People have gone a long way in finding something to entertain themselves, and with the help of technology, they were able to discover the wonders of a computer game. But have you ever wondered how the first PC game came to be? What did it look like? How was it played? Did people also go crazy over it?
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Were there long lines outside the tech store because everyone’s excited to play the very first computer game?
Ah, now we see that you are interested to know! So, without further ado, let us get right into answering your questions and learn how computer games evolved throughout the years.
HISTORY OF COMPUTER GAMES
Can you still remember the first PC game you played? Whatever it is, I bet it looked nowhere near the actual, first ever computer game that was made in 1962.
The game, named Spacewar!, is a space combat video game that featured 2 spaceships, each controlled by a human player, with the goal of shooting each other down until one of them was destroyed. It was basically a simple versus game and even with the absence of complicated rules, we can only imagine that Spacewar! was pretty entertaining, especially since you are up against another player.
As expected, it did gain popularity among the people of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where it was developed, but installations were limited to a few dozens only. So no, there were no long lines outside stores nor did it create a worldwide uproar unlike how new game releases are welcomed today. If you are wondering why, despite it being groundbreaking, well, you must know that computers before were massive and were yet to be a common necessity in many households. In fact, Spacewar! was made in a PDP-1 computer that was as big as a car!
Spacewar! was, and still is, seen as an influential game to this day because it became the inspiration for the computer games that followed. More than that, its public domain code was recreated in other computers, which made developing other games possible!
With a lot of work and effort poured into making not only computer games popular, but also to promote the widespread use of computers, you can consider Spacewar! to be the ultimate ancestor of all computer games today. However, it was not until 11 years later when the first commercially available computer game was introduced. Aside from the black and white graphics, the game Pong was different from Spacewar! but its concept is a classic. Basically, you simply have to catch the bouncing dot on the screen with the flat surface you can slide from end to end. What made it interesting was that it had levels of difficulty and even offered you 3 lives. How generous!
In the Netflix docuseries High Score, we can take a closer look at the evolution of video games from the 1980s to the 1990s. The show featured big names in the gaming industry, including the creators of some of everyone’s favorite classics like Space Invaders developer Tomohiro Nishikado, Pac-Man’s Toru Iwatani, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Creator Howard Scott Warshaw.
Watching High Score will show you how video games took over the world along with its own entertainment drama, company and game rivalries, and breakthrough transitions from pixelated visuals to 3D computer graphics.
Computer games came a long way from being rough, black and white pixels on screen to ultra-high quality graphics we can appreciate nowadays. Bit by bit, new game elements were introduced and even new concepts were explored. From a simple shooter game to a classic game of catch, new genres were born like interactive fiction games, first-person shooter games, and combat games. Soon enough, we have a ton of computer games to choose from.
THE BEST OLD COMPUTER GAMES
Now, can you remember the first computer game you played? While we are diving down the history of PC games, let us take a look at some of the most memorable ones!
1. Super Mario Bros
Nintendo released a lot of games and they are honestly too many to count, but when it comes to its most popular creation, we are certain that no one would argue against Super Mario Bros!
Your parents know it, you know it and have probably played many versions of this game countless times, and your younger siblings still get to enjoy the crazy adventures of Mario and his gang. Nintendo has a lot of popular titles under its wing but Super Mario Bros is an ever-living classic.
MS-DOS games also became popular especially in the late 1980s, and one of the unforgettable classics is Wasteland. It is seen as the top role-playing game set in the 21st century wherein players get to be desert rangers exploring the mysteries and disturbances in a desert area. Wasteland comes with a compelling storyline that was enough to get you hooked, and a surprisingly neat character customization feature that made it extra interesting for players.
Because many are also looking to play this game when they are feeling nostalgic, Wasteland is also among the popular Abandonware games.
3. Half-Life 2
This 64-bit game is one you would say that is way ahead of its era, making it one of the absolute favorites up to this day! Half-Life 2 is able to combine exhilarating action, immersive storytelling, and intense gameplay in a timeless masterpiece as it takes you to an alien-infested Earth that needs immediate rescuing. You’ve got aliens, cool guns, customizable characters, and realistic facial animation that makes the experience all the more real. Therefore it comes to no surprise that Half-Life 2 is also the best first person shooter (FPS) game out there among all classic PC shooter games.
The popularity of Space games might also stem from us humans’ natural curiosity about space and the universe. If Spacewar!, the first ever computer game, became a sensation even just within the few people who have access to computers, then it is not surprising that Elite, which is also considered a great-great-grandfather of Space games, gained a huge following.
5. Math Blaster
Mathematics is really unpopular with kids and this is precisely what makes Math Blaster a well-loved educational game! It was first released in 1983 and immediately topped the Billboard Charts for Top Education Computing Software— for good reason! The game allows teachers and parents to type in their own Math problems for children to solve, thus making education more effective. The questions will flash on screen and children can point and shoot at the correct answer with a canon.
Math Blaster’s success allowed for more sequels: Math Blaster Plus and Math Blaster New Plus.
