Evolution: Pong…Atari 2600…Nintendo…Xbox…MMOG

I think I can honestly say that I grew up with and on video games. It all began with a oversized console with two knobs on either end that hooked up to the antenna attachment of the huge Sylvania black and white we had in the third floor or playroom of my parents house. The consol was titled Telegames 2000, and it featured three different games: tennis, hockey, and handball. There was almost no difference between the three games, and they all had the same graphics; a white square – ball, two white vertical dashes – players. It was awesome… it was the 70’s. It was better than watching the Watergate hearings.

Atari 2600

Of course, like evolution things got better, but unlike evolution the changes happened very quickly. The Atari 2600 was light years ahead of Telegames, with color graphics and removable cartridges that allowed for more than three games to be played. When you look back at Tank Battle it seems like a simple and childish game, but don’t tell my older brother that. He was a master of the Tanks Battle, and could take out anyone and send them into a spinning frenzy, all over the screen.

The evolution moved ahead quickly; InteleVision to Atari 5200 to ColecoVision to Nintendo to Playstation to Xbox to PS2 to Xbox 360 to …. I am sure I have left out a few incarnations of the home videogame console and I apologize to those manufacturers I have forgotten.

And today we find ourselves able to enjoy a new generation of video games that include incredibly realistic 3d graphics, complex storylines, amazing characters, and beautiful musical scores. The video games of today are more like cinematic experiences. Today’s games are not solely single user or head-to-head games; they are networked Internet enabled applications that can be played by multitudes of users at a time from all over the world.

The user experience has been elevated to bring the video gamer experience far beyond what it used to be. The advent of these game/web hybrids {Hinton} has created an enormous network of people, estimated in the millions {Hinton} that play, communicate, share and live through these games. Through open source and collaboration the video game experience moves beyond merely competing. The user becomes a designer, composer, and creator. The user invests much more than time into the title; they “experientialize” {Pine} the game.

As technology improves, Internet speed increases, computers become more powerful, the audience for the MMOG will increase. Hollywood has taken notice. Many games are developed as a form of merchandising a movie title, but today, many films are actually the merchandising for the video game titles.

What was once a small segment of the entertainment market has become one of the largest and fastest growing segments in entertainment today.

We have come a long way since Tankbattle…



One thought on “Evolution: Pong…Atari 2600…Nintendo…Xbox…MMOG

  1. What is your favorite game? Why is it your favorite? Do you see yourself playing second life for more than a year from now?

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