The history of video games goes as far back as the early 1950s, when academic computer scientists began designing simple games and simulations as part of their research. Video gaming did not reach mainstream popularity until the 1970s and 1980s, when video arcade games and gaming consoles using joysticks, buttons, and other controllers, along with graphics on computer screens and home computer games were introduced to the general public. Since the 1980s, video gaming has become a popular form of entertainment and a part of modern popular culture in most parts of the world.One of the early games was Spacewar!, which was developed by computer scientists. Early arcade video games developed from 1972 to 1978. During the 1970s, the first generation of home consoles emerged, including the popular game Pong and various “clones”. The 1970s was also the era of mainframe computer games. The golden age of arcade video games was from 1978 to 1982. Video arcades with large, graphics-decorated coin-operated machines were common at malls and popular, affordable home consoles such as the Atari 2600 and Intellivision enabled people to play games on their home TVs. During the 1980s, gaming computers, early online gaming and handheld LCD games emerged; this era was affected by the video game crash of 1983. From 1976 to 1992, the second generation of video consoles emerged.The third generation of consoles, which were 8-bit units, emerged from 1983 to 1995. The fourth generation of consoles, which were 16-bit models, emerged from 1987 to 1999. The 1990s saw the resurgence and decline of arcades, the transition to 3D video games, improved handheld games, and PC gaming. The fifth generation of consoles, which were 32 and 64-bit units, was from 1993 to 2006. During this era, mobile phone gaming emerged. During the 2000s, the sixth generation of consoles emerged . During this period, online gaming and mobile games became major aspects of gaming culture. The seventh generation of consoles was from 2005 to 2012. This era was marked by huge development budgets for some games, with some having cinematic graphics; the launch of the top-selling Wii console, in which the user could control the game actions with real-life movement of the controller; the rise of casual PC games marketed to non-gamers; and the emergence of cloud computing in video games.In 2013, the eighth generation of consoles emerged, including Nintendo’s Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, Microsoft’s Xbox One, and Sony’s PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. PC gaming has been holding a large market share in Asia and Europe for decades and continues to grow due to digital distribution. Since the development and widespread consumer use of smartphones, mobile gaming has been a driving factor for games, as they can reach people formerly uninterested in gaming, and those unable to afford or support dedicated hardware, such as video game consoles.Early history   Defining the video game   The term video game has evolved over the decades from a purely technical definition to a general concept defining a new class of interactive entertainment. Technically, for a product to be a video game, there must be a video signal transmitted to a cathode ray tube  that creates a rasterized image on a screen. This definition would preclude early computer games that outputted results to a printer or teletype rather than a display, any game rendered on a vector-scan monitor, any game played on a modern high definition display, and most handheld game systems. From a technical standpoint, these would more properly be called “electronic games” or “computer games.”Today, however, the term “video game” has completely shed its purely technical definition and encompasses a wider range of technology. While still rather ill-defined, the term “video game” now generally encompasses any game played on hardware built with electronic logic circuits that incorporates an element of interactivity and outputs the results of the player’s actions to a display. Going by this broader definition, the first video games appeared in the early 1950s and were tied largely to research projects at universities and large corporations.Origins of electronic computer games    The first electronic digital computers, Colossus and ENIAC, were built during World War II to aid the Allied war effort against the Axis powers. Shortly after the war, the promulgation of the first stored program architectures at the University of Pennsylvania, Cambridge University, the University of Manchester, and Princeton University  allowed computers to be easily reprogrammed to undertake a variety of tasks, which facilitated commercializing computers in the early 1950s by companies like Remington Rand, Ferranti, and IBM. This in turn promoted the adoption of computers by universities, government organizations, and large corporations as the decade progressed. It was in this environment that the first video games were born.The computer games of the 1950s can generally be divided into three categories: training and instructional programs, research programs in fields such as artificial intelligence, and demonstration programs intended to impress or entertain the public. Because these games were largely developed on unique hardware in a time when porting between systems was difficult and were often dismantled or discarded after serving their limited purposes, they