Do you enjoy videogames? That’s right, me too. Videogames are one of the most popular hobbies in the world, luring more and more fans from all generations each and every day. This industry provides us many hours of fun and entertainment, which we could spent that time doing something else, but everyone’s passion for videogames grows rapidly even as we speak.
To celebrate this special passion of ours, I gathered in this article 10 major key moments before the XX Century that helped define this amazing industry and give us all the excitment the videogames have. If you’re a “videogames veteran” enjoy these pure nostalgia moments, and if you’re a “new generation gamer”, learn a few more things about the industry you like so much.
Odyssey – The first console released
Before Odyssey came out to the market, videogames were just a good way to program computers like PDP-1. However, unlike what happens nowadays, videogames were also considered as a huge technology progress instead of a money-maker machine.
All of this changed when Ralph Baer, a talented programmer, decided to create and further release Odyssey in the year of 1972, which curiously failed in getting any positive feedback… The facts behind this failure are very simple: poor advertising and on top of that it wasn’t compatible with most of the TV’s at the time. Obviously, the (few) videogames released for this console were awfuly primitive.
Sure, this console may gives us many reasons to laugh at it, but it sure does deserve the credt for being the first videogames console to be released to the public.
The CD-Rom’s appearance
Even before the CD-ROM came out, almost every videogame was created and allocated in computers with no more than 1,44 megabytes of space. This technology was an amazing progress on storing great amounts of data, which was way better than relying on single PC’s to store the videogames created.
The CD-ROM technology was introduced in 1982, although it was in the 1990’s that the videogames creators noticed all the amazing potential in this small round disc. However, it took a while until the fans could experience good games released in CD’s, since the very first games created on these discs were bits of Full Motion Video poorly programmed.
Taking this in consideration, the CD-ROM had already replaced the floppy disk in storage data and videogames creation.
The arrival of the Online
The Internet was released to the public in the 1990’s, predicting already a huge success throughout the world. However and what videogames are concerned, it was only possible to play against other human players with First Person Shooter’s and while using local networks, which means the players needed to be isolated in a group and connected between them all.
If games like Quake popularized the online PC gaming as a fresh new experience in the industry, the consoles still had a long way to go. This all changed when Sega released their most underrated console: Dreamcast. The Dreamcast was a pioneer in the online console gaming, which allowed the players to challenge other players from all around the world, like what the PC could already do.
Nowadays, the online service is embed in every console system and I’m sure it will continue to literally bring the world to our hands for many years to come.
First Person Shooters rising
When we mention FPS in general it’s hard to believe that 15 years ago most people were unaware of this gaming genre, especially the harcore gamers. However, many PC gamers certainly remember playing the first and most primitive FPS ever released.
This simplicity quickly changed when iD Software released to the public two major games: Wolfenstein 3D and Doom. Both games quiclky became the spotlight for controversy, due to its insane action and gore. The years that followed these releases were crucial to the FPS gaming, with a key game being released to the Nintendo 64: Goldeneye 007. This game was pioneer in the 3D FPS gaming, presenting us the well-known headshots and a modern fast-paced gaming.
There are many titles which deserve honorable mentions, like Half-Life, Quake, Unreal Tournament, Call of Duty and many more games in the genre.
Pong: simple and effective
Are you one of those who thinks that Pong was the first game ever created? Then you’re wrong. William Higinbotham, a renown physicist, created a game entitled Tennis for Two in 1959, which was slightly different from Pong in two aspects: it’s side view instead of top view and it was released for the…osciloscope, a device that measures the signal waves.
The idea of creating tennis games was becoming very popular in the early 70’s. When Pong was created and released by Atari, the company was sued by Ralph Baer. who claimed that this game was a shameless piracy copy of his previous released game, Tennis (yes, very suggestive).
This whole mess generated the first court case in the videogames history, which Atari won and becoming the great company we know today.
The inglorious (and temporary) Nintendo defeat
The early 90’s were also a sort of bittersweet for Nintendo. This company completely dominated the videogames industry with the help of a “small” company getting started in the business: Sony. This two comrades made the fans delightful with their amazing and modern games, since Sega was still far behind in the technology field.
However, it began to appear rumors that Sony wanted to break the “deal” and release its own CD-ROM based console, since Super Nintendo and Mega Drive were about to be released with this modern system, which didn’t happen.
After this little “conflict”, Nintendo terminated all the connections with Sony and the rest is history: Nintendo claimed the top of the world and Sony released their (and ours) beloved Playstation.
Commodore 64: The best selling computer ever
You would never dream that this machine could make such an impact, right? But it did. The truth is that no other computer could beat the record sales of the mythical Commodore 64. And be aware that this PC was released in 1982, even before Macintosh, Windows 3.0, etc.
To date it records 17 million units sold, which sales were interrupted when the company that created the console declared bankruptcy. The real reason why we should remember Commodore 64 is due to its significance in literally holding the videogames when this industry colapsed in the 80’s.
This console introduced amazing and innovative features in videogames, and it was thanks to Commodore that some companies like Electronic Arts are what they are nowadays.
Videogames industry “crashes” in 1983
Maybe some of you veteran gamers know what I’m talking about, am I right? The 1983 crash had a brutal impact on videogames, with many companies shutting down and declaring bankruptcy. It collapsed so bad that videogames and consoles almost disappeared from the market, with the exception of primitive PC games and Arcade machines.
Of course that in the early 80’s many people didn’t care about this industry at all, probably because most people wasn’t familiar with this industry. There are inumerous reasons why this “crash” occured, but most likely it was due to the companies greed and desire for money.
At the time, the market was flooded with exactly look-alike consoles with the same games and systems and the companies hadn’t any new perspectives or any fresh ideas. The entire colapse gain even more strength when games like E.T. came to the market, which is still considered one of the worst games ever made. Which by the way, it was E.T. who put Atari on the bankruptcy in the first place. We just have to be glad that some pioneer men dedicated their time to put this industry back together.
The crazy 90’s
The 90’s became indelibly marked by the fact that Sega and Nintendo became two of the most powerful brands in the industry (at least until Sony arrived). Sega estabilished a dominating position not only for its catchy and flashy comercials, but also for creating a character that could rival with Nintendo’s powerful weapon Super Mario: it’s of course, Sonic!
The “battle” between these two companies only really started when Mega Drive and Super Nintendo competed in order to claim the “best console ever released”. They had similar technology systems and their amazing games led fans to an uncomparable joy!
Later on, Sony took the “underdog” position to release their debut console: Playstation, one of the most successful consoles in history.
NES: the symbolic breakthrough
Last but not least… It was absolutely impossible not to mention this the creation of one of the most acclaimed consoles in the world: the Nintendo Entertainment System. To make it brief, NES had an outstading influence on how the world saw this industry, mainly because of its great and addictive titles. One of this titles it’s impossible not to mention: Super Mario, which with his simple personality was able to conquer the world’s attention.
The media also had a very importante part on this role, since the NES was advertised in every possible way: TV ads, posters, clothes, radio, magazines, etc etc, leading people to be so amazed that they almost mandatorly had to buy one of these consoles.
The NES’ games introduced innovated aspects like improved graphics and new game play concepts.