Inspired by Dungeons and Dragons, it paves the way for Zork and thousands of other computer role-playing games. Atari releases the Video Computer System, more commonly known as Atari Featuring a joystick, interchangeable cartridges, games in color, and switches for selecting games and setting difficulty levels, it makes millions of Americans home video game players.
Taito's Space Invaders descends on Japan, causing a shortage of yen coins. Within a year, 60, Space Invaders machines in the United States tempt Americans to spend millions of quarters driving back the seemingly unstoppable ranks of attacking aliens. Toy-maker Mattel supplements its handheld electronic games with a new console, the Intellivision.
Video Game History Timeline | The Strong
Intellivision has better graphics and more sophisticated controls than Atari , and players love its sports games. Mattel sells three million Intellivision units. That year a version of Pac-Man for Atari becomes the first arcade hit to appear on a home console. Two years later, Ms. Pac-Man strikes a blow for gender equality by becoming the best-selling arcade game of all time.
Never heard of him? Disney taps into the video game craze by releasing the movie Tron. An arcade game featuring many of the contests from the movie also becomes a hit. Multiplayer play takes a huge step forward with Dan Bunten's M. In the game, players compete to gather the most resources while saving their colony on the planet of Irata. Russian mathematician Alexey Pajitnov creates Tetris , a simple but addictive puzzle game. The game leaks out from behind the Iron Curtain, and four years later, Nintendo bundles it with every new Game Boy.
The emerging educational software market leaps ahead with the introduction of The Learning Company's Reader Rabbit program. The educational computer business mushrooms with the introduction of CD-ROMs in the s, but crashes with the rise of the Internet. John Madden Football introduces gridiron realism to computer games, making this game—and its many console sequels—perennial best-sellers.
Nintendo's Game Boy popularizes handheld gaming. Game Boy is not the first handheld system with interchangeable cartridges—Milton Bradley introduced Microvision 10 years earlier—but it charms users with its good game play, ease of use, and long battery life. Microsoft bundles a video game version of the classic card game solitaire with Windows 3. Millions of users who would not normally pick up a game console find they enjoy playing computer games. Solitaire becomes one of the most popular electronic games ever and provides a gaming model for quick, easy-to-play, casual games like Bejeweled.
Gamers, especially in the United States, snap up Sega systems and love the little blue guy's blazing speed and edgy attitude. Westwood Studios' Dune II establishes the popularity of real-time strategy games that require players to act as military leaders deploying their resources and forces on the fly in order to defeat opponents. Concern about bloodshed in games such as Mortal Kombat prompts United States Senate hearings on video game violence.
The controversy riles the industry and prompts the creation of a video game rating system. Ironically, that same year the game Doom popularizes "first person shooters. Orcs and Humans , a real-time strategy game that introduces millions of players to the legendary world of Azeroth. The lower price point, along with the arrival of Nintendo 64 in , weakens Sega's home console business. When Sony PlayStation 2 debuts in , it becomes the dominant home console and Sega exits the home console business.
Lara Croft debuts as the star of Eidos's adventure game Tomb Raider. Players love her, but critics charge that she's an example of sexism in video games. Ocarina of Time transports players to the richly imagined world of Hyrule, full of engaging characters, thought-provoking puzzles, and the most memorable musical instrument to ever appear in a video game. Sony Online Entertainment's Everquest leads hundreds of thousands of users to join guilds, fight monsters, and level up in the multiplayer online world of Norrath. Will Wright's The Sims models real life. It is not the first simulation game— Utopia on Intellivision , Peter Molyneaux's Populous , Sid Meier's Civilization , and Wright's own SimCity preceded it—but it becomes the best-selling computer game ever and the most popular game with female players.
Microsoft enters the video game market with Xbox and hit games like Halo: Four years later, Xbox gains millions of fans with its advanced graphics and seamless online play. Army releases America's Army video game to help recruit and communicate with a new generation of electronic gamers, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars launches the Serious Games Initiative to encourage the development of games that address policy and management issues.
Valve energizes PC gaming with its release of Steam. The digital distribution platform allows players to download, play, and update games. Nintendo maintains its dominance of the handheld market with the Nintendo DS, an easy-to-use, portable gaming system packed with two processors, two screens, multiplayer capabilities, and a stylus for the touchscreen. Microsoft's Xbox brings high-definition realism to the game market, as well as even better multiplayer competitions on Xbox Live and popular titles such as Alan Wake.
Nintendo Wii gets gamers off the couch and moving with innovative, motion-sensitive remotes. Not only does Nintendo make gaming more active, it also appeals to millions of people who never before liked video games. Grab your guitar, microphone, bass, or drums, and start playing Rock Band. That's what millions of would-be musicians did with Harmonix's hit title. Four years after its release, World of Warcraft surpasses 10 million subscribers, making it the most popular Massively Multiplayer Online MMO game ever.
