Computer Games

Essay by Eyemredy April 2006

download word file, 15 pages 4.5

Downloaded 174 times

Games have been around on personal computers (PCs) for about 30 years, evolving from text-adventures such as the 1976 game Adventure to the almost-ubiquitous video games of today. Many PC games released recently are also available on dedicated games console platforms, like the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube but current PCs are more powerful than games consoles, including the Xbox 360, often resulting in the option for more detailed graphics or AI in the PC versions. The vast array of customisation available to a PC makes PC game software piracy a much bigger problem than with other forms of video gaming.


The history of computer games has not received much attention from researchers. Although one might expect a consensus on such a 'young' research area, many details are more than cloudy. Which game, for example, was the first?

The usual answer is Spacewar. In the 1960s computers were a luxury for the few.

The machines were enormous and usually exclusive to research institutions or the military. In 1961, MIT students Martin "Shag" Graetz and Alan Kotok, with MIT employee Stephen "Slug" Russell, used a computer for statistical calculations for employees at the university. However, he and his friends had another interest; they were devoted fans of Edvard E. Smith's science-fiction saga Skylark. With this saga fresh in memory they constructed Spacewar.

The first generation of games lacked the polish and AI seen in modern video games. They were often text games where the player communicates with the computer by typing the direction in which to move. Others were a hybrid of text and static graphics, as seen in the SSI Gold Box games like the original Pool of Radiance, or in the original Bard's Tale. One major genre of the 70s and 80s was the text adventure,