Superheroes battle monsters and space invaders in fast action games. Players take on the role of these superheroes in epic battles. In other games players race cars, boats, motorcycles, helicopters and planes against villains and even less evil opponents to win high stakes races.
Game titles such as Burnout3: Takedown, ESPN, NHL – 2K5, Silent Hill 4: The Room, Terminator 3: The Redemption, Donkey Kong 3, and, Pokemon have joined the national lexicon as kids have flocked to the lure of electronic games.
Parents, teachers, preachers and politicians, have criticized and in some cases even banned electronic games. Electronic games have been blamed for poor grades, poor conduct and even poor health. If you listen long enough, electronic games are responsible for all of the problems our young people experience today.
One thing is certain. Kids love them. They buy and play them in ever increasing numbers. Electronic games are here to stay.
People have been trying to play games on computers almost since the days of the very first computer. As early as 1950, Claude Shannon, a mathematician and engineer, believed that computers could be programmed to play chess in competition with humans. He became intrigued with the concept of artificial intelligence. In pursuit of this idea researchers and scientists designed crude games that could be played on the huge and clumsy computers of the 1950s and 1960s.
The first actual electronic games as a consumer product were built as coin operated arcade games in the early 1970s. In 1971 Nolan Bushnell, Ted Dabney and Al Alcorn formed the first game company, Atari. Soon after they produced the first game console and their first electronic game, Pong, as an arcade game. Pong was immediately successful.
This success led Atari and other firms to begin work on home game consoles that could be hooked to TV sets. Atari released its first home console in 1977. Soon games were put on cartridges that could be changed at the LEGO Lights whim of the player.
By 1979, the company, Activision, was formed by former Atari game designers. The purpose of this new company was to focus strictly on game software. They decided to leave the development of equipment to play electronic games to other people. This was the first company to build a business of developing and selling electronic games software.
In a short time a spate of game companies sprang up trying to develop software for the infant electronic game industry. The result was a glut of poorly conceived games hitting the market. Consumers turned away in droves and the home electronic game industry faded hit the skids.
By the early 1980s, electronic games were being developed for personal computers. Color graphics, flexible storage capacity and general purpose processors made games much easier to play on personal computers. The game console business was all but dead.
In the late 1980s, two Japanese companies introduced a new generation of game consoles that were technologically capable of handling the new electronic games being produced. These companies were Nintendo and Sega. These game consoles had graphics capabilities that exceeded those of most personal computers. Nintendo also offered a feature that let the console record the game action so a player could pause the action of a game.