Gaming today is a recognized element of our cultural scenery, even to people who are over thirty or who can barely recall the time before arcade games were invented. Gone are the days when you would play Pac-Man or the famous Mario Brothers game. Although they are still played and enjoyed today, they have been enhanced into dimensional games and versions. People will never forget the old games and that’s a good thing because there is a history here that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Gaming is not a recent breakthrough. Arcade games began many years ago. They weren’t as acceptable as they are now. Artifacts from Egypt and Sumeria have revealed that our ancestors enjoyed playing board games thousands of years ago.
The electronic games we have now required the creation of electronic computers. The early computers were slow and prone to failures. Early programmers felt obliged to waste their time by programming these computers to do things like tic-tac-toe. When World War II ended, electronic computers started becoming standard equipment in the more progressive laboratories. Soon afterwards, they were incorporated with large corporations, establishments and companies. It can be argued that university students were the first game programmers, exploring their fantasies and sci-fi visions into digital applications which we are still using. Their imaginations have turned gaming into a digital masterpiece.
The perception of establishing an electronic game system to the screen or the television was invented by Ralph Bauer during the early 1950’s. This made the first game possible. After that, he introduced and presented his ideas to Magnavox, a television company. The company liked his ideas and inventions so well that they have released a sophisticated version of Bauer’s “Brown Box” prototype, known as the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972. By today’s standards, the Odyssey was prehistoric, displaying only spots of light on the screen. It also required the use of translucent plastic overlays to replicate the appearance of the game.
The first truly popular console system was known as the Atari 2600. It was released in 1977. The Atari made use of plug-in cartridges in order to play a variety of games. The popularity of Space Invaders was a breakthrough and it became a best seller during that time. The computer games written for the TRS-80 and Apple II computers were attracting interest at this time.
There are several books and articles about the history of arcade games.