The Evolution of Gaming
For many years, the gaming industry has thrilled
us with an ever-evolving world of video games, immersing countless people long
before the modern age of computer gaming. It is my intention to convey in this
article the legacy of gaming through history, along with my own personal experiences.
My earliest experience with gaming came shortly
after my birth in 1976. My parents often told me that I was born with a game controller in my hand. I played my first game in 1980 at the age of four. That game
at the time was the biggest arcade game around...the king of the hill and reining
In any case, there use to be a local arcade near my home, and every weekend my
mom and dad would take me and my sister there to play some video games...the wonderful old classics such as Tron, Pacman, Space Invaders. One Saturday
night in 1981 when I was the tender age of five, my dear old mother entered me in a
Pacman tournament being held at the arcade. It was a couple of dollars to
register and the winner took home a 50-dollar purse. The irony of this story is
never mess with a pro gaming five-year-old. My parents were quite happy with the 50
bucks I won them that night. Talk about exploitation of skill! In any case, this
would eventually lead to my first gaming system--the Atari 2600.
Dont laugh this is the old school rig. Who can
forget the classics that streamed from this baby?
school Donkey Kong!!!
Vanguard Saga of Her¼..
Howd that get in here?
The Atari was also accompanied by several other
gaming consoles of that era, such as the Colecovision and Intellivision. In a sense, these were the pioneer systems of the gaming industry. Through
these few now-ancient giants, what we all call our virtual world would soon be born.
The gaming industry began to slowly grow in
these home system sales, but much of its revenue was still being
generated by arcade games. In 1980 when Midway introduced Pacman the Arcade game
to the market, it sold over 100,000 machines within a year for a net revenue take of over $200 million dollars, with the machines themselves taking in billions of dollars in quarters.
The gaming industry did not remain on top with
this rise of success. In 1983, gaming took a turn for the worse with what is
referred to today as the great gaming crash of 1983. Many companies producing
home consoles and various other games went bankrupt. This dealt quite a blow to
the gaming industry, primarily in North America and Canada, but the
industry wouldn't lie dormant for long.
After a series of gaming successes in the 1980s,
a company by the name of Nintendo started to develop plans for a home gaming
console with exchangeable cartridges. This idea would lead to the revitalization
of a failing gaming industry. On July 15, 1983, the Nintendo Famicon was
released in Japan. It took a while to catch on and was criticized for freezing
a lot, as well as having many programming errors, but, despite a product recall to
replace a faulty motherboard, the Famicons popularity began to gain momentum.
With the Famicon becoming the most popular system in Japan, Nintendo set its
sights on the North American market, and in 1985 at the Consumer Electronics
Show they unveiled their new system--the Nintendo Entertainment System or N.E.S.,
as it was called. A great many games and a completely new era of gaming was
The N.E.S. revitalized the gaming industry and
set into motion a new era that would lead into excellent competition in gaming
both on console as well as on the newly popular home PCs.
With Nintendos virtual monopoly of the American
gaming market, another company set its sights on North America as well. That
company was Sega, the company that would release a rival system to the N.E.S. in 1986 called the Sega Master System. Sega was not vastly successful in America, as Nintendo held firm as king of the console through the entire decade. By 1990 the N.E.S. was considered the best selling game console of all time.
On a special note, in 1987 the first Massively
Multiplayer Online Game or MMOG was made. The name of this game was Air Warrior
by Kesmai on the Genie online service, an historic landmark for all us MMO folks.
In the 1990s, Sega and Nintendo fired up a new rivalry. Sega produced a new 16-bit console called the Sega Genesis. Nintendo would release the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendos fan base would begin to dwindle, and, eventually, Nintendo would cease production of the N.E.S. and its gaming titles. A lack of new development titles led to a decrease in sales. The SNES compared to its predecessor was not nearly as successful. Sega would also add a CD drive expansion device to its Genesis called the Sega CD. Nintendo would make a deal with Sony to create an expansion drive for the Super Nintendo. The deal would not work out, and later would be the beginning of trouble for both Nintendo and Sega.
Sega Genesis Super Nintendo
Following these great systems we would see even
more momentum building in both home console and PC gaming. Sony would join the
mix with the release of the Playstation. Nintendo would launch the Nintendo 64,
and Sega would launch the Sega: Saturn. These systems battled it out in an
increasing market for gaming supremacy. In the end the Sony Playstation
proved to be the most formidable of the three after its release in 1995. The
Playstation's popularity quickly grew. as did its gaming titles. The Playstation's
success, ironically, can be attributed to Sony's early dealings with Nintendo. The
Playstation was originally to be designed as a CD extension for the Super
Nintendo to compete with Segas CD expansion for the Genesis. For whatever
reason, Sony and Nintendo parted ways, and it never happened. Great for Sony. Bad
for Nintendo. Sony converted their project into a new gaming system called The
Playstation. Nintendo filed a lawsuit for a breach of contract on Sonys
part. Sony wpn the suit, and the Playstation launch very successfully. The Playstation quickly became the best selling game console in North America.
The console market was not the only gaming section that was growing. Personal computer gaming also began to gain momentum. Mult-
user dungeon games, or MUDs for short, were showing players some early forms of
online gaming. MUDs had been around for years, but the impact of those games to
future gamers was about to be felt in the formation of the first MMOs.
The first MUD appeared in 1977 on a system
called Plato. Plato was one of the first computer-assisted instruction systems
and was developed at the University of Illinois. Plato in
short stands for Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operation. Despite the imposing-sounding name, Plato was a financial failure; however, it would pioneer in the first age of what would become online gaming.
MUDs began to increase in popularity in the
1980s. These games often times contained mythical creatures, such as Elves,
Orcs, Goblins, and the player could take on any number of classes from Warriors,
Magicians, Priests, and Thieves. The games were mostly text-based, where players
could enter a room and be given a detailed description of it, as well as interact
with other player characters and non-player characters that were controlled by the computer. The older MUDs were usually fantasy-theme-based, and the ones that
were not usually were science-fiction-based. These MUDs would later be
responsible for the pioneering age of MMORPG or Massively Multiplayer Online
In 1997, the computer gaming industry was
showing some decent signs of life as MMORPGs began to make their appearance.
Among one of the first was Ultima Online, with its release in September 1997 by
This would be closely followed by an MMORPG that
would set this genre into motion. That game was Everquest, developed by Verant and published by Sony Online Entertainment or S.O.E. for short. Brad Mcquaid was the driving force at Verant, along with a great many of the current Vanguard: Saga of Heroes development team.
Everquest was a huge success, with almost half a million subscribers and a remarkable
retention rate. It became one of the greatest MMORPGs in the history of the genre,
as ensconcing MMORPGs firmly on the gaming map.
Everquest went on to usher in a new era of online
gaming, opening the eyes of many developers to the potentials of this market. Many more MMO games followed. However, Everquest towered above them all, as it gave a new sense of immersion to a fantasy world never before experienced. Thousands of people existed together in this virtual world where one could become what ever they desired Warrior, Beastlord, Cleric and many others. Great memories and new friendships were formed.
Many more MMOs, considered first generation MMos,
emerged, among them names like Dark Age of Camelot, Meridian 59, and Asherons
Call. Ushering in the second generation came Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft over the short term has been immensely successful. It opened many new players to the MMORPG genre for the first time. Whether you like the game or not, this was a good thing for both player and developer. Some feel the game play in World of Warcraft is too quick and easy. Even so, it has done a great thing by growing the game space.
As time progressed, the console wars continued.
This competition for pieces of the gaming pie brought about the birth of new systems and the continuing struggle for console supremacy. Nintendos next child was the Nintendo Gamecube, Sonys Playstation 2, and Microsoft joining the fray with the Xbox. Sega briefly joined the fray with the Sega Dreamcast, but, due to financial difficulties, the company was forced to discontinue the Dreamcast and continue to only produce gaming titles for various other systems, leaving Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo--the "Big Three" of the gaming industry--to duke it out.
The console wars continue even today. The great
thing about this is that the gaming space has grown in leaps and bounds. Soon the next generation of consoles will be released, as these gaming wars rage on. The delightful result for gamers is that we cannot lose. With thes Big Three and PC game developers constantly at it, we can look forward to a great game in the works on any given day. Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo will soon be releasing their new consoles,
and PC developers will soon be releasing many great new titles. With Sonys
Playstation 3, Microsofts XBOX 360, and Nintendos Revolution on the horizon
the console wars will continue to provide us with much in the way of gaming entertainment. It is what has brought us from
As you can see, as it evolved over the years, gaming has become a part of our culture. From the old days of Atari and rcade to the new age of Playstation and Xbox the gaming industry has only gotten better and more diverse. You can find virtually any game you want, be it first-person shooter, MMORPG, single-player RPG, or just a good old action game. In my days, I have seen the games change from Pitfall Harry in Pitfall to Master
Chief in Halo. The gaming has changed greatly and for the better. How will it look to you 20 years from now? With the huge strides that the industry keeps making, we could indeed see some exciting and revolutionary things. And they won't be all that long in coming. In the meantime, I await the one game that tintillates my gaming senses...Vanguard: Saga of Heroes...by Sigil.
Special thanks to the following sites that I
gathered information and pictures from for this editorial.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Vanguard: Saga of Heroes Game Page.