As Microsoft partners with LG to promote the latest Xbox Series X gaming console which comes head-to-head against the rival Sony’s PlayStation 5, let’s go down on a memory lane of consoles. What were the first video games ever played? How do they differ from the ones we use today?
Crux of the Matter
When Did It All Begin?
When in 1952, OXO or tic-tac-toe was created by Cambridge professor A.S. Douglas, as part of his thesis. Then in 1962, MIT’s Steve Russell invented a space combat game ‘Spacewar!’, which was the first to be played on multiple computer installations.
The Era Of The ‘Brown Box’
In 1967, Ralph Baer, often called the father of video games, invented this prototype multiplayer, multi-program video game system that could be played on a television. Then in 1972, Atari’s Pong was the first arcade video game to be released.
The Console Battles
The 1990s saw the release of combat games like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat, that depicted blood and gore. In response to the congressional hearings about violent video games, the Videogame Rating Council was created in 1993 and an industry-wide Entertainment Software Rating Board was launched, which is used till date to rate video games based on content, even in consoles.
Onset of Modern Gaming
Sony’s Playstation 3, with its Blu-Ray usage and Nintendo’s Wii, kicked off the age of high-definition gaming, 2005 onwards. Then Microsoft’s Xbox 360 with its online ecosystem, won the most Game Critics Awards in 2007.
Shift Towards Other Platforms
Video games spread to the casual gaming audience on Facebook and iPhone apps. Eg: Rovio’s Angry Birds. Then Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure brought games into the physical world, by using NFC based plastic toy figures.
Gen 8 of Gaming
The 8th and current generation of video games began with Nintendo’s Wii U (commercial failure) in 2012 and Playstation 4 and Xbox One in 2013. Their successors, Playstation 4 Pro, was the first out of the many consoles, that was capable of 4K video output and Nintendo Switch, was the only system to allow both television-based and handheld gaming.
- The original PS1 controller was 10% larger in the US compared to Japan, to account for bigger hands in America.
- The PlayStation Controller buttons ◯, ✖, ▲ and ◼ means, respectively “Yes”, “No”, “a viewpoint (one’s head or direction)” and ” a piece of paper (menus or documents).”
- Apple produced a video game console called the Pippin that failed catastrophically.
- Pac-Man developed by Namco in 1980. The original name, Puck Man was changed to Pac-Man for international releases as a preventative measure against defacement of the arcade machines by changing the P to an F.