Welcome to Video Games

WELCOME TO VIDEO GAME


video-games-smallA video game is an electronic game that involves human interaction with a user interface to generate visual feedback on a video device such as a TV screen or computer monitor. The word video in video game traditionally referred to a raster display device, but as of the 2000s, it implies any type of display device that can produce two- or three-dimensional images. Some theorists categorize video games as an art form, but this designation is controversial. The electronic systems used to play video games are known as platforms; examples of these are personal computers and video game consoles. These platforms range from large mainframe computers to small handheld computing devices. Specialized video games such as arcade games, in which the video game components are housed in a large, coin-operated chassis, while common in the 1980s in video arcades, have gradually declined in use due to the widespread availability of affordable home video game consoles (e.g., PlayStation 4 and Xbox One) and video games on desktop and laptop computers and smartphones. The input device used for games, the game controller, varies across platforms. Common controllers include gamepads, joysticks, mouses, keyboards, the touchscreens of mobile devices and buttons. Players typically view the game on a video screen or television and there are often game sounds from loudspeakers. Some games in the 2000s include haptic, vibration-creating effects, force feedback peripherals and virtual reality headsets. In the 2010s, the video game industry is of increasing commercial importance, with growth driven particularly by the emerging Asian markets and mobile games, which are played on smartphones. As of 2015, video games generated sales of USD 74 billion annually worldwide, and were the third-largest segment in the U.S. entertainment market, behind broadcast and cable TV.


HISTORY

Early games used interactive electronic devices with various display formats. The earliest example is from 1947—a “Cathode ray tube Amusement Device” was filed for a patent on 25 January 1947, by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann, and issued on 14 December 1948, as U.S. Patent 2455992. Inspired by radar display technology, it consisted of an analog device that allowed a user to control a vector-drawn dot on the screen to simulate a missile being fired at targets, which were drawings fixed to the screen. Other early examples include: The Nimrod computer at the 1951 Festival of Britain; OXO a tic-tac-toe Computer game by Alexander S. Douglas for the EDSAC in 1952; Tennis for Two, an electronic interactive game engineered by William Higinbotham in 1958; Spacewar!, written by MIT students Martin Graetz, Steve Russell, and Wayne Wiitanen’s on a DEC PDP-1 computer in 1961; and the hit ping pong-style Pong, a 1972 game by Atari. Each game used different means of display: NIMROD used a panel of lights to play the game of Nim, OXO used a graphical display to play tic-tac-toe Tennis for Two used an oscilloscope to display a side view of a tennis court, and Spacewar! used the DEC PDP-1’s vector display to have two spaceships battle each other. in 1971, Computer Space, created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, was the first commercially sold, coin-operated video game. It used a black-and-white television for its display, and the computer system was made of 74 series TTL chips. The game was featured in the 1973 science fiction film Soylent Green. Computer Space was followed in 1972 by the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home console. Modeled after a late 1960s prototype console developed by Ralph H. Baer called the “Brown Box”, it also used a standard television. These were followed by two versions of Atari’s Pong; an arcade version in 1972 and a home version in 1975 that dramatically increased video game popularity. The commercial success of Pong led numerous other companies to develop Pong clones and their own systems, spawning the video game industry.A flood of Pong clones eventually led to the video game crash of 1977, which came to an end with the mainstream success of Taito’s 1978 shooter game Space Invaders,  marking the beginning of the golden age of arcade video games and inspiring dozens of manufacturers to enter the market. The game inspired arcade machines to become prevalent in mainstream locations such as shopping malls, traditional storefronts, restaurants, and convenience stores. The game also became the subject of numerous articles and stories on television and in newspapers and magazines, establishing video gaming as a rapidly growing mainstream hobby. Space Invaders was soon licensed for the Atari VCS (later known as Atari 2600), becoming the first “killer app” and quadrupling the console’s sales. This helped Atari recover from their earlier losses, and in turn the Atari VCS revived the home video game market during the second generation of consoles, up until the North American video game crash of 1983. The home video game industry was revitalized shortly afterwards by the widespread success of the Nintendo Entertainment System,  which marked a shift in the dominance of the video game industry from the United States to Japan during the third generation of consoles


Overview

Platforms

Different video game consoles from left to right: Sega Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, Nintendo Gamecube, and Xbox .The term “platform” refers to the specific combination of electronic components or computer hardware which, in conjunction with software, allows a video game to operate. The term “system” is also commonly used. The distinctions below are not always clear and there may be games that bridge one or more platforms. In addition to personal computers, there are other devices which have the ability to play games but are not dedicated video game machines, such as smartphones, PDAs and graphing calculators.

 

PC

In common use a “PC game” refers to a form of media that involves a player interacting with a personal computer connected to a video monitor. Personal computers are not dedicated game platforms, so there may be differences running the same game in different hardwares, also the openness allows some features to developers like reduced software cost, increased flexibility, increased innovation, emulation, creation of modifications (“mods“), open hosting for online gaming (in which a person plays a video game with people who are in a different household) and others.

Console

A “console game” is played on a specialized electronic device that connects to a common television set or composite video monitor, unlike PCs, a console is a dedicated platform, it is manufactured by a specific company. Usually runs only games developed for it, or games from other platform made by the same company, but never its direct competitor, even if the same game is available on different platforms. It often comes with a specific game controller.

Handheld

A “handheld” gaming device is a small, self-contained electronic device that is portable and can be held in a user’s hands. It features the console, a small screen, speakers and buttons, joystick or other game controllers in a single unit. Like consoles, handhelds are dedicated platforms, and share almost the same characteristics. Handheld hardware usually is less powerful than PC or console hardwares. Some handheld games from the late 1970s and early 1980s could only play one game. In the 1990s and 2000s, a number of handheld games used cartridges, which enabled them to be used to play many different games.

