Video Games


Video games are played at the arcade, at home on a television or personal computer, and as a handheld portable game. They are packaged in large consoles, game paks that can only be played on the same manufacturer’s hardware (i.e. Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and Sony Playstation), and as CDs. Made up of a program that instructs the computer to display specific visual and audio effects, video games utilize cutting-edge technology in order to provide fast-paced entertainment. Recent statistics show that 70% of all children in the US have home video game systems. Over four billion dollars is spent on arcade video games annually.

A precursor to the video game, pinball machines were introduced during the 1930s and remained popular through the 70s. In 1971, a video arcade game was produced called Computer Space. Invented by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, Computer Space was the first real coin-operated video game, but for various reasons, it never became popular. It did however, lay the groundwork for the next video game that Bushnell and Dabney introduced: the phenomenally successful arcade game Pong. Modeled after the game of ping pong, it was an electronic game in which players tried to hit a flashing dot passed their opponent’s video paddle. With the success of Pong, Bushnell and Dabney started the Atari Company, and in 1975, they introduced a home version of Pong. In 1976, Warner Communication purchased Atari for $28 million and expanded its home line of video game cartridges.

Rapid advances in electronics technology during the 1970s led to the development of more complicated games, such as Space Invaders and Pac-Man. Introduced in 1983 as a joint venture between the Namco Company of Japan and Midway of the United States, Pac-Man has sold hundreds of thousands of games and remains one of the most popular video games.

When personal computers became available, computer games were created. Many of these games were adaptations of arcade or home video game systems, however unique games were also developed. The computer game industry grew swiftly during the 1980s powered by various companies, especially the Nintendo Corporation. In the late 1980s, the CD-ROM was introduced. These disks could hold more information on them, and allowed the development of more sophisticated, interactive games. In 1995, digital video disks (DVDs) were first produced for home computers. Since they have a storage capacity over twenty times greater than CD-ROMs, they promise to revolutionize computer games.


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