MMOs create entire virtual universes for players and redefine how we play, learn, and relate to one another. Social games like Farmville and mobile games like Angry Birds shake up the games industry. Millions of people who never would have considered themselves gamers now while away hours playing games on new platforms like Facebook and the iPhone. On the mainframe, however, such games were generally not possible due both to the lack of adequate displays many computer terminals continued to rely on teletypes rather than monitors well into the s and even most CRT terminals could only render character-based graphics and insufficient processing power and memory to update game elements in real time.
While s mainframes were more powerful than arcade and console hardware of the period, the need to parcel out computing resources to dozens of simultaneous users via time-sharing significantly hampered their abilities. Thus, programmers of mainframe games focused on strategy and puzzle-solving mechanics over pure action. Notable games of the period include the tactical combat game Star Trek by Mike Mayfield , the hide-and-seek game Hunt the Wumpus by Gregory Yob , and the strategic war game Empire by Walter Bright. Expanded by Don Woods in with an emphasis on the high fantasy of J.
Tolkien , Adventure established a new genre based around exploration and inventory-based puzzle solving that made the transition to personal computers in the late s. While most games were created on hardware of limited graphic ability, one computer able to host more impressive games was the PLATO system developed at the University of Illinois. Intended as an educational computer, the system connected hundreds of users all over the United States via remote terminals that featured high-quality plasma displays and allowed users to interact with each other in real time.
Starting with top-down dungeon crawls like The Dungeon and The Game of Dungeons , more commonly referred to today by their filenames, pedit5 and dnd , PLATO RPGs soon transitioned to a first-person perspective with games like Moria , Oubliette , and Avatar , which often allowed multiple players to join forces to battle monsters and complete quests together.
Like Adventure , these games would ultimately inspire some of the earliest personal computer games. By , video games were well established in the U. That changed with the introduction of a new game developed in Japan. While video games had been introduced to Japan soon after hitting the United States, the Japanese arcade industry had remained primarily focused on electro-mechanical driving and shooting games and a type of slot machine called the "medal game" that accepted and paid out in medals instead of currency so as not to be classified as a gambling game.
In , the arrival of Breakout , distributed locally by the Nakamura Manufacturing Company , and the advent of table-top game units, pioneered by Taito, created new demand for video games in snack bars and tea houses. Taito designer Tomohiro Nishikado decided to build on the popularity of Breakout by replacing the paddle in the game with a gun battery and the bricks in the game with rows of aliens that would descend line-by-line while firing at the player.
Taito released this game in as Space Invaders. Space Invaders introduced or popularized several important concepts in arcade video games, including play regulated by lives instead of a timer or set score, gaining extra lives through accumulating points, and the tracking of the high score achieved on the machine. It was also the first game to confront the player with waves of targets that would shoot back at the player and the first to include background music during game play, a simple four-note loop. With its intense game play and competitive scoring features, Space Invaders became a national phenomenon as over , invader games—counting clones and knockoffs—entered Japanese game centers by the middle of While not quite as popular in the United States, Space Invaders became the biggest hit the industry had seen since the Great Depression as Midway, serving as the North American manufacturer, moved over 60, cabinets.
The one-two punch of Space Invaders and the Atari game Asteroids , which moved 70, units and popularized the recording of multiple high scores in a table, resulted in video arcade games completely displacing pinball and other amusements to become the central attraction of not just the shopping mall arcade, but also a variety of street locations from convenience stores to bowling alleys to pizza parlors. Many of the best-selling games of and such as Galaxian , Defender , Missile Command , Tempest , and Galaga focused on shooting mechanics and achieving high scores.
Starting with Pac Man in , which sold 96, units in the United States, a new wave of games appeared that focused on identifiable characters and alternate mechanics such as navigating a maze or traversing a series of platforms. Aside from Pac Man and its sequel, Ms. Meanwhile, the number of arcades—defined as any location with ten or more games—more than doubled between July and July from over 10, to just over 25, After the collapse of the dedicated console market in , focus in the home shifted to the new programmable systems, in which game data was stored on ROM-based cartridges.
Fairchild semiconductor struck first in this market with the Channel F, but after losing millions in the digital watch business, the company took a conservative approach to the programmable console market and kept production runs of the system low. As a result, by the end of , Fairchild had only sold about , systems. Atari followed Fairchild into the market in and sold between , and , systems that year. Magnavox joined the programmable market in with the Odyssey 2 , while toy company Mattel released the Intellivision in , which featured graphics superior to any of its competitors.
After both Atari and Fairchild made a strong showing in , the market hit a difficult patch in when retailers resisted building inventory, believing that the newly emerging electronic handheld market would displace video games. Atari, for example, manufactured , systems, but proved unable to sell more than , to retail. This helped precipitate a crisis at the company that saw co-founder and chairman Nolan Bushnell and president Joe Keenan forced out by Atari's parent company, Warner Communications, which had purchased Atari in largely on the potential of the VCS.
Ultimately, home video games did well in the holiday season, and retailers proved more amenable to stocking them again in New Atari CEO Ray Kassar subsequently harnessed his company's leftover stock to help transform video game consoles into a year-round product rather than something just purchased by retailers for sale during the holiday season. The real breakthrough for the home video game market occurred in when Atari released a conversion of the popular Space Invaders game for the VCS, which was licensed from Taito.