6. Age of Empires
Since it was released in 1997, Age of Empires has continued to “expand” by having more sequels following the popularity it has gained. Age of Empires is a strategy game that will take you back not only in history but also in the great legendary tales you read in your mythology books. These historical and cultural themes are what make Age of Empires timelessly appealing and consistently still the top classic strategy game on PC. Its most-recent game was released only in 2019.
7. The Sims
If we are talking about the best PC game packs, there is no question about The Sims. This simulation game is consistently making ripples in the gaming world with every new version and expansion pack it releases. Players are given more and more creative freedom to build their own houses and live a unique virtual lifestyle that proves to be a nice break from the real world. The Sims and its many game packs is, without a doubt, one of the top choices for PC games.
Looking for a quick but exciting action-packed adventure? RuneScape is a free to play browser game that has over 200 million registered player accounts! The game will take you to a medieval fantasy world where you can magic your way through fights, cast spells, complete quests, and even play mini-games when you need a break from the main narrative.
9. Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis
The film Jurassic Park left a huge impact on many people and has become an inspiration for many creations like literature, toys, and of course, PC games! The people’s fascination with dinosaurs combined with the movie’s success made Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis a popular PC game.
THE MOST EXPENSIVE VIDEO GAME IN THE WORLD
How much are you willing to spend for a game? A few bucks? A couple of hundreds? Thousands of dollars?
If you are shaking your head right now and thinking, ‘ah, that’s way too much! Who would spend an entire fortune over a game?’ Wait until you hear that the highest price someone paid for a game is a whopping $114,000!
Yes! Just this year, a rare original copy of a 1985 Super Mario Bros video game was sold for $114,000 during a public auction. While the buyer opted to remain anonymous, this jaw-dropping event was filed by the Guinness Book of World Records, rendering the vintage Super Mario Bros as the highest paid and most expensive video game in the whole world.
The reason behind its hefty price is because this copy is one of the rare, untouched, never been used Super Mario Bros games. It is also one of the first ever entries in the whole Super Mario Bros series.
Imagine, with all the new versions and previous releases in the past decades, you get to have a copy of the first and original one in a near-perfection quality? For hardcore game collectors, $114,000 is a price worth paying in exchange for that.
BEYOND THE SCREEN
Nobody’s too old for toys, just like how nobody is too old to play games.
It can be presumed that next to an avid gamer’s game collection, merchandise of said games come second when you talk about the most precious thing they will protect with their life! You’ve got cool action figures, plushies, dolls, and a whole lot of other cool stuff that could turn anyone into a toy collector too in no time.
Toy collections are also more than just objects to display and things to be bragged about because collectors do not go through great lengths over a collectible just because they can. It is about the want to appreciate the characters who people relate to, of refusing to let go of the feelings and emotions sparked by that game just yet, and of preserving the memories you acquired during your virtual adventures.
Enjoying your favorite games does not need to stop when you switch off your PC and after you pull the plug.
LEARNING THROUGH PLAY
Many love to disagree with the fact that computer games help with learning and this does not only apply to kids. As we grow and age, playing computer games can continue stimulating our minds, thus helping us to be alert, decisive, patient, and as well as keep our reflexes swift. Not convinced yet? Here are a few benefits of gaming for everyone, no matter the age:
Helps improve memory – because many of the games would require memorization, it is unavoidable that we are able to enhance our memory which is very helpful for children as they are still slowly introducing themselves to the world, as well as the people who are aging and are experiencing memory less.
Improves hand-eye coordination – mastering multitasking is an amazing feat that many gamers can attest to. Improvement of hand-eye coordination is helpful when you are trying to also improve your focus while still being able to do other tasks.
Helps with strategic thinking and problem-solving – quick thinking is a skill anyone would want to have. Gamers are conditioned to think about loopholes, backup plans, and make quick decisions under pressure. The challenges you encounter in games might not be the same as those that you face in real life, but these skills are a big confidence boost and also a big help.
THE FUTURE OF COMPUTER GAMING
As you know by now, gaming is not just child’s play. Besides personal enjoyment and stimulating your brain to make you critical thinkers, these games are treated as legitimate professional fields where people can become experts and even champions in serious competitions. A lot of gamers are able to make a sustainable career out of it, too! No matter if it is in the form of paid livestreams, tutorials, beta testers, reviews, or modeling promotions.
Of course, the iGaming industry has been making bold strides alongside the evolution of PC games as well. In fact, it is breathing new life into computer gaming.
The dynamic and interactive features, not to mention the fast money-making nature, of online gambling has made it popular and suitable for both amateur and seasoned gamers alike. Whether it be online casino, bingo, poker, or online betting on sports, everyone can access and gain something out of it. That includes those who will forever be young at heart. Gone are the days when only a few truly realize and take advantage of the wonders of gaming.
Table of Contents
- 1 HISTORY OF COMPUTER GAMES
- 2 THE BEST OLD COMPUTER GAMES
- 3 THE MOST EXPENSIVE VIDEO GAME IN THE WORLD
- 4 BEYOND THE SCREEN
- 5 LEARNING THROUGH PLAY
- 6 THE FUTURE OF COMPUTER GAMING