Game On!

Today's gamers are used to state of the art graphics and almost real life speed in their gaming experience. They can play against people from all over the world with the advent of internet gaming and for many playing computer games takes up a significant chunk of their leisure time. For many heading down to the local video game shop to buy the latest release and then rushing home to play is the perfect way to spend the day. However, it wasn't always like this. There was a time, when home computing was in its infancy, that to buy a computer game meant something far less exciting. The first gaming experience for children in the 1970's was on a Games Console. It was a dedicated piece of kit that played games on cartridges. They were a hit although would not impress current teenagers with their graphics, sounds or gameplay.

Gaming in the 1970's and 80's

After the late 1970's boom in the console market too many companies tried to enter the market. Suddenly there were too many consoles and games for consumers to choose from. Companies in the 1980's started to over-estimate how many copies of games to print. Atari made such a miscalculation of producing cartridges for their E.T. game they ended up producing more cartridges than there were actually consoles in existence! With the market in personal computers taking off console companies started to go bankrupt.

Many of the first home computers from in the late 70s and early 80s came with very few games and had to be loaded by magnetic tape rather than discs or cartridges. People bought books with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of lines of code which they then typed in themselves. Once they had finished, they would type 'run' and hope they hadn't made any typos and the game would work. This had initially let consoles take the lead in the gaming market, however, technology advancing swiftly, with the invention of the arm chip processor technology leading to more portability, greater graphics speed, bigger memory. The early games soon gave way to games with more graphics based stories more familiar to the gamers of today. For the remainder of the 80's the PC gamers were the more successful although some of the big players continued to produce consoles – Nintendo, Sega, Atari.

Gaming in the 1990's

In the early 1990's, the games consoles such as Sony's PlayStation changed computing gaming industry again and by the millennium, dedicated games machines were taking the lead once again.

Today gaming is a huge part of the leisure market worth billions of pounds a year around the world. Huge volumes of games are sold across many different platforms. These include mobile phones and tablets latest Apps, to portable and desktop computers running games online, to the dedicated games consoles now able to connect players in all corners of the world, not just their own bedrooms, to battle it out in virtual worlds - gaming is everywhere.

When film studios want to get excitement to build over an upcoming release they often release a computer game or App first so you can play the game, get excited and then watch the film when it is released. Big Hollywood and Sport stars can be heard on voice overs on popular games such as the FIFA football series. There are many computer game series that have generated more money than some of the more successful Hollywood films.

  • Personal computers in the home

    Running time: 02:26

Teacher Notes

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History of Video Games 1

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History of Video Games 2

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