In the early days of the programmable market, all of the games for a given system were developed by the firm that released the console. That changed in when four Atari programmers, seeking greater recognition and financial reward for their contributions, struck out on their own to form Activision, the first third-party developer. The company went on to develop a string of hits including Kaboom!
In , another group of Atari employees joined with ex-Mattel staff to form Imagic and experienced success with games like Demon Attack and Atlantis In , Atari released a more advanced console based on its 8-bit computer line, the Atari , which failed to perform as well as its predecessor. That same year, Coleco returned to the video game market with a new console, the ColecoVision, that featured near-arcade-quality graphics and shipped with a port of the popular arcade game Donkey Kong.
Coleco sold out its entire run of , units in the holiday season as overall U. Ultimately, however, the rapid growth of the home console market could not be sustained, and the industry would soon face a serious downturn that would nearly wipe it out during the video game crash of While the fruit of retail development in early video games appeared mainly in video arcades and home consoles, home computers began appearing in the late s and were rapidly evolving in the s, allowing their owners to program simple games.
Hobbyist groups for the new computers soon formed and PC game software followed. Early game designers like Crowther, Daglow and Yob would find the computer code for their games—which they had never thought to copyright—published in books and magazines, with their names removed from the listings. Early home computers from Apple , Commodore , Tandy and others had many games that people typed in. Games were also distributed by the physical mailing and selling of floppy disks, cassette tapes, and ROM cartridges.
Soon a small cottage industry was formed, with amateur programmers selling disks in plastic bags put on the shelves of local shops or sent through the mail. Richard Garriott distributed several copies of his role-playing video game Akalabeth: World of Doom in plastic bags before the game was published. While some early s games were simple clones of existing arcade titles, the relatively low publishing costs for personal computer games allowed for bold, unique games.
Following the success of the Apple II and Commodore PET in the late s, a series of cheaper and incompatible rivals emerged in the early s. These rivals helped to catalyze both the home computer and game markets, by raising awareness of computing and gaming through their competing advertising campaigns. Games dominated home computers' software libraries. A compendium of reviews of Atari 8-bit software used pages for games compared to for all others. The Commodore 64 was released to the public in August It found initial success because it was marketed and priced aggressively.
It also used the same game controller ports popularized by the Atari , allowing gamers to use their old joysticks with the system. It would become the most popular home computer of its day in the USA and many other countries and the best-selling single computer model of all time internationally. At around the same time, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum was released in the United Kingdom and quickly became the most popular home computer in many areas of Western Europe—and later the Eastern Bloc —due to the ease with which clones could be produced.
The new color  Enhanced Graphics Adapter EGA display standard allowed its graphics to approach the quality seen in popular home computers like the Commodore However, the sound abilities of the AT were still limited to the PC speaker , which was substandard compared to the built-in sound chips used in many home computers. Also, the relatively high cost of the PC compatible systems severely limited their popularity in gaming. The Apple Macintosh also arrived at this time. It lacked the color abilities of the earlier Apple II , instead preferring a much higher pixel resolution, but the operating system support for the graphical user interface GUI attracted developers of some games e.
Lode Runner even before color returned in with the Mac II. The arrival of the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga in was the start of a new era of bit machines. This was a big jump ahead of most 8-bit home computers but still lagged behind platforms with built-in sound and graphics hardware like the Amiga. This caused an odd trend around '89—91 toward developing for a seemingly inferior machine. Thus while both the ST and Amiga were host to many technically excellent games, their time of prominence was shorter than that of the 8-bit machines, which saw new ports well into the s and even the s. Dedicated sound cards started to address the issue of poor sound abilities in IBM PC compatibles in the late s.
Ad Lib set an early de facto standard for sound cards in , with its card based on the Yamaha YM sound chip. This would last until the introduction of Creative Labs ' Sound Blaster in , which took the chip and added new features while remaining compatible with Ad Lib cards, and creating a new de facto standard.
However, many games would still support these and rarer things like the Roland MT and Disney Sound Source into the early s. The initial high cost of sound cards meant they would not find widespread use until the s. Shareware gaming first appeared in the mids, but its big successes came in the s. Dial-up bulletin board systems were popular in the s, and sometimes used for online game playing. The earliest such systems were in the late s and early s and had a crude plain-text interface.
Some BBSs offered access to various games which were playable through such an interface, ranging from text adventures to gambling games like blackjack generally played for "points" rather than real money. On some multiuser BBSs where more than one person could be online at once , there were games allowing users to interact with one another. SuperSet Software created Snipes , a text-mode networked computer game in to test a new IBM Personal Computer —based computer network and demonstrate its abilities. Snipes is officially credited as being the original inspiration for NetWare.
It is believed to be the first network game ever written for a commercial personal computer and is recognized alongside game Maze War a networked multiplayer maze game for several research machines and Spasim a 3D multiplayer space simulation for time shared mainframes as the precursor to multiplayer games such as 's MIDI Maze , and Doom in In iDoom later Kali. These services ultimately became obsolete when game producers began including their own online software such as Battle.