did not generally influence further developments in the industry. For the same reason, it is impossible to be certain who developed the first computer game or who originally modeled many of the games or play mechanics introduced during the decade, as there are likely several games from this period that were never publicized and are thus unknown today. The earliest known idea for a fully electronic game is a “Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device” in US patent #2,455,992.The earliest known electronic computer games actually implemented were two custom built machines called Bertie the Brain and Nimrod, which played tic-tac-toe and the game of Nim, respectively. Bertie the Brain, designed and built by Josef Kates at Rogers Majestic, was displayed at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1950, while Nimrod, conceived by John Bennett at Ferranti and built by Raymond Stuart-Williams, was displayed at the Festival of Britain and the Berlin Industrial Show in 1951. Neither game incorporated a cathode ray tube  display. Before these, automated games like the simple chess simulator El Ajedrecista  and Nimrod’s predecessor Nimatron  had been created as electro-mechanical devices.The first games known to incorporate a monitor were two research projects completed in 1952, a checkers program by Christopher Strachey on the Ferranti Mark 1 and a tic-tac-toe program called OXO by Alexander Douglas on the EDSAC. Both of these programs used a relatively static display to track the current state of the game board. The first known game incorporating graphics that updated in real time was a pool game programmed by William Brown and Ted Lewis specifically for a demonstration of the MIDSAC computer at the University of Michigan in 1954.Second generation consoles     After the collapse of the dedicated console market in 1978, focus in the home shifted to the new programmable systems, in which game data was stored on ROM-based cartridges. Fairchild semiconductor struck first in this market with the Channel F, but after losing millions in the digital watch business, the company took a conservative approach to the programmable console market and kept production runs of the system low. As a result, by the end of 1977, Fairchild had only sold about 250,000 systems. Atari followed Fairchild into the market in 1977 and sold between 340,000 and 400,000 systems that year. Magnavox joined the programmable market in 1978 with the Odyssey2, while toy company Mattel released the Intellivision in 1979, which had superior graphics to any of its competitors.After both Atari and Fairchild made a strong showing in 1977, the market hit a difficult patch in 1978 when retailers resisted building inventory, believing that the newly emerging electronic handheld market would displace video games. Atari, for example, manufactured 800,000 systems, but proved unable to sell more than 500,000 to retail. This helped precipitate a crisis at the company that saw co-founder and chairman Nolan Bushnell and president Joe Keenan forced out by Atari’s parent company, Warner Communications, which had purchased Atari in 1976 largely on the potential of the VCS. Ultimately, home video games did well in the 1978 holiday season, and retailers proved more amenable to stocking them again in 1979. New Atari CEO Ray Kassar subsequently harnessed his company’s leftover stock to help transform video game consoles into a year-round product rather than something just purchased by retailers for sale during the holiday season.The real breakthrough for the home video game market occurred in 1980 when Atari released a conversion of the popular Space Invaders game for the VCS, which was licensed from Taito. Buoyed by the success of the game, Atari’s consumer sales almost doubled from $119 million to nearly $204 million in 1980 and then exploded to over $841 million in 1981, while sales across the entire video game industry in the United States rose from $185.7 million in 1979 to just over $1 billion in 1981. Through a combination of conversions of its own arcade games like Missile Command and Asteroids and licensed conversions like Defender, Atari took a commanding lead in the industry, with an estimated 65% market share of the worldwide industry by dollar volume by 1981. Mattel settled into second place with roughly 15%-20% of the market, while Magnavox ran a distant third, and Fairchild exited the market entirely in 1979.In the early days of the programmable market, all of the games for a given system were developed by the firm that released the console. That changed in 1979 when four Atari programmers, seeking greater recognition and financial reward for their contributions, struck out on their own to form Activision, the first third-party developer. The company went on to develop a string of hits including Kaboom!, River Raid, and Pitfall!, recognized as one of the foundational games of the scrolling platformer genre. In 1981, another group of Atari employees joined with ex-Mattel staff to form Imagic and experienced success with games like Demon Attack  and Atlantis .In 1982, Atari released a more advanced console based on its 8-bit computer line, the Atari 5200, which failed to perform as well as its predecessor. That same year, Coleco returned to the video game market with a new console, the ColecoVision, that featured near-arcade-quality graphics and shipped with a port of