Computers in Entertainment - Video Games

Essay by cupo05University, Bachelor's March 2007

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The history of the Video GamesThe first known video game was made in government laboratory in 1958. The computer was an analog monster filled with vacuum tubes in the Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the playing field was the five-inch screen of a lab oscilloscope. The game itself, never named, was a simple version of tennis, a sort of primitive Pong. It was designed and put together by a researcher named William Higginbotham, and all he was trying to do was put on a demonstration for the annual visitor’s day.

Using the newest and fastest computer of 1962, a researcher named Steve Russell from Harvard University developed a game he called Space War. In this game, two players controlled the movement of a dot on the screen, and each player could fire “torpedoes”- blasts of light- at the other player’s dot. The game was a big hit at MIT’s 1962 Science Open House.

By 1970, however, integrated circuits had made computers small enough and cheap enough for someone to produce a commercial version of Space War, called Computer Space. The computer “chip” was about the size of a manhole cover, which may seem huge by today’s standards but was the ultimate in miniaturization at the time.

Then there are the more realistic looking images that are showing up in many games, like one called “Wings”. In Wings, the player takes a jet interceptor in order to foil an enemy missile attack. The editors of one games magazine called it “one of the finest flight simulators ever created for any system. Also there are the games that use a laser videodisk. The disk is simply, a multiple-choice movie, an illustrated, electronic version of those multiple-choice novels that are going around. All laser disk, after all, can only hold a couple hours...