The first user interfaces were plain-text—similar to BBSs— but they operated on large mainframe computers, permitting larger numbers of users to be online at once. By the end of the decade, inline services had fully graphical environments using software specific to each personal computer platform. Interactive games were a feature of these services, though until they used text-based displays, not graphics. In , Milton Bradley Company released the first handheld system using interchangeable cartridges, Microvision. While the handheld received modest success in the first year of production, the lack of games, screen size and video game crash of brought about the system's quick demise.
Tiger Electronics borrowed this concept of videogaming with cheap, affordable handhelds and still produces games in this model to the present day. At the end of , several factors, including a market flooded with poor-quality games, the commercial failure of several important Atari titles, and home computers emerging as a new and more advanced gaming platform, caused the industry to experience a severe downturn.
This was the "crash" of the video game industry. It bankrupted several companies that produced North American consoles and games from late to early It ended what is considered to be the second generation of console video gaming. As a result of the crash, a globally important video gaming industry emerged in Japan, creating important room for companies like Nintendo and Sega.
This brought about the worldwide popularity of the third-generation Nintendo Entertainment System , for which third-party game publishing was strictly overseen by Nintendo. Whilst a broken gaming industry in the US took several local businesses to bankruptcy and practically ended retail interest in video gaming products, an 8-bit third generation of video game consoles started in Japan as early as with the release of both Nintendo 's Family Computer "Famicom" and Sega 's SG on July The first clearly trumped the second in terms of commercial success in the country, causing Sega to replace it, two years later, by a severely improved and modernized version called the Sega Mark III.
In efforts to make the Famicom marketable in the US, Nintendo created a completely redesigned version of it, called the Nintendo Entertainment System NES , to be sold in the country as a product unrelated to video gaming. For this same reason, the company also developed a toy robot accessory called the R. The NES was released on 18 October in the US, reviving the video game market in the country and proving successful to the American audience, peaking in popularity between and the early s.
The console was later released in other Western countries, but because of heavy competition from home computers such as the ZX Spectrum , Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 , and a lack of marketing, the NES was prevented from having as much success in Europe. While Sega focused on unique gameplay experiences and innovative technology with Master System's superior technical properties which allowed better graphics, and accessories like LCD glasses , Nintendo focused on creating long and popular game franchises which often repeated the same features.
In this generation, the gamepad or joypad, took over for joysticks , paddles , and keypads as the default game controller. The gamepad design of an 8 direction Directional-pad or D-pad for short with 2 or more action buttons became the standard. This generation also marked a shift in the dominance of home video game console hardware and console game production from the United States to Japan.
The third console generation marked the debut of various high-profile role-playing franchises, such as The Legend of Zelda , Dragon Quest , Phantasy Star and Final Fantasy , the latter of which financially saved Japanese developer Square. In , Nintendo published their first issue of Nintendo Power magazine.
Computer Gaming World warned that computer gaming could become a "cultural backwater," similar to what had happened a few years earlier with 8-bit computers. These were both based on the 8-bit computers of their manufacturers, and had only limited success due to a lack of software support and the arrival of bit machines. Amstrad's GX sold just over 15, units, with only 25 officially released game cartridges.
Even though it was technically superior to the Master System and Nintendo Entertainment System, it was discontinued after 6 months. A bit generation of video game consoles starts in the late s. It had a large following in Japan, but, did poorly in North America and Europe because of its limited library of games and because of excessive distribution restrictions imposed by Hudson Soft. This time was one of intense competition and not entirely truthful marketing.
The TurboGrafx was billed as the first bit system but its central processor was an 8-bit HuC , with only its HuC graphics processor being a true bit chip. Also, the much earlier Mattel Intellivision contained a bit processor. Sega used the term "Blast Processing" throughout its marketing to describe the simple fact that their console's CPU ran at a higher clock speed than that of the SNES 7. In Japan, the PC Engine was a very successful competitor against the Famicom and a CD drive peripheral allowed it to fend off the Mega Drive in , though it never really caught on to the same degree outside Japan.
The PC Engine eventually lost out to the Super Famicom , but, due to its popular CD add-ons, retained enough of a user base to support new games well into the late s. Nintendo experimented with optical media formats for the SNES in a joint venture with Sony , who would go on to develop this concept into the PlayStation and rise to prominence as a major competitor to Nintendo and Sega.
SNK 's Neo-Geo was the most costly console by a wide margin when released in , and would remain so for years. Its 2D graphics were of a quality years ahead of other consoles. The reason for this was that it contained the same hardware that was found in SNK's arcade games. This was the first time since the home Pong machines that a true-to-the-arcade experience could be had at home, but the system was commercially inviable.
This era also saw a revival of handheld consoles , which were absent in the prior generation. Nintendo's Game Boy , a portable released in with monochromatic 2D graphics and hours battery life, became widely popular in the world and sold much more than its three competitors, the Atari Lynx , the Sega Game Gear and NEC's Turbo Express , released in Japan in North America until Despite these three consoles having much more sophisticated bit graphics similar to home consoles of the time , graphic resource consumed too much battery life, which contributed to their unpopularity.
The s were a decade of marked innovation in video gaming. It was a decade of transition from raster graphics to 3D graphics and gave rise to several genres of video games including first-person shooter , real-time strategy , and MMO. Handheld gaming began to become more popular throughout the decade, thanks in part to the release of the Game Boy in As arcade games declined, however, the home video game industry matured into a more mainstream form of entertainment in the s, but their video games also became more and more controversial because of their violent nature, especially in games of Mortal Kombat , Night Trap , and Doom , leading to the formation of the Interactive Digital Software Association and their rating games by signing them their ESRB ratings since In North America, arcade games, which had seen a slow decline with the increase in popularity of home gaming, experienced a resurgence in the early-to-mids, with the release of Capcom 's Street Fighter II  popularizing competitive one-on-one fighting games and reviving the arcade industry to a level of popularity not seen since the days of Pac-Man.
Sports games such as NBA Jam also briefly became popular in arcades during this period. According to SCE's former producer Ryoji Akagawa and chairman Shigeo Maruyama, the PlayStation was originally being considered as a 2D -focused hardware, and it wasn't until the success of Virtua Fighter in the arcades that they decided to design the PlayStation as a 3D-focused hardware.
However, with the advent of and bit consoles in the mids, home video game consoles such as the Sega Saturn , PlayStation and Nintendo 64 also became able to produce texture-mapped 3D graphics. Increasing numbers of players would wait for popular arcade games to be ported to consoles rather than pumping coins into arcade kiosks. By , however, Sega's new console , the Dreamcast , could produce 3D graphics on-par with the Sega Naomi arcade machine.
After producing the more powerful Hikaru board in and Naomi 2 in , Sega eventually stopped manufacturing custom arcade system boards, with their subsequent arcade boards being based on either consoles or commercial PC components. As patronage of arcades declined, many were forced to close down. Classic coin-operated games have largely become the province of dedicated hobbyists and as a tertiary attraction for some businesses, such as movie theaters, batting cages , miniature golf courses, and arcades attached to game stores such as F.
The gap left by the old corner arcades was partly filled by large amusement centers dedicated to providing clean, safe environments and costly game control systems unavailable to home users. These newer arcade titles offered games based on driving, sports like skiing or cycling, and rhythm games like Dance Dance Revolution and path-based shooting gallery games like Time Crisis , which have taken a large part of the market. Aimed at adults and older kids, they feature full service restaurants with full liquor bars and have a wide variety of video game and hands on electronic gaming options.
Cheese's is a similar type of business for younger children. In , Nintendo released the Game Boy , the first handheld game console since the ill-fated Microvision ten years before. Included with the system was Tetris , which became one of the best sold video games of all time and was ported to a large variety of systems. Although these systems were more technologically advanced, they were hampered by higher battery consumption and less third-party developer support. While some of the other systems remained in production until the mids, the Game Boy , and its successive incarnations the Game Boy Pocket , Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance , would be virtually unchallenged for dominance in the handheld market, until the PlayStation Portable was released in to compete with Nintendo's successor to the Game Boy line, the Nintendo DS.
The increasing computing power and decreasing cost of processors such as the Intel , Intel , and Motorola , caused the rise of 3D graphics , and multimedia abilities through sound cards and CD-ROMs. Early 3D games began with flat shading graphics Elite , Starglider 2 or Alpha Waves ,  and then simple forms of texture mapping. Before the end of the decade, the evolution of the genre continued through graphical MUDs into the first massively multiplayer online role-playing games MMORPGs , which freed users from the limited number of simultaneous players in other games and brought persistent worlds to the mass market.
In the early s, shareware distribution was a popular method of publishing games for smaller developers, including then-fledgling companies such as Apogee now 3D Realms , Epic MegaGames now Epic Games , and id Software. Since the shareware versions were essentially free, the cost only needed to cover the disk and minimal packaging.
As the increasing size of games in the mids made them impractical to fit on floppies, and retail publishers and developers began to earnestly mimic the practice, shareware games were replaced by shorter game demos often only one or two levels , distributed free on CDs with gaming magazines and over the Internet. Real-time strategy became a popular genre of computer games in the early 90s, with Dune II setting the standard game mechanics of many games since. Meanwhile, Alone in the Dark influenced the survival-horror genre with its action-adventure elements.
It established the formula that would later flourish on CD-ROM—based consoles, with games such as Resident Evil , which coined the name "survival horror" and popularized the genre, and Silent Hill. Graphic adventure games continued to evolve during this period, with the creation of the point-and-click genre. Some of the genre's most prolific titles were being produced by Sierra Entertainment and LucasArts during the 90s, and Myst and its sequels inspired a new style of puzzle-based adventure games.
It was in the s that Maxis began publishing its successful line of "Sim" games , starting with SimCity , and continuing with a variety of titles, such as SimEarth , SimCity , and eventually The Sims , which was first released in early In , 3dfx Interactive released the Voodoo chipset, leading to the first affordable 3D accelerator cards for personal computers.
These devoted 3D rendering daughterboards performed a portion of the computations and memory-handling required for more-detailed three-dimensional graphics mainly texture filtering , allowing for more-detailed graphics than would be possible if the CPU were required to handle both game logic and all the graphical tasks.
First-person shooters FPS were among the first to take advantage of this new technology.
Video Game History Timeline
While other games would also make use of it, the FPS would become the main driving force behind the development of new 3D hardware, and the yardstick by which its performance would be measured, usually quantified as the number of frames per second rendered for a given scene in a given game. Several other less mainstream genres were created in this decade. Looking Glass Studios ' Thief: The Dark Project and its sequel were the first to coin the term "first person sneaker,"  and the turn-based strategy progressed further, with the Heroes of Might and Magic series popularizing the thus far niche and complex genre.
Internet multiplayer ability became a de facto requirement in most FPS games since. Other genres also began to offer online play in the late 90s, including real-time strategy games as Age of Empires , the Warcraft and StarCraft series, and turn-based games such as Heroes of Might and Magic. Developments in web browser plug-ins like Java and Adobe Flash allowed for simple browser-based games. In , Atari re-entered the home console market with the introduction of the Atari Jaguar. Also in , The 3DO Company released the 3DO Interactive Multiplayer , which, though highly advertised and promoted, failed to catch up to the sales of the Jaguar, due to its high pricetag.
Both consoles had very low sales and few quality games, eventually leading to their demise. In , three new consoles were released in Japan: The PlayStation quickly outsold all of its competitors mainly on the strength of its available titles, with the exception of the aging Super Nintendo Entertainment System , which still had the support of many major game companies. The Virtual Boy from Nintendo was released in as one of the first consumer consoles providing 3D depth perception, but did not achieve high sales, largely due to the monochrome display and the lack of third-party support.
In the Virtual Boy was taken off the market. After many delays, during which Sony's PlayStation gained industry acceptance, Nintendo released its bit console, the Nintendo 64 in The console's flagship title, Super Mario 64 , became a defining title for 3D platformer games. Subsequent music and dance games like beatmania and Dance Dance Revolution became ubiquitous attractions in Japanese arcades.
While Parappa , DDR , and other games found a cult following when brought to North America, music games would not gain a wide audience in the market until the next decade with titles like Guitar Hero.
Video Game History
Also in Capcom released Resident Evil , the first well known survival horror game. It was a huge success selling over 2 million copies and is considered one of the best games on the PlayStation. Other milestone games of the era include Rare 's Nintendo 64 title GoldenEye , which was critically acclaimed for bringing innovation as being the first major first-person shooter that was exclusive to a console, and for pioneering certain features that became staples of the genre, such as scopes, headshots, and objective-based missions.
Ocarina of Time for the Nintendo 64 is one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time , and is still the highest ranked game across all platforms on video game aggregator Metacritic. The title also featured many innovations such as Z-targeting , which has persisted through subsequent Zelda titles on newer consoles and is commonly used in many other franchises today. Nintendo's choice to continue using ROM cartridges instead of moving to CD-ROMs for the Nintendo 64, unique among the consoles of this period, proved to have negative consequences for the console and for Nintendo's market share.
While cartridges had faster access times, were more durable and resistant to unlicensed copying, CDs could hold far more data MB, over ten times the capacity of the largest N64 ROM at 64MB and cost far less to produce, causing many game companies to turn to Nintendo's CD-based competitors. Notably, Square , which had released all prior games in its Final Fantasy series for Nintendo consoles, now turned exclusively to the PlayStation; Final Fantasy VII was a massive success, establishing the popularity of role-playing video games in the west and making the PlayStation the primary console for the genre, taking the crown from Nintendo who had enjoyed it with the SNES and Square's then Nintendo-exclusive Final Fantasy , Secret of Mana and Chrono Trigger titles.
Capcom also largely departed from Nintendo during the N64 days; the next 4 installments of its popular Mega Man 2D platform shooter were released on PlayStation and Saturn. Capcom was somewhat quicker and more eager to return than Square, however, providing two anthologies of Mega Man titles for the GameCube , including Mega Man 8 and Mega Man X that Nintendo players had missed. By the end of this period, Sony had become the leader in the video game market. The Saturn was moderately successful in Japan but a commercial failure in North America and Europe, leaving Sega outside of the main competition.
The N64 achieved huge success in North America and Europe, though it never surpassed PlayStation's sales or was as popular in Japan, and began to show a decline in third-party support for Nintendo's home consoles. This generation ended with the discontinuation of the PlayStation known in its re-engineered form as the "PSOne" in March The fifth generation is most noted for the rise of fully 3D games. While there were games prior that had used three dimensional environments, such as Virtua Racing and Star Fox , it was in this era that many game designers began to move traditionally 2D and pseudo-3D genres into full 3D.
Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Their 3D environments were widely marketed, and they steered the industry's focus away from side-scrolling and rail-style titles, and opened doors to more complex games and genres.
- A Brief History of Video Games by Richard Stanton?
- How Video Game Systems Work.
- The History of Video Games | HowStuffWorks;
- Frequently bought together.
