A history of video games 1950-1970
Games have been quite a popular interest for generations, beyond video games, there were other games, such as Chess, card games and other board games. These were physical games, often played by children and adults. However in recent years the old physical games have been pushed aside to older generations in favour of the video game. Both were just as fun, however their origins started with a war-driven purpose; to win or to train. So ofcorse, video games have their short history rooted into war, which is strangely interesting.
There seems to be some contriversy over who made “ the first video game “, some say it was William Higinbotham making “Tennis for two”, others say A.S Douglas making Tic-Tac-Toe others say its Space War (1962).
Ralph Baer seems to be the founder of the video game, coming up with the concept in 1951 of a playable game on a television screen, although it was trashed as he was supposed to be making a television. A year later Tic-tac-toe was made, however this seemed to be directed towards human-computer interface than the enjoyment of games. It took seven years later in 1958 for the two player game Tennis for Two amerged, which seemed to be the first competitive game that used hand controllers, however it was only shown for two years after it was dismantled. I’d say that Space War, created in 1961 was the first video game which seemd to be enjoyable, not only did it have half decent graphics, there was also some variation in the game play, they added “ gravity stars “ to make the game more difficult. Although this is technically not a “ video game “, it seems to be the most enjoyable and more video game like game to be produced so far. Considering you can still download it off the internet, it must still have some appeal. Also it is quite interesting how at the time, the Space Race against the U.S and Russia was going on, with the first man in space being a Russian in 1961. Ignoring all the animals sent previously. So as a game it is also a good document of the events of the decade.
I don’t belive that the 50s and 60s were the golden age of computer gaming, it simply set down the building blocks for the 70s and onward, where games really began to kick into hard gear. However the minds behind it probably had no idea what would come of their humble washing machine computer games. The start of the gaming industry, like all things started off very small, although the systems that ran the games were huge and got smaller per year.
I ofcorse was not from this time period, I couldn’t say what this new ground breaking material was like. However as a child I remember my dad giving me his Comador 64, created in 1982, it seemed almost alien to me, even though it was only 15 years previously created or so from when I played it. The oldest game I have played however, was at London Expo 2010, I had managed to play Asteroids on an old 70s television with the original Atari controller, which was confusing to use. I remember how smoothly the ship moved across the screen. I was surprised how no one else was playing it.