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Unit 1 – Brief History of Video Games


Items In This Unit

 

  • The 20 oldest video games
  • Console generations
  • The 2D games
  • The 3D games
  • The top 10 games by each decade

The 20 Oldest Video Games

The rise of computers and computing devices dates back to the thirties of the 20th century. When we take a look at computer history we can observe that video games have played a big role in the overall appeal of computers and computing devices since their inception during the 50s in the previous century. The following table lists the 20 oldest video games. 

#

Name

Release Date

Creator

Mode

System

1

Tic-tac-toe

1952

A.S. Douglas

Multiplayer

Standalone

2

Tennis for Two

1958

William Higinbotham

Multiplayer

Standalone

3

Spacewar

1962

Steve Russell et al

Multiplayer

Standalone

4

Computer Space

1971

Nolan Bushnell et al

Multiplayer

Standalone

5

Galaxy Game

1971

Bill Pitts et al

Multiplayer

Standalone

6

Table Tennis

1972

Ralph H. Baer et al

Multiplayer

Magnavox Odyssey

7

Ski

1972

Ralph H. Baer et al

Multiplayer

Magnavox Odyssey

8

Simon Says

1972

Ralph H. Baer et al

Multiplayer

Magnavox Odyssey

9

Analogic

1972

Ralph H. Baer et al

Multiplayer

Magnavox Odyssey

10

Hockey

1972

Ralph H. Baer et al

Multiplayer

Magnavox Odyssey

11

Football

1972

Ralph H. Baer et al

Multiplayer

Magnavox Odyssey

12

Cat and Mouse

1972

Ralph H. Baer et al

Multiplayer

Magnavox Odyssey

13

Haunted House

1972

Ralph H. Baer et al

Multiplayer

Magnavox Odyssey

14

Submarine

1972

Ralph H. Baer et al

Multiplayer

Magnavox Odyssey

15

Roulette

1972

Ralph H. Baer et al

Multiplayer

Magnavox Odyssey

16

States

1972

Ralph H. Baer et al

Multiplayer

Magnavox Odyssey

17

Pong

1972

Allan Alcorn

Multiplayer

Standalone

18

Space Race

1973

Atari

Multiplayer

Standalone

19

Gran Trak 10

1974

Atari

Multiplayer

Standalone

20

Tank

1974

Kee Games / Atari

Multiplayer

Standalone

Out of all of the listed games, I bet you only heard of “Pong”. Pong simulated an overly simplified tennis game of two players represented by two small lines at the end of each side of the screen. The objective of the game was to bounce the ball over to the other side in the hope of the opponent missing the ball.

 

 

 

 


Gaming Consoles & Game Console Generations

The gaming industry really took off once the first gaming consoles started appearing. The following table lists some of the most known but also historically important consoles. 

#

Video Game System

Release

Creator

Colours at once

CPU / Processor

CPU Bits

Gen

1

Odyssey

1972

Magnavox

monochrome

n/a

n/a

1

2

Atari 2600

1977

Atari

128

MOS 6507

8

2

3

Odyssey 2

1978

Magnavox

16

Intel 8048

8

2

4

Intellivision

1979

Mattel Electronics

16

GI CP1600

8

2

5

ColecoVision

1982

Coleco Industries

16

Zilog Z80

8

2

6

Atari 5200

1982

Atari

128

MOS 6502C

8

2

7

Sega SG-1000

1983

Sega

16

Zilog Z80

8

3

8

Nintendo Family Computer

1983

Nintendo

24

Motorola 6502

8

3

9

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)

1985

Nintendo

64

Ricoh 2A03

8

3

10

Sega Master System (SMS)

1986

Sega

64

Zilog Z80A

8

3

11

Atari 7800

1986

Atari

256

6502C

8

3

12

Sega Genesis (Mega Drive)

1988

Sega

64

Motorola 68000 & Zilog Z80

32

4

13

TurboGrafx-16 (PC Engine)

1989

NEC

256

Hudson Soft HuC6280

8

4

14

Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)

1991

Nintendo

256

Ricoh 5A22

16

4

15

Atari Jaguar

1993

Atari

8.1 thousand

2x Motorola 68000

32

5

16

Sega 32X

1994

Sega

32.7 thousand

2 × SH-2 32-bit RISC

32

4

17

Sega Saturn

1994

Sega

16.7 million

2× Hitachi SH-2

32

5

18

Playstation

1994

Sony

16.7 million

32-bit RISC

32

5

19

Nintendo 64

1996

Nintendo

16.7 million

NEC VR4300

64

5

20

Dreamcast

1998

Sega

16.7 million

Hitachi SH-4 32-bit RISC

32

6

21

Playstation 2

2000

Sony

16.7 million

MIPS R5900

64

6

22

GameCube

2001

Nintendo

16.7 million

IBM PowerPC 750CXe

32

6

23

Xbox

2001

Microsoft

16.7 million

Intel Pentium III

32

6

24

Xbox 360

2005

Microsoft

16.7 million

PowerPC Tri-Core Xenon

64

7

25

Playstation 3

2006

Sony

16.7 million

Cell Broadband Engine

64

7

26

Wii

2006

Nintendo

16.7 million

IBM PowerPC

32

7

27

Wii U

2012

Nintendo

16.7 million

IBM PowerPC

32

8

28

Playstation 4

2013

Sony

16.7 million

AMD x86-64 Jagua

64

8

29

Xbox One

2013

Microsoft

16.7 million

AMD 8-core APU

64

8

30

Nintendo Switch

2017

Nintendo

16.7 million

4 Cortex-A57 & 4 Cortex-A53

64

8

     

In the early days of gaming consoles, their arcade equivalents in amusement parks were of much better quality. This is no longer the case as the latest consoles pack the same computing power or in some cases even more computing power. 


The 2D Games 

Let’s preface this section by saying that all computer video games are ultimately 2D. Even 3D games are fundamentally 2D because they are drawn on a two-dimensional plane. How they because known as 3D is by the clever use of optical illusion (clever graphical rendering) of three-dimensional space.

Some of the most popular 2D games include Pacman, Mario Brothers, Phoenix, Crush Roller, Tetris and Sonic.

 


The 3D Games

The most popular games today are typically in the 3D genre and first-person shooters. 

  • 3D video games refer to animated characters (sprites) and scenes rendered by specialized 3D programs.
  • Action and movements in 3D games simulate depth.
  • 3D Monster Maze, developed by Malcolm Evans in 1981 for the Sinclair ZX81 platform, was the 1st ever 3D game.
  • 3D games became mainstream with the release of Doom in 1993
  • 3D games are further enhanced with virtual reality (VR) sets or specialized 3D glasses

Top 10 Games by Decade

While you may be familiar with the most recently released games, there are plenty of great games that were made many years ago. Without further ado here is the list. 

#

The 70s

The 80s

The 90s

The 2000s

The 2010s

1

Space Invaders

Pac-man

Half-Life

The Sims

The Legend of Zelda

2

Pong

Ms. Pac-man

Final Fantasy VII

Grand Theft III

The Witcher 3

3

Galaxian

Donkey Kong

Doom

Guitar Hero

The Last of Us

4

Asteroids Breakout

Gauntlet

Metal Gear Solid

World of Warcraft

The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim

5

Tank

Star Wars

Super Metroid

Brain Age

Dark Souls

6

Computer Space

Tetris

Super Mario 64

Halo

Super Mario Odyssey

7

Anti-Aircraft

Frogger

The Legend of Zelda

Bejeweled

Batman: Arkham City

8

Death Race

Golden Axe

Super Mario World

Wii Sports

Portal 2

9

Lunar Lander

Pole Position

Chrono Trigger

Geometry Wars

Grand Theft Auto V

10

Star Raiders

Duck Hunt

StarCraft

Metroid Prime

Minecraft

 

Next Unit 2 – Types of Video Games
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