To understand the history of online games, you have to look back to the beginnings of the computer game. The early 1950’s had dinosaur computers complete with cathode ray tubes for the screen display. A college student created a game much like Tic-Tac-Toe for a class project. The 1960’s had MIT students programming a game called “Space war” that could be played with two people over a primitive network.
The late 1960’s brought the first “real” video games like table tennis and shooter games. Atari burst onto the electronic entertainment scene in the early 1970’s with the infamous Pong. Arcades started opening up because of the invention of the coin-operated video game.
The late 1970’s was the start of the video game craze and the appearance of the home computer in more and more households. As the home computers grew more popular, people started writing their own games for them. These programming hobbyists traded and sold these home-grown games in local markets. Other changes in the 1970’s included the transition to game cartridges for the home gaming consoles. That meant the people could collect games cartridges for one base unit instead of having bulky game console systems.
A world of change was happening for the video and computer game craze in the 1980’s, but online gaming wasn’t even a glimmer in anyone’s eye yet. New games were created that incorporated better sound and graphics. Pole Position and Pac-man were two that achieved big popularity. Nintendo introduced its first gaming system.
The 1990’s could be known as the rise of 3-D and multimedia, which was a defining moment in the history of online games. The introduction of the intellectual adventure game Myst set the stage for gaming on the CD-ROM format. Fancier 3-D graphics hardware brought the game Quake to the forefront Quake was classified as an FPS (first person shooter) game. By the late 1990’s and the exponential growth of the internet, MUDs (multi-user dungeons) became almost a requirement to play any type of game online. Graphical interfaces changed and soon people all over the world were playing against each other not only in FPS games but also in real time strategy games (RTS games) as well as third person games like Grand Theft Auto.
The dawn of the 21st century has proven to be dominated by the DVD-CD-ROM. All the major game companies like Sony Playstation and Microsoft’s X-Box use this technology and even the latest home computers incorporate it. It has changed the history of online games. These gaming systems now have networking capabilities so you can play with other people in real time from all over the world. Broadband internet services are growing exponentially to accommodate the craze of playing these online games.
The history of online games is ever-changing. The gaming systems like the Playstation and X-Box have proprietary games, meaning you cannot use them interchangeably. However, with a PC and internet, all you need is a good computer with the latest software that can handle Flash plug-ins which is compatible with most computer systems. What this means for you is that you can still play those intense, 3-D realistic games with people all around the world using the internet as your network.
The drawback to the latest and greatest technology for online games is that what you buy today could be old hat by next year. Luckily, for the serious gamers, the resale industry for these online games is huge. This resale industry is just another element to the ever-changing history of online games.
|© 1990-2005 Donald J. Mabry / The Historical Text Archive|