Arcade

Arcade game” generally refers to a game played on an even more specialized type of electronic device that is typically designed to play only one game and is encased in a special, large coin-operated cabinet which has one built-in console, controllers (joystick, buttons, etc.), a CRT screen, and audio amplifier and speakers. Arcade games often have brightly painted logos and images relating to the theme of the game. While most arcade games are housed in a vertical cabinet, which the user typically stands in front of to play, some arcade games use a tabletop approach, in which the display screen is housed in a table-style cabinet with a see-through table top. With table-top games, the users typically sit to play. In the 1990s and 2000s, some arcade games offered players a choice of multiple games. In the 1980s, video arcades were businesses in which game players could use a number of arcade video games. In the 2010s, there are far fewer video arcades, but some movie theaters and entertainment centers still have them.

Web browser

The web browser has also established itself as platform in its own right in the 2000s, while providing a cross-platform environment for video games designed to be played on a wide spectrum of hardware from personal computers and tablet computers to smartphones. This in turn has generated new terms to qualify classes of web browser-based games. These games may be identified based on the website that they appear, such as with “Facebook” games. Others are named based on the programming platform used to develop them, such as Java and Flash games.


Genres

A video game, like most other forms of media, may be categorized into genres. Video game genres are used to categorize video games based on their gameplay interaction rather than visual or narrative differences. A video game genre is defined by a set of gameplay challenges and are classified independent of their setting or game-world content, unlike other works of fiction such as films or books. For example, a shooter game is still a shooter game, regardless of whether it takes place in a fantasy world or in outer space.

Because genres are dependent on content for definition, genres have changed and evolved as newer styles of video games have come into existence. Ever advancing technology and production values related to video game development have fostered more lifelike and complex games which have in turn introduced or enhanced genre possibilities (e.g., virtual pets), pushed the boundaries of existing video gaming or in some cases add new possibilities in play (such as that seen with titles specifically designed for devices like Sony’s EyeToy). Some genres represent combinations of others, such as massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or, more commonly, MMORPGs. It is also common to see higher level genre terms that are collective in nature across all other genres such as with action, music/rhythm or horror-themed video games.[citation needed]

Classifications

Casual games

Main article: Casual game

Casual games derive their name from their ease of accessibility, simple to understand gameplay and quick to grasp rule sets. Additionally, casual games frequently support the ability to jump in and out of play on demand. Casual games as a format existed long before the term was coined and include video games such as Solitaire or Minesweeper which can commonly be found pre-installed with many versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Examples of genres within this category are match three, hidden object, time management, puzzle or many of the tower defense style games. Casual games are generally available through app stores and online retailers such as PopCap, Zylom and GameHouse or provided for free play through web portals such as Newgrounds.

While casual games are most commonly played on personal computers, phones or tablets, they can also be found on many of the on-line console system download services (e.g., the PlayStation Network, WiiWare or Xbox Live).

Serious games

Main article: Serious game

Serious games are games that are designed primarily to convey information or a learning experience of some sort to the player. Some serious games may even fail to qualify as a video game in the traditional sense of the term. Educational software does not typically fall under this category (e.g., touch typing tutors, language learning, etc.) and the primary distinction would appear to be based on the title’s primary goal as well as target age demographics. As with the other categories, this description is more of a guideline than a rule.

Serious games are games generally made for reasons beyond simple entertainment and as with the core and casual games may include works from any given genre, although some such as exergames, educational games, or propaganda games may have a higher representation in this group due to their subject matter. These games are typically designed to be played by professionals as part of a specific job or for skill set improvement. They can also be created to convey social-political awareness on a specific subject.

One of the longest running serious games franchises would be Microsoft Flight Simulator first published in 1982 under that name. The United States military uses virtual reality based simulations, such as VBS1 for training exercises, as do a growing number of first responder roles (e.g., police, fire fighter, EMT). One example of a non-game environment utilized as a platform for serious game development would be the virtual world of Second Life, which is currently used by several United States governmental departments (e.g., NOAA, NASA, JPL), Universities (e.g., Ohio University, MIT) for educational and remote learning programs and businesses (e.g., IBM, Cisco Systems) for meetings and training.

Tactical media in video games plays a crucial role in making a statement or conveying a message on important relevant issues. This form of media allows for a broader audience to be able to receive and gain access to certain information that otherwise may not have reached such people. An example of tactical media in video games would be newsgames. These are short games related to contemporary events designed to illustrate a point. For example, Take Action Games is a game studio collective that was co-founded by Susana Ruiz and has made successful serious games. Some of these games include Darfur is Dying, Finding Zoe, and In The Balance. All of these games bring awareness to important issues and events in an intelligent and well thought out manner.

Educational games

On 23 September 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama launched a campaign called “Educate to Innovate” aimed at improving the technological, mathematical, scientific and engineering abilities of American students. This campaign states that it plans to harness the power of interactive games to help achieve the goal of students excelling in these departments. This campaign has stemmed into many new opportunities for the video game realm and has contributed to many new competitions. Some of these competitions include the Stem National Video Game Competition and the Imagine Cup. Both of these examples are events that bring a focus to relevant and important current issues that are able to be addressed in the sense of video games to educate and spread knowledge in a new form of media. www.NobelPrize.org uses games to entice the user to learn about information pertaining to the Nobel prize achievements while engaging in a fun to play video game. There are many different types and styles of educational games all the way from counting to spelling to games for kids and games for adults. Some other games do not have any particular targeted audience in mind and intended to simply educate or inform whoever views or plays the game.