History of Video Games

Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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History of Video Games

PongAh, the history of video games. Who hasn't reminisced about the good ole' days of Pong, Pacman, Super Mario Bros, Legend of Zelda, Tank, Space Invaders, Asteroids, and all the other classic video games? Have you ever wondered how video games got their start? Have you ever wondered who invented the first video game? Who was responsible for the fond memories of going to local arcade and sticking in $10 into the coin changer and using a single quarter to play a video game?
(Later onPacman it costs $0.50 for many games and some $0.75 or higher). I bet many of us asked our parents "Can I have a quarter, mom? Pleaaazzze?" Yes, begging for a quarter was an acceptable practice and you wouldn't be arrested for vagrancy. I miss the days of playing Pitfall or Adventure on the Atart 2600 or even Dungeons of Daggorath or Zaxxon (first 3D game?) on my TRS-80 Color Computer.

Unfortunately, my parents threw all my video games out along with all the nostalgia that these games bring. Fortunately, I've used some emulators such as MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) to bring back the nostalgia and memories of my childhood. There's even a MAME version for Microsoft Windows Media Center Edition 2005 called GameEx. I've used it on my home PC hooked up to my 65" TV to play some classic games. I was even able to use my MCE 2005 remote control as a thumbpad to play the games! (Here's a screenshot of accessing the GameEx interface)

Super Mario BrothersAnyway, a friend of mine wrote an interesting book review on the history of video games that also helped bring back the nostalgia of playing video games back in the 70's and 80's. I haven't read the book myself, but reading Evan's excellent book review certainly brought back memories, including the mentioning of the Odyssey video gaming system.

Evan actually received a review copy (pre-published copy) of Ralph Baer's new autobiography, Videogames: In the Beginning ($29.99; see the publisher's web site). In case you didn't know, Ralph Baer is the Father of Video Games. Or at least he thinks he is in his book. That is part of the debate that Evan has in his review of the history of videogames book. Regardless, Ralph Baer is one of the true pioneers behind video games - he helped design some of the earliest ones using his electronics and math background to do so. Although I still hate the design of Evan's site - it's too bland/boring, the content of his website is often very good. His book review of the history of video games is no exception. Go check it out.

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