The N64 was the last major home console to use the cartridge format, although it persists to this day in handheld games on Nintendo and Sony devices using memory cards similar to Secure Digital SD cards. Mobile phones began becoming video gaming platforms when Nokia installed Snake onto its line of mobile phones in Nokia Mobile phone games early on were limited by the modest size of the phone screens that were all monochrome, the very limited amount of memory and processing power on phones, and the drain on the battery.
The s decade showed innovation on both consoles and PCs, and an increasingly competitive market for portable game systems. The phenomena of user-created modifications or "mods" for games, one trend that began during the Wolfenstein 3D and Doom -era, continued into the start of the 21st century. The most famous example is that of Counter-Strike ; released in , it is still one of the most popular online first-person shooter, even though it was created as a mod for Half-Life by two independent programmers.
Eventually, game designers realized the potential of mods and custom content in general to enhance the value of their games, and so began to encourage its creation. Some examples of this include Unreal Tournament , which allowed players to import 3dsmax scenes to use as character models, and Maxis ' The Sims , for which players could create custom objects.
In China, video game consoles were banned in June This has led to an explosion in the popularity of computer games, especially MMOs. Consoles and the games for them are easily acquired however, as there is a robust grey market importing and distributing them across the country. Another side effect of this law has been increased copyright infringement of video games. In the sixth generation of video game consoles, Sega exited the hardware market, Nintendo fell behind, Sony solidified its lead in the industry, and Microsoft developed their first gaming console.
The generation opened with the launch of the Sega Dreamcast in As the first console with a built-in modem for Internet support and online play, it was initially successful, but sales and popularity would start to fall. This has been attributed to Sega's damaged reputation from the relative failures of the 32X and Saturn, copyright infringement, and the huge anticipation for the upcoming PlayStation 2.
The Dreamcast's library contains many titles considered creative and innovative, including the Shenmue series which are regarded as a major step forward for 3D open-world gameplay  and has introduced the quick time event mechanic in its modern form.
The console was highly successful during the generation. Nintendo followed a year later with the GameCube code-named "Dolphin" while in development , the company's first optical disc-based console. While it had the component-video ability of its contemporaries, the GameCube suffered in several ways compared to Sony's PS2.
First, the PS2's high anticipation and one-year head start gained it player and developer attention before the GCN's release. As a result, the GameCube had less third-party backing and very few third-party exclusives, mostly from Nintendo-faithful studios such as Rare and the now-defunct Midway Games. Cross-platform giants like Capcom , Electronic Arts and Activision released most of their GameCube titles on other consoles as well, while Square Enix released high-demand PS2 exclusives.
The GCN's game disc capacity was a third that of the PS2's full-size DVD disks, forcing a few games to be released on multiple discs and most titles to compromise on texture quality and other features of GameCube games, when other platforms had no such limitations on their versions.
It had no backward compatibility with the now-obsolete cartridges of the N It was a dedicated game console, with the optical drive being too small to hold a full-size CD or DVD. Lastly, The GameCube was hindered by a reputation for being a "kid's console", due to its initial launch color scheme and lack of mature-content games which the current market appeared to want.
Before the end of , Microsoft Corporation, best known for its Windows operating system and its professional productivity software, entered the console market with the Xbox. To gain market share and maintain its toehold in the market, Microsoft reportedly sold the Xbox at a significant loss  and concentrated on drawing profit from game developing and publishing. Shortly after its release in November Bungie Studio's Halo: Combat Evolved instantly became the driving point of the Xbox's success, and the Halo series would go on to become one of the most successful console shooter franchises of all time.
By the end of the generation, the Xbox had drawn even with the Nintendo GameCube in sales globally, but since nearly all of its sales were in North America, it pushed Nintendo into third place in the American market. It was very successful both critically and commercially and is considered a huge milestone in gaming. It was also yet another set piece in the debate over video game violence and adult content, with advocacy groups decrying the series' glorification of prostitution, the mafia, and violence, including that against first responders such as police and EMS.
Nintendo still dominated the handheld gaming market during this period. Finnish cellphone maker Nokia entered the handheld scene with the N-Gage , but it failed to win a significant following. In January , Sony announced that the PlayStation 2 had been discontinued worldwide, ending the sixth generation. One significant feature of this generation was various manufacturers' renewed fondness for add-on peripheral controllers. While alternative controllers weren't new Nintendo supported several for the NES and PC games have long supported driving wheels and aircraft joysticks , console games built around them became some of the biggest hits of the decade.
Konami sold a soft-plastic mat version of its foot controls for its Dance Dance Revolution franchise in Sega came out with Samba de Amigo 's maraca controllers. Nintendo's bongo controller worked with a few games in its Donkey Kong franchise. Meanwhile, Sony developed the EyeToy peripheral, a camera that could detect player movement, for the PlayStation 2.
This would further be developed into whole-body tracking technologies such as Sony's PlayStation Move and Microsoft's Kinect. As affordable broadband Internet connectivity spread, many publishers turned to online gaming as a way of innovating. Historically, console-based MMORPGs have been few in number due to the lack of bundled Internet connectivity options for the platforms. This made it hard to establish a large enough subscription community to justify the development costs. Every major platform released since the Dreamcast has either been bundled with the ability to support an Internet connection or has had the option available as an aftermarket add-on.
