History of game design

Emerging as a prominent branch of game development in the 1970s after the great success of arcade video games, game designers as we know them today were tasked with designing most of the game’s content, including the rules, the story, the characters and the general appeal. Today, game design is a multi-billion dollar industry that is only expected to grow as technology advances. Take a look at the timeline below to see how the industry has evolved and expanded over the years.

1952 – Willy Higinbotham creates what is commonly known as “the first video game”. Similar to table tennis, this 2-person game was played on an oscilloscope.

1961 – MIT student Steve Russell creates the first interactive game, Spacewars, to be played on mainframe computers.

1971 – Computer Space, developed by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney (founders of Atari), becomes the first arcade video game released. Although it was instantly popular, many people found the game too difficult.

1972 – Realizing the potential of video games, Magnavox released Odyssey, the first home video game system. Most notably, however, Atari is founded and quickly recognized as the leader in the video game industry. Their first released game, Pong, was hugely successful and was soon available as a home version.

1974 – Steve Jobs, one of Atari’s technicians and later a creator of circuit boards, presented an idea to the Atari founders for a personal computer system. Because the funds were committed to other projects, Bushnell referred a venture capitalist to Jobs for financial support. That personal computer, of course, was the beginning of Apple.

1975 – The first computer game hits the market. Gunfight used a microprocessor instead of hard-wired circuits.

1977 – With a retail price of $ 249.95, a large amount of money at the time, the Atari 2600 game console is released.

1978: Adding another level of competition and appeal to video games, Space Invaders hits the arcade as the first game to track and display high scores. Soon after, the Asteroids game went one step further and allowed the three-letter initials with the best scores to be stored.

1980 – The first 3D game, Battlezone, is created. The game caught the attention of the United States government, who later modified it for training exercises. Due to the increasing complexity of games, companies are starting to form teams to specifically address design. Game designers and programmers soon became separate and distinct careers.

1981 – The gaming industry proves its importance with the first dedicated periodical, Electronic Games.

1985 – Developed by a Russian programmer, Tetris is released for arcades, video game consoles, and home computers.

1989 – Game Boys, portable game devices made by Nintendo, hit the market with great success. Later in the year, Sega releases the Genesis game console.

1994 – The Entertainment Software Rating Board is created due to concerns about violence in games and the marketing tactics used. Games now receive a rating that is displayed on the package.

1995 – Sony launches the PlayStation in the US By 1997, 20 million units had been sold.

1996 – Arcade games shift their focus from traditional video games to more popular physical riding games such as skiing and car and bike racing.

1998 – The Sega Dreamcast is released, one of the last Sega pulls to stay on the market.

2000 – Sony’s PlayStation 2 is released. The initial 500,000 units sell out instantly at $ 300 each. The same year, The Sims surpassed Myst as the best-selling PC game. Game designers now work in teams of dozens to quickly create the complex games for sale.

2001 – “Next Generation” gaming systems are introduced. Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo GameCube are not only more interactive for the user, but they are also easier to develop for games. Shortly after the launch of these products, Sega announces that it will stop producing hardware.

2004 – The Nintendo DS is released as a portable system on purpose. Sony follows a year later with its portable version, the Sony PSP.

2006 – The Nintendo Wii revolutionizes the market with its control system, designed to imitate real physical movements such as swinging a tennis racket or throwing a bowling ball. During the same year, the PlayStation 3 was released as the most sophisticated (and expensive) console.

2007 – Apple launches the iPhone, creating an entirely new device for gaming.

2008 – The App Store is introduced. With a wide range of functionalities, games quickly become the most popular and lucrative “applications”. The design and development of games for smartphone applications becomes a huge niche. In a successful effort to engage and excite people of all ages with the Wii, Nintendo launches the Wii Fit game. The following year, Wii Sports surpassed Super Mario Bros as the best-selling video game with more than 40 million units sold.

2011 – Projected to grow an additional 30% by 2016, the gaming industry produces sales of more than 18 billion per year. Universities and specific degrees for game design and production are becoming increasingly advanced and popular.

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