- All Best Essays, Term Papers and Book Report

Gaming at a Glance - Video Game Consoles

Essay by   •  August 7, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,771 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,466 Views

Essay Preview: Gaming at a Glance - Video Game Consoles

Report this essay
Page 1 of 8

Video game consoles have become an everyday staple in today's life. You cannot walk into a department store without seeing some type of game accessory, or console. The systems themselves range from very elaborate and expensive to basic and affordable. The start of the video game age can be tracked to the late 1970's with the introduction of a simple game known as Pong. While not the first video game, Tennis for Two holds that title (Design Boