January 2021). "Truck Simulator event invites players to deliver COVID-19 vaccines" (in en). Polygon. https://www.polygon.com/2021/1/22/22244780/euro-truck-simulator-2-american-hauling-hope-covid-event-dates. 
  16. "Inside a Global Graduation Ceremony, Held Entirely in 'Minecraft'". Rolling Stone. 1 June 2020. https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/global-graduation-quaranteen-minecraft-1007713/. 
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2010-2019 · Computer games