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History of the video game
The first console video game with widespread success was Atari's Pong, developed in 1972. The game is loosely based around tennis: Two players each control a "paddle" which has the freedom to move up and down at their end of the "court". A ball is "served" from the center of the court and as the ball moves towards their side of the court each player must maneuver their bat to hit the ball back to their opponent. It "broke" the firts night from having too many qurters put into it, and soon had many imitators. The coin-operated arcade video game craze had begun.
1972 also saw the release of the first video game console for the home market, the Magnavox Odyssey. The console was connected to a home TV set. Built using mainly analog electronics, it was not a large success, although other companies with similar products had to pay a license fee for some time. Magnavox Colossal Cave (also known as Adventure) was one of the first adventure games.
1976 saw the first controversy over gratuitous violence in a video game, with the release of Death Race, by Exidy, where the object of the game was to run over "gremlins"—who looked more like pedestrians—with a car. The controversy increased public awareness of video games.
Early home computers from Apple, Commodore, TRS-80 and others had many games, that people typed in from books (those present will remember David Ahl's book, Basic Computer Games), magazines (Creative Computing), and cassette tapes, floppy disks, and ROM cartridges.
In 1978, Atari released Asteroids, its biggest best-seller. It replaced the game Lunar Lander as the number one arcade hit.
Other arcade classics of the late 1970s include Night Driver, Space Invaders, Breakout and Battle Zone.
Coleco released Colecovision, a cartridge-based home console. Nintendo licensed Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr to Coleco. Midway released a top-selling game: Ms. Pacman and Namco released Super Pacman.
The famous Commodore 64 (C64) was released in 1983. This was a great success in sales, because it was marketed aggresively. It had a BASIC programming environment and advanced graphic and sound capabilities for its time, similar to the Atari 2600 console.
The Apple Macintosh arrives in 1984. It lacks color, but the operating system support for the GUI attracted developers of some interesting games (e.g. Lode Runner) even before color returns in 1987 with the Mac II.
Nintendo finally decided in 1985 to release its Famicom in the United States under the name Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It was bundled with Super Mario Brothers and it suddenly became a success.
Midway released its top-selling fighting game Mortal Kombat in 1992. It became an instant success. It was the first game with digitized characters. It was criticized for its gratuitous violence, which ironically added to its popularity. Nintendo released a version for SNES without blood and different fatalities.
Rare made a game for Nintendo called Donkey Kong Country. The game was popular because of its distinct graphics, sound and gameplay. Its 3D pre-rendered graphics contributed to its success. Nintendo released Super Game Boy, an adaptation for the SNES in order to be able to play Gameboy games in the console.
In 1999, Connectix Corporation released the Virtual Game Station, a successful PlayStation emulator. Sony went to court to dispute the legality of the system, but Connectix won. The Bleem company released Bleem, another PlayStation emulator.
In 2003, Microsoft bought Rare. Nokia introduced the N-Gage multimedia handheld console. 3DO filed bankruptcy. Nintendo released the GBA-SP compact handheld console. Infogrames changed its name to Atari.
Soon a small cottage industry was formed, with amateur coders selling disks in plastic bags sent through the mail.
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