Computer games have seen an incredible amount of growth over the past several decades. In 1961, two MIT students created what is now considered the ‘first’ computer game for the PDP-1, called Spacewar!, where two ships skirted around a central star in an attempt to destroy each other. In 1972, the first text-based computer game, Adventure, emerged.
Text-based games, or ‘interactive fiction’ were the primary medium of gaming on PCs for almost two decades ‘ until the advent of affordable personal computers with graphics engines took hold. Text-games began to merge word commands with graphics, creating very basic games such as Pool of Radiance.
However, at the same time as computer games began gaining a foothold in the market, the console video games industry was experiencing a crash, due to poor quality games flooding the market. Thus, since home color computers such as the Commodore 64 were now priced affordably for home use, sales of computer games benefited from the drastically sinking console game market.
Rapid improvements soon followed in the computer gaming world, and in 1987, the first sound cards hit the shelves. High-resolution bitmapping also allowed for better graphics and better games, and with the advent of the computer mouse, game developers seemed to have a completely open slate to work with! Games such as the King’s Quest series began to popularize story-based computer games, and in 1992 the first successful first-person shooter ‘ Wolfenstein 3D ‘ hit shelves, launching one of the most popular computer game genres of all time.
A breakthrough in 3D computer graphics came in 1993, with the release of the RPG game Doom. This game would lead developers toward creating more of a sense of realism in computer games, and in 1995, the rise of Microsoft’s Windows OP launched an interest into hardware accelerated PC graphics. There were a number of affordable solutions created, in order to stay competitive with the now rejuvenated console market, and in 1996, the third-person action/adventure shooter Tomb Raider was released with revolutionary graphics.
Improved CPU technology saw a huge increase in gaming realism, as Microsoft’s operating systems forced many MS-DOS games to become unplayable, and today’s computer gaming market relies heavily on realism in games in order to stay current with consumer demand. Today, many of the improvements in computer gaming are in the form of advanced physics engines that allow a more realistic interaction with the gaming world.
Today’s computer gaming certainly isn’t limited to single-person playing as well, as new forms of marketing have been explored in order to stay current in an extremely competitive market. Some companies are releasing games in episodic format, with lower prices per installment, while the rise of online gaming allows publishers to charge a monthly fee for playing their game, while new content is constantly being added to the game world.