When Atari's Pong first came out, Popular Science had a succinct opinion: Playing a game on a video screen was "one of those novelties that everyone will shortly get tired of." We've never been so glad to be wrong.
As videogame designers rush forward in their perpetual quest to revolutionize the gaming experience, perhaps the most astounding achievement is just how far we've come in one lifetime.
Modern videogames are nearly unrecognizable from their early days of simple flashing lights and monotonous beeping. Here are 10 electronic games from America's not-too-distant past, including Pong, Nintendo's short-lived Virtual Boy and the awkward beginnings of online multiplayer. Whether the goal is paddling a tiny ball across the screen or defending a fictional world from a dragon god, gamers throughout time have one thing in common: They can never get enough playtime.
This may be the worst article on the evolution of video games that I have ever read.
I have to agree with the above post. I have been an avid reader for years now but had to create an account just to post on this subject. I love my video games and i think they need a little more justice in this article.
I'm compelled to disagree with "empjag" and "brendan sherman".
This wasn't an "article" -- it was a review of the PopSci archives on the topic. The archives are a very good record of the evolving technology -- from the perspective of people seeing it for the first time. When those original articles were written, no one could say with any certainty where video gaming was headed.
I'm guessing that to most readers and commentators, these archive articles are ancient history. For some of us, they are present memories (or at least they are going back to the 60's or 70's). Those who remember the events (perhaps they even read about them in Popular Science, in the month the articles were originally printed), will recall the wonder of each new technological breakthrough. These devices and programs may look crude, by comparison to today's gaming technology -- but, they were exciting breakthroughs at the time. They left everyone wanting to try out the new games, and wondering what the future held.
Same things apply today. The new games (and hardware) are much anticipated and coveted wonders. None of us can really say what the future holds. Except that we can count on this -- today's technology will look crude by comparison. That might seem unjustice to some -- but, it's reality.
I don't know that they are taking issue with the 'crude' appearance of the breakthroughs.
The article jumps from 1970 to 1976. That entirely skips over a number of advances, making it seem to the reader here as though nothing happened until pong came home(Pong was actually being shipped as a full size arcade game in '72-'73, and was just coming as a home console in '76).
I suppose you could say that having a home console was a revolution, but then you completely miss the fact that Magnavox released the first home console 4 years prior in '72, invented by good ol' Ralph Baer called the Odyssey. He actually invented that originally in the mid 60's (had it working by '68 - was called the 'Brown Box') while working at Sanders Associates, who later sold the licensing to Magnavox.
I noticed one of the pages shown from the original issues makes passing mention of this, so I know they covered it (even if it was just passing mention). It's a shame to see it skipped over entirely in the recap.
Fairchild also released a console (VES) in '76, that featured a new approach to game cartridges.
I know its only a few years gap, and popsci probably didn't cover it all back then, but that is a huge chunk of history in the development of video games that is missing.
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