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Fascinating History of Video Games

From 1952 and Professor A.S. Douglas’s OXO game to $100 billion worldwide industry, video games have a fascinating history.

With the recent covid-19 and requirement for isolation, the power of video games became even more apparent as gamers began looking for online instruction not only for the lesson but as a substitute for contact as well.

With so many gamers glued to their screen for online games and group challenges and so many platforms to play alone or in a group, it is hard to imagine that the birth was in research labs.

 A $100 billion dollar industry could afford, and it does put a lot into research, which pushes the limit of both software and hardware technology.

It has the potential to drive innovations that touch other aspects of life, including movies, health advancement as well as war applications.

I wonder if professor Douglas envisioned today’s video games when he chose OXO as part of his doctoral dissertation.

Back then, computers would take up the space of an entire building to provide a fraction of the computation power you now carry in a cell phone.

Perhaps, Steve Russel creating Spacewar! in 1962 dreamed of what is to come om the world of combat games on multiple computers.

When home consoles entered the fray I 1967 led by Ralph Baer for games that could be played on TV, the consumer’s personal involvement began to take off. No wonder that Ralph Baer is believed to be the Father of Video Games.

Alas, there is nothing but a name is left of the Odyssey, the first video game home console.  It paved the way to the development of Atari 2600 immortal games of Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Mario and Flight Simulator.

Just like any war, there were battles lost in the world of video games. In 1983, a significant crash brought the North American video game industry to its knees. Too much too fast syndrome glutted the market with consoles and poor quality.  Bankruptcy was the solution for many.

Others rose from the ashes. Nintendo Entertainment System with improved 8-bit graphics, colors, sound reached the shores of the USA. Feisty Super Mario Bros. and the mysterious Zelda in her search came along with it.

 The social impact of the games like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat began to enter the political arena.

Will exposure and participation in violent games impact the daily behavior of players in social settings?

That question still is not answered clearly. With the modern-day virtual reality devices, that question may be even more critical to answer.

In terms of history, video games, as powerful as they are, do not really have a long one. Will Star Trek holodeck be the future?

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