Gaming is not exactly a new concept, although it is much popular in the present age than it was in the past. The younger generation actively pursues gaming as a fun activity. Electronic games are potent enough to impact children and adolescents at a psychological level.
The evolution of electronics has been in sync with gaming sophistication. Today, electronics projects focusing on gaming turn out to be most profitable in the computing and electronics domain. Statistics reveal that as many as 42% Americans are gamers and consoles are commonplace, with almost 80% households possessing a gaming console.
The First Games during the Early Years of Gaming
During the 1940s, one of the first mathematical games, the Nim was played at a New York Global fair. Dr. Edward Uhler is believed to have conceived the idea, and the gaming experience was a huge success. Around 50,000 players participated in the game during a period of six months.
Older computing systems were large in size, consumed more power and suffered from performance flaws, error, and failure. It was the period around World War II when electronic computers were no longer part of exclusive laboratory spaces. The domain of gaming extended to university students and employees from larger corporations. Consequently, active game programming began to take place.
These changing trends created space for more imaginative digital adventure games. Gaming introduced several disruptive trends including relying on television sets to enhance the gaming experience. A television assisted gaming experience was available in the 1950s.
In the year 1967, gaming was more commercialized when compared to the past. The “Brown Box” was one of the first games available during this time, which consisted of a vacuum-tube circuit and television connectivity. Television assisted gaming also supported accessories for an enhanced gaming experience.
During the digital gaming era, Magnavox Odyssey was the first console game available in 1972. However, sales were low, recording only 300,000 products in three years after the release of the gaming console.
The first consoles for executing games were made available to the general public in 1977. These consoles used cartridges to flip game choices. One of the first gaming consoles was the Atari 2600. Game choices were available to users through cartridges which could be plugged in. Even though the gaming console industry received a slight setback in 1983, it is in full momentum even to this day.
The Development of Digital Gaming and Multiplayer Games
Gaming trends after this period spurred further interest from major companies in the United States. Around fifteen companies focused their game development efforts towards technology intensive gaming experiences for the eager customer base.
The PLATO network system hosted the first multi-player game during 1973, which was initially built by the University of Illinois. The PLATO gaming experience recorded close to 300,000 hours of gaming between the period 1978 and 1985. Spasim for PLATO was the first three-dimensional game offering multi-player support.
During the same period, the mass production of gaming consoles and personal computers started to take place. Gunlight and Call of Duty were popular multi-player games at this time. Atari was a popular choice among users, all along this period, gradually gaining popularity. The year 1980 recorded a huge sales volume for Atari, with as many as 2 million units sold during this phase.
Recent Gaming Developments and the Rise of Mobile Gaming
Home computing and arcade computing has been on the rise ever since, and gaming has expanded its horizon with the introduction of LANs on the Internet. Multi-player gaming continues to be backed by more sophisticated technology, and online gaming with consoles also shows very positive trends.
After the year 2000, low technology costs have made gaming a more enjoyable and affordable experience. Gaming has evolved very rapidly, and some very disruptive technologies like the Xbox are now available for game lovers. Mobile phones have opened up another irresistible revenue channel, which is expected to surpass even console gaming. Revenue summing up to $200 million dollars during 2012, from the popular Angry Birds mobile gaming experience demonstrates this fact.
A Brief about Electronics and Hardware Evolution from Gaming Developments
The hardware and electronics required to support gaming experiences have evolved at an equally rapid pace to support the demands of gaming experiences:
- During the 1950s and 1970s, analog computers and digital circuits supported the very first games such as Tennis for Two and Pong
- Atari, which was rolled out during the 1980s employed a 1.19 MHz processor, 128 bytes of RAM and supported a 40×192 color resolution
- Nintendo Tennis found its place in the game world shortly afterward, with a higher configuration of 1.79 MHz processor, 16K RAM, and 256×240 resolution
- An IBM PC during the year 1990, which supported games like Wing Commander, featured a 286 126 MHz CPU, 640 KB RAM and a far better resolution of 320×200.
- IBM PC during the 1994 period had far better electronics capabilities, with a 486 66 MHz processor, 32 MB RAM and 640×480 resolution
- During 1997, the Sony PlayStation featured a processor speed of 33 MHz, 2MB RAM and 740×480 resolution, outperforming its older counterparts considerably
- The rapid electronic evolution of the IBM PC led to a Pentium II 200 MHz processor, 64 MB RAM and 1034×768 resolution for supporting Freespace 2 during 1999
- During 2004, IBM PC had evolved into a sophisticated system, capable of supporting the popular World of Warcraft with a Pentium III 8000 MHz processor, 256 MB RAM and a high-resolution display of 1024×768 pixels.
Gaming is one of the most rapidly evolving fields and its dependency on electronics technology enable the latter to offer more sophisticated options to support different game genres. Both PC and console based games are gaining widespread popularity among users. Gaming experiences continue to get more powerful with time. To support this trend, electronics and hardware supporting those gaming experiences must evolve to offer more sophisticated graphics and performance enhancements in the long run.