the popular arcade game Donkey Kong. Coleco sold out its entire run of 550,000 units in the 1982 holiday season as overall U.S. video game sales reached $2.1 billion, which represented 31% of the dollar volume of the entire toy industry. Ultimately, however, the rapid growth of the home console market could not be sustained, and the industry soon faced a serious downturn that nearly wiped it out.Early home computer games     While the fruit of retail development in early video games appeared mainly in video arcades and home consoles, home computers began appearing in the late 1970s and were rapidly evolving in the 1980s, allowing their owners to program simple games. Hobbyist groups for the new computers soon formed and PC game software followed. Soon many of these games—at first clones of mainframe classics such as Star Trek, and then later ports or clones of popular arcade games such as Space Invaders, Frogger, Pac-Man  and Donkey Kong—were being distributed through a variety of channels, such as printing the game’s source code in books, magazines, and newsletters, which allowed users to type in the code for themselves. Early game designers like Crowther, Daglow and Yob would find the computer code for their games—which they had never thought to copyright—published in books and magazines, with their names removed from the listings. Early home computers from Apple, Commodore, Tandy and others had many games that people typed in.Games were also distributed by the physical mailing and selling of floppy disks, cassette tapes, and ROM cartridges. Soon a small cottage industry was formed, with amateur programmers selling disks in plastic bags put on the shelves of local shops or sent through the mail. Richard Garriott distributed several copies of his 1980 role-playing video game Akalabeth: World of Doom in plastic bags before the game was published.1980s   The video games industry experienced its first major growing pains in the early 1980s as publishing houses appeared, with many businesses surviving 20+ years, such as Electronic Arts—alongside fly-by-night operations that cheated the games’ developers. While some early 1980s games were simple clones of existing arcade titles, the relatively low publishing costs for personal computer games allowed for bold, unique games.Gaming computers    Following the success of the Apple II and Commodore PET in the late 1970s, a series of cheaper and incompatible rivals emerged in the early 1980s. This second batch included the Commodore VIC-20 and 64; Sinclair ZX80, ZX81 and ZX Spectrum; NEC PC-8000, PC-6001, PC-88 and PC-98; Sharp X1 and X68000; and Atari 8-bit family, BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, Amstrad CPC, and MSX series. These rivals helped to catalyze both the home computer and game markets, by raising awareness of computing and gaming through their competing advertising campaigns.The Sinclair, Acorn and Amstrad offerings were generally only known in Europe and Africa, the NEC and Sharp offerings were generally only known in Asia, and the MSX had a base in North and South America, Europe, and Asia, while the US-based Apple, Commodore and Atari offerings were sold in both the US and Europe.Games dominated home computers’ software libraries. A 1984 compendium of reviews of Atari 8-bit software used 198 pages for games compared to 167 for all others. By that year the computer gaming market took over from the console market following the crash of that year; computers offered equal gaming ability and, since their simple design allowed games to take complete command of the hardware after power-on, they were nearly as simple to start playing with as consoles.The Commodore 64 was released to the public in August 1982. It found initial success because it was marketed and priced aggressively. It had a BASIC programming environment, and advanced graphic and sound abilities for its time, similar to the ColecoVision console. It also used the same game controller ports popularized by the Atari 2600, allowing gamers to use their old joysticks with the system. It would become the most popular home computer of its day in the USA and many other countries and the best-selling single computer model of all time internationally.At around the same time, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum was released in the United Kingdom and quickly became the most popular home computer in many areas of Western Europe—and later the Eastern Bloc—due to the ease with which clones could be produced.In 2008 Sid Meier listed the IBM PC as one of the three most important innovations in the history of video games. The IBM PC compatible platform became a technically competitive gaming platform with IBM’s PC/AT in 1984. The primitive CGA graphics of prior models, with only 4-color 320×200 pixel graphics  had limited the PC’s appeal to the business segment, as its graphics failed to compete with the C64 or Apple II. The new 64-color Enhanced Graphics Adapter  display standard allowed its graphics to approach the quality seen in popular home computers like the Commodore 64. However, the sound abilities of the AT were still limited to the PC speaker, which was substandard compared to the built-in sound chips used in many home computers. Also, the relatively high cost of the PC compatible systems severely limited their popularity in gaming.The Apple Macintosh also arrived at this time. It lacked the color abilities of the earlier Apple II, instead preferring a much higher pixel resolution, but the operating system support for the graphical user interface  attracted developers of some games  even before color returned in 1987 with the Mac II.The arrival of the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga in 1985 was the start of a new era of 16-bit machines. For many users they were too costly until later on in the decade, at which point advances in the IBM PC’s open platform had caused the IBM PC compatibles to become comparably powerful at a lower cost than their competitors. The VGA standard developed for the new IBM Personal System/2  line in 1987 gave the PC the potential for 256-color graphics. This was a big jump ahead of most 8-bit home computers but still lagged behind platforms with built-in sound and graphics hardware like the Amiga. This caused an odd trend around ’89–91 toward developing for a seemingly inferior machine. Thus while both the ST and Amiga were host to many technically excellent games, their time of prominence was shorter than that of the 8-bit machines, which saw new ports well into the 1980s and even the 1990s.Dedicated sound cards started to address the issue of poor sound abilities in IBM PC compatibles in the late 1980s. Ad Lib set an early de facto standard for sound cards in 1987, with its card based on the Yamaha YM3812 sound chip. This would last until the introduction of Creative Labs’ Sound Blaster in 1989, which took the chip and added new features while remaining compatible with Ad Lib cards, and creating a new de facto standard. However, many games would still support these and rarer things like the Roland MT-32 and Disney Sound Source into the early 1990s. The initial high cost of sound cards meant they would not find widespread use until the 1990s.Shareware gaming first appeared in the mid-1980s, but its big successes came in the 1990s.Early online gaming    Dial-up bulletin board systems were popular in the 1980s, and sometimes used for online game playing. The earliest such systems were in the late 1970s and early 1980s and had a crude plain-text interface. Later systems made use of terminal-control codes  standard) to get a pseudo-graphical interface. Some BBSs offered access to various games which were playable through such an interface, ranging from text adventures to gambling games like blackjack . On some multiuser BBSs, there were games allowing users to interact with one another.SuperSet Software created Snipes, a text-mode networked computer game in 1983 to test a new IBM Personal Computer–based computer network and demonstrate its abilities. Snipes is officially credited as being the original inspiration for NetWare. It is believed to be the first network game ever written for a commercial personal computer and is recognized alongside 1974 game Maze War  and Spasim  as the precursor to multiplayer games such as 1987’s MIDI Maze, and Doom in 1993. In 1995 iDoom  was created for games that only allowed local network play to connect over the internet. Other services such as Kahn, TEN, Mplayer, and Heat.net soon followed after. These services ultimately became obsolete when game producers began including their own online software such as Battle.net, WON and later Steam.The first user interfaces were plain-text—similar to BBSs— but they operated on large mainframe computers, permitting larger numbers of users to be online at once. By the end of the decade, inline services had fully graphical environments using software specific to each personal computer platform. Popular text-based services included CompuServe, The Source, and GEnie, while platform-specific graphical services included PlayNET and Quantum Link for the Commodore 64, AppleLink for the Apple II and Macintosh, and PC Link for the IBM PC—all of which were run by the company which eventually became America Online—and a competing service, Prodigy. Interactive games were a feature of these services, though until 1987 they used text-based displays, not graphics.Handheld LCD games    In 1979, Milton Bradley Company released the first handheld system using interchangeable cartridges, Microvision. While the handheld received modest success in the first year of production, the lack of games, screen size and video game crash of 1983 brought about the system’s quick demise.In 1980, Nintendo released its Game & Watch line, handheld electronic game which spurred dozens of other game and toy companies to make their own portable games, many of which were copies of Game & Watch titles or adaptations of popular arcade games. Improving LCD technology meant the new handhelds could be more reliable and consume fewer batteries than LED or VFD games, most only needing watch batteries. They could also be made much smaller than most LED handhelds, even small enough to wear on one’s wrist like a watch. Tiger Electronics borrowed this concept of videogaming with cheap, affordable handhelds and still produces games in this model to the present day.Video game crash of 1983    At the end of 1983, several factors, including a market flooded with poor-quality games, the commercial failure of several important Atari 2600 titles, and home computers emerging as a new and more advanced gaming platform, caused the industry to experience a severe downturn. This was the “crash” of the video game industry. It bankrupted

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