History of Pc Games

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History of Computer Games
John E. Laird EECS Department Updated 9/7/05
Derived from The Ultimate Game Developer’s Sourcebook The First Quarter: A 25 year history of video games, S.Kent and sources on the WWW

First “games”
• 1952
– TicTacToe: – A.S.Douglas on a EDSAC vacuum-tube computer [OXO] T56K [M3] PFGKIFAFRDLFUFOFE@A6FG@E8FEZPF @ !8!7!!!!!!!*NOUGHTS!AND!CROSSES @!5!4!!!!!!!*!!!!!!!!BY @!2!1!!!!!!!*A!S!DOUGLAS#N!*C#M1952 @&@&*LOADING!PLEASE!WAIT#MMM ..PK T45KP192F [H-parm] T50KP512F [X-parm] T46KP352F [N-parm] T64K GKT48KP@TZ [&-sequence] P4FPFP1FP2FP3FP4FP8FP10FP12FP16F P300FP32FAHOFU1FU2FK4098FM1FA2DPF

• 1958
– Tennis for Two:
• Willy Higginbotham on an oscilloscope connected to analog Donner computer

1960’s and Early 1970’s
• 1961-1962 SpaceWar! developed at MIT using vector graphics on PDP-1 • Sega releases Periscope: – electronic shooting game - first arcade game

1971-1974 Birth of Commercial Games
• 1971:
– Nolan Bushnell [Nutting] develops Computer Space
• • • • First commercial arcade game Based on SpaceWar Vector graphics, but really cool real-time space game Too sophisticated for market. Fails



1972:
– Bushnell starts Atari
• Named after a move in GO

– Odyssey by Magnavox – “Hockey”
• First home TV game – analog not digital • 100,000 sold - $100/console –



1973:
– Pong in Arcades by Atari
• Sued by Magnavox • A huge hit in bars, pinball arcades, …



1974:
– Kee releases Tank
• Fake spinoff from Atari • First game to use ROM

– Atari:
• First racing game (Trak 10) & maze chase game (Gotcha).

1972-1976
• Adventure: The Colossal Cave
– William Crowther and Don Woods – First text-based adventure game – Ran on DEC mainframes (PDP-10)

Late-70’s: Atari Expands
• • 1976: Bushnell sells Atari to Warner for $26 Million – Warner markets Pong to home as a single game – Breakout designed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak

1977: Atari introduces the 2600 VCS
– First home game console with multiple games – 2K ROM , 128 Bytes of RAM – Very successful – 6M sold by 1980

• •

1977: Apple starts selling the Apple II 1978:
– Adventure for Atari comes out
• Sold 1M copies, first Easter Egg • first action/adventure game

– Space Invader developed by Taito in Japan



1979:
– Activision is formed by Atari developers
• Third party development houses start up

– Atari 800 introduced - 8-bit – First MUD by Trubshaw & Bartle • First online multiplayer game

1980-1981: Rise
• 1980:
– Phillips Odyssey2 (1978) and Mattel Intellivision
• Mattel had better graphics, but terrible controller

– Namco has Pac-Man
• >$1 billion ($2.3 in 1997 dollars) • 300,000 arcade units sold since introduction

– Atari doing $1 billion:
• Asteroids & Battlezone released

– Williams releases Defender – Zork released by Infocom, Ultima released

• 1981:
– – – – Game industry > $6 billion in sales Nintendo: Donkey Kong [converted Radarscope] Galaxian, Centipede, Tempest, Ms. Pac-Man IBM introduces the IBM PC

1982: Clouds ahead
• Atari sales down 50% -- starts to loses $$’s
– – – – Releases 5200 But it still controlled 80% of the market Atari buys rights to ET for $22 Million Produced more PacMan cartridges than systems

• Activision releases Pitfall • ColecoVision gets Donkey Kong • Game companies start just for home computers – Sierra On-Line, Broderbund, BudgeCo

• Electronic Arts is formed

1983: Crash
• Mattel losses $225 million from Intellivision
– Doesn’t ship the Aquarius – Loses as much as it had made the four prior years.

• Atari loses money
– Market flooded with poor quality games: – Fox, CBS, Quaker Oats, Chuck Wagon dog food

• Coleco crashes
– Saved by Cabbage Patch Kids

• Commodore 64 - home computer
– 17-22 million total sold

• Dragon’s Lair released
– Laserdisk – 6 years to make - Bluth Studios

Crash & Resurgence
• 1984:
– Industry drops to below $800 M – Apple introduces the Macintosh • Birth of...
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