As you sit playing your favorite MMORPG or Halo 4, it’s easy to forget a time when there were no computer games, and the only games that were made for in-home use were on gaming consoles. Do you remember your first computer? Some might recall the Commodore 64, or C64, as it was often referred to, which was released in the early ‘80s. As Retrothing.com reminds us, others might have first owned a Macintosh Classic that came out in 1990,
Although the first computer games were created as early as the 1940s, they were not available for home use until many decades later. Initial games were basic and really did not take a great deal of thought from the players or the computers, but they were groundbreaking achievements and were considered the start of the computer revolution, according to Time Magazine.
The Early Computer Games
The first computer games were simple games like Nim (a game the computer wins the majority of the time) Tic Tac Toe and Checkers. These are very simple games with few outcomes, so they were much easier to program than more sophisticated games that would come later. While the games were simple, the concept of playing a game on a computer was such a new idea, they helped to break strides in computer technology. Can you imagine being excited about winning a game of Checkers against a computer today?
Chess Makes Computer Gaming More Complex
It wasn’t until the late 1950s that computer games became slightly more complex. This would be when the first chess game program was created and was able to successfully analyze four moves ahead. When you think about it, that was pretty revolutionary at the time, but just imagine trying to set up a massive mainframe computer in a room the size of your house just to play.
Computers, let alone computer gaming, were still too new of a concept in the ’50s, and took up too much space, for them to be considered practical home entertainment. They were a novelty for “nerds” and techie-types, many of who were professors or engineers themselves. However, they would eventually find a way to bring these games into the mainstream.
Bringing Computer Gaming Home
In between the chess game of the ’50s and the explosion of home computers in the ‘90s, there were many advances within the industry. From the mid-1980s through the early ’90s, computer lovers began creating their own DOS-based games on home PCs using lots of 5 ¼-inch floppies to save them on. There were no color monitors, and all computer games were made for monochrome screens that had either bright green or yellow monitors. But, this was the height of technology at the time. When the first VGA monitors started making a splash, Windows and Apple became huge parts of the computer industry, and still are today.
Computer Gaming Today and in the Future
Today, we can look back over the decades and see how far we’ve come since those first home computers with their huge floppy disks and tiny hard drives. We can fit more information onto a tiny flash drive than could be put on 100 floppies. With the speed in which gaming has raced, it’s no wonder gamers around the world look forward to each new computer concept with excited anticipation, ready to log into their wireless Internet on their laptop, and start playing the latest and greatest games. Just think, if you wanted to play Halo in the 1940s, you’d need a computer the size of an entire state, and you’d have to play against the computer, rather than with your online friends. Now, almost all you need is a good high-speed Internet connection.
How have games and gaming changed since you’ve been playing?
Author: Andy Quayle
Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
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