Tuesday, 19 October 2010

The History of Game. 1950's to 1970's

Well apparently, the very first video game was a device called the 'Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device' created by Americans Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann. Wikipedia says:
"It is described using eight vacuum tubes to simulate a missile firing at a target and contains knobs to adjust the curve and speed of the missile. Because computer graphics could not be drawn electronically at the time, small targets were drawn on a simple overlay and placed on the screen."

This was developed in the 1940's. There is some debate about whether this device can actually be called a 'video game'. It all depends on what your definition of video game actually is. Cambridge dictionary says this:
Video Game. Noun
      'a game in which the player controls moving pictures on a screen by pressing buttons.'
Well that sums it up for me.
Obviously we could go into more detail about what a video game is (using graphics displayed on a video device such as a TV or monitor or any electronic game displayed using a video output device etc etc), but i like this Cathode Ray Tube. "Video Game" or not, you can't argue that it was the first electrical device made for playing a game... simple as the game may be.

In the 1950's, (about 5 years later actually) Alexander Sandy Douglas, who studied at the University of Cambridge, was thought to have created the first AI (Artificial Intelligence) with his game 'Naughts and Crosses'. It really is amazing how such an old game is still enjoyed today, even more so than some of the very recent games. This game involves placing Naughts and Crosses in a grid... well I'm sure you know the rest. He did a lot of other cool things too. He wrote:
"In 1980 I worked out that an Apple with two floppy disc drives was about 300 times as powerful as the Pegasus at 1/300th of the cost."
In the same decade Willy Higinbotham developed 'Tennis for Two' which was the first game to be released for the public. It was made for the Brookhaven National Laboratory where he worked, to tame the boredom of visitors. 
The New York Times wrote:
"The game, primitive by modern standards, featured two control boxes whose buttons prompted a bright green ball of streaking light to bounce back and forth over a symbolic net. The action took place on a round oscilloscope screen that measured all of five inches across."

And then in the 1960's to 1970's games like Astroids, Space Invaders and Pac-man came about in the form of arcade game consoles. It's amazing how even i, born in 1990, know and enjoy these great classic games. They really are timeless, which is more than i can say for most modern games of today.
"The first home 'console' system was developed by Ralph Baer  and his associates. Development began in 1966 ... eventually licensing the technology to produce the world's first home video game console. The system was released in the USA in 1972 by Magnavox, called the Magnavox Odyssey. "

I guess this is the great revolution of gaming. When big companies began devising how to take over the worl- i mean urm, giving us fun-filled enjoyment. And it's around this time, that my first personal gaming experiences take place. Yes i was born in 1990 and no i haven't actually had the honor of playing on a Magnavox Odyssey. However in the coming years, thanks to my two older brothers, i am introduced to my first ever game... plus we were poor. Hehe...

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