Microsoft's Xbox also had its own online gaming service called Xbox Live. Xbox Live was a huge success and proved to be a driving force for the Xbox with games like Halo 2 that were highly popular.
In the early s decade , mobile games had gained mainstream popularity in Japanese mobile phone culture , years before the United States or Europe. By , a wide variety of mobile games were available on Japanese phones, ranging from puzzle games and virtual pet titles that use camera phone and fingerprint scanner technologies to 3D games with PlayStation -quality graphics. Older arcade-style games became very popular on mobile phones, which were an ideal platform for arcade-style games designed for shorter play sessions. Namco began making attempts to introduce mobile gaming culture to Europe in Mobile gaming interest was raised when Nokia launched its N-Gage phone and handheld gaming platform in While about two million handsets were sold, the product line wasn't seen as a success and was withdrawn from Nokia's lineup.
Meanwhile, many game developers had noticed that more advanced phones had color screens and enough memory and processing power to do reasonable gaming. Mobile phone gaming revenues passed 1 billion dollars in , and passed 5 billion dollars in , accounting for a quarter of all videogaming software revenues. More advanced phones came to the market such as the N-Series smartphone by Nokia in and the iPhone by Apple in which strongly added to the appeal of mobile phone gaming. In Nokia didn't revise the N-Gage brand, but published a software library of games to its top-end phones.
At Apple's App Store in , more than half of all applications sold were iPhone games. Due to the debut of app stores created by Apple and Google , plus the low-cost retail price of downloadable phone apps, games available on smartphones increasingly rival the video game console market. Among the most successful mobile games of this period is Angry Birds , which, released in , reached 2 million downloads within one year. Since , the fast growing mobile market in African countries such as Nigeria and Kenya has also resulted in a growth in mobile game development.
Local developers have taken advantage of the recent increase in mobile internet connection in countries where broadband is rarely available and console games are costly, though locally developed applications have difficulty competing against millions of western applications available on the Google Play Store   . While the PSP boasted superior graphics and power, following a trend established since the mids, Nintendo gambled on a lower-power design but featuring a novel control interface.
The DS's two screens proved extremely popular with consumers, especially young children and middle-aged gamers, who were drawn to the device by Nintendo's Nintendogs and Brain Age series respectively. The PSP attracted a significant portion of veteran gamers in North America and was very popular in Japan, though a large portion of its visual novels and anime -based games have never been localized in the west. This combined allowed Nintendo to continue its dominance in handheld gaming. Nokia withdrew their N-Gage platform in but reintroduced the brand as a game-oriented service for high-end smartphones on April 3, In console gaming, Microsoft stepped forward first in November with the Xbox , and Sony followed in with the PlayStation 3 , released in Europe in March Setting the technology standard for the generation, both featured high-definition graphics over HDMI connections, large hard disk-based secondary storage for save games and downloaded content, integrated networking, and a companion on-line gameplay and sales platform, with Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network respectively.
Both were formidable systems that were the first to challenge personal computers in power at launch , while offering a relatively modest price compared to them. However, the slim model and the PlayStation Move controllers caused a massive recovery for PlayStation 3, and the console would soon outsell Xbox by In this generation, Nintendo not only secured its dominance in the handheld video game market, but also successfully regained total dominance on both the home video game market and the entire video game industry with the release of its home console, the Wii.
Nintendo took cues from PC gaming and their crafted games that capitalized on the intuitive nature of motion control. Emphasis on gameplay turned comparatively simple games into unlikely runaway hits, such as Wii Sports , Wii Sports Resort , and Wii Fit. Many gamers, publishers, and analysts initially dismissed the Wii as an underpowered curiosity, but were surprised as the console sold out through the Christmas season, and remained so through the next 18 months, becoming the fastest selling game console in most of the world's gaming markets.
As of September , the Wii has sold The PSP Go was a newer, slimmer version of the PSP, which had the control pad slide from the base, where its screen covers most of the front side. With high-definition video an undeniable hit with veteran gamers seeking immersive experiences, expectations for visuals in games along with the increasing complexity of productions resulted in a spike in the development budgets of gaming companies. While some game studios saw their Xbox projects pay off, the unexpected weakness of PS3 sales resulted in heavy losses for a few developers, and many publishers broke formerly arranged PS3 exclusivity arrangements or cancelled PS3 game projects entirely due to rising budgets.
Starting with PCs, a new trend in casual games , with limited complexity and designed for shortened or impromptu play sessions, began to draw attention from the industry. Many were puzzle games, such as Popcap's Bejeweled and PlayFirst 's Diner Dash , while others were games with a more relaxed pace and open-ended play.
The biggest hit was The Sims by Maxis , which went on to become the best selling computer game of all time, surpassing Myst. In , social network games began gaining mainstream popularity following the release of Happy Farm in China. In , a few cloud computing services were announced targeted at video games.