Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Dark And Hazy Birth Of Gaming

The great birth of gaming seems shrouded in mystery and confusion. Some (i.e. Wikipedia) claim that the “Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device” was the first game ever invented. The name just does not do it justice. I refuse to accept that positioning a dot on a screen overlay (graphics were yet to be invented... gasp!) can be called a game. Others say NIM holds the number one spot. This is a math game in which you remove objects from a heap. Thrilling.

The first game invented purely for FUN seems to be “Tennis for Two” created in 1958.


Looks a little like a heart rate monitor. The creator, good old Mr. William Higinbotham, proposed that “it might liven up the place to have a game that people could play, and which would convey the message that our scientific endeavours have relevance for society."

And he was right! Science had finally churned out something that was not used for the mass cull of soldiers, but instead, for a little tea time entertainment. Who would have thought this cute green tennis ball could evolve into a game with graphics like Assassin's Creed??

And so the ball rolls. “Computer Space” was the first game offered for sale and was created by two guys, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney in 1971. But alas! The Earth was just not ready for the huge entertainment factor and complex game play this game provided…

…and it failed.

Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney refused to bow down to the world, however, and created Atari Inc. And then there was Pong.

From then on it just went up and up and up in time with technology… consol's are created - the Odyssey was released by Magnavox. Second generation consol’s are released such as the Atari 2600, which eventually released the infamous Pac-Man. At this time (1983) they also released E.T. in game form – producing more cartridges than consol’s. The terrible quality of game’s like this…


… allegedly caused Atari to bury large amounts of it’s cartridges into a New Mexico landfill. Someone should tell Atari that plastic does not rot and burying your kryptonite will not make it vanish. By the way… what is that protruding from E.T’s stomach?!

And then came the Italian plumbers and the blue hedgehog… but we all know that part right?

So… the first game I played? Tetris - on a black and white handheld consol that made irritating beeping noises when it was low on battery. My mum used to let me play it when I had been good. When she wasn’t using it. Which wasn’t often.

The most recent? Unchartered – brilliant game. The first game on the PS3 I am playing again just because of it’s cool character designs (my Dave are they realistic) and attention to detail (His shirt get’s wet and clingy when he goes underneath a waterfall, what else do you need in a game?).

What happened in between I hear you yell in wonderment… Sorry folks, you will have to wait till next week .

The anticipation will kill you.