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The History Of Gaming Part 1

Labeled With  history of gaming
Written by DM on Monday, November 14 2005

It has occurred to me that in this news generation of gaming, with another new generation about to begin, that we should take the time to explain the gaming scene to those of you who were not around for its inception. I think it is important to know and understand the history of the industry which has become a multimedia juggernaut. It was not always this way, and we are going to break it down for you in our multi-part article, The History Of Gaming.

Part I: The Pre-History Of Gaming

The inception of gaming began way back in 1949. Or at least, the idea that began the entire industry was formed that year. A man named Ralph Bear was given an assignment that year. His assignment was to build a television set, not just any television set, but the end-all be-all of television sets. He thought, why just provide the consumer a TV? He was going to include a game with the TV as well. This was the ideological beginning of the industry.

In 1958 right here in New York, Willy Higinbotham from the Brookhaven Laboratories was concerned that people who were waiting at the lab were getting terribly bored. So, he decided to invent something that would keep them busy while they waited. He took an oscilloscope and creates the predecessor for Pong. Later, he improved his design by adding a 15-inch monitor. Willy belived he had nothing of value other than a device which would amuse the odd patron of the labs, and does not patent his invention. Oh Willy, where would you be today if you had? Maybe we would be playing on the Higinbotham 6 instead of the Nintendo Gamecube?

MIT student named Steve Russell created a game called Spacewar.

In 1961, an MIT student named Steve Russell created a game called Spacewar. Programmed on a Digital PDP-1, the first microcomputer of the time, the game used a new teletype display screen to display its ships and dots. The game was reminiscent of Asteroids, and was widely popular on campuses around the country. Noah Bushnell, a student at Utah university at the time, is exposed to Russell's Spacewar, and envisions a whole arcade filled with machines dedicated to playing this game. At the time computers were so expensive that it was hardly feasible, but he never gave up that dream. At this time, Ralph Bear was working at a defense contractor, and they gave him the leeway to create a game and a gun that went with it which sensed dots of light. Bear's team also invented a chase game and a follow-up tennis game. Meanwhile, in 1970, Bushnell uses his daughter's bedroom as a workshop and creates the arcade version of Spacewar and Nutting Associates licenses this arcade machine and distributes it.

In 1972, Maganavox begins to manufacture Bear's system and names it the Odyssey, the first home game console. Thus, the video game industry was begun. It was the beginning of a multi billion dollar industry, and if Bushnell or Bear knew what the future had in store, they might have done things differently. Check back for part 2, The Home Game Revolution Begins.


Related Articles:
 The History Of Gaming Part 4
 The History Of Gaming Part 3
 The History Of Gaming Part 2

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