A Brief History of Gaming, Part 3 – The Blossoming
Humans have always loved to play games. From Peek-a-Boo as babies, to Hide-and-Seek as children, to Laser Tag and Pokemon Go for teens, to more adult games like Texas Hold ‘Em, Backgammon and Chess, we love to play our entire lives.
In the last few decades, the world of video games has seen a spectacular explosion of transformation and evolution.
We left off in 1972 with the release of the game-changer (get it) Pong.
The next year, 101 BASIC Computer Games came out in a magazine. This was a compilation of games authored by David Ahl, in the BASIC computer language, the programming code of the time. Later, in the 80s, it was republished in a book. That book would sell a million copies, the first computer book to do that! Some of the games included were Hamurabi (HMRABI) and Lunar Lander.
The very first FPS (first person shooter) style game emerged in 1974. Maze Wars was a labyrinth of wire-frame graphics passages for players to explore. We’ve come a long way!
In 1975, Atari launched Pong for home use. Nolan Bushnell, the founder, couldn’t get anyone in the toy business to partner with him, so the first sales of the Pong home units were sold in the sporting goods department of Sears Roebuck.
1976 saw the introduction of a text-based game called Adventure. A text-based game inspired by Dungeons & Dragons, players dove into a world of caves filled with trials and treasures, magic and monsters. This game paved the way for thousands of role-playing computer games. The original author, William Crowther, basically opened the door for interactive fiction and adventure games.
The next year, in 1977, the Atari 2600 was released, revolutionizing the industry. Games in color! A controller with a joystick! Different difficulty level settings! And most importantly, different games on changeable cartridges. The home video game system was born, and millions of Americans became home gamers.
In 1978, Taito’s Space Invaders invaded Japan. The rage caused a shortage of 100-yen coins. In less than a year, 60,000 units invaded the US, and Americans spent millions of quarters fighting back the alien horde.
Mattel came out with the Intellivision, in 1979, sweeping the market. With more sophisticated controls, and better graphics than the Atari, the Intellivision took off, selling three million units.
Stay tuned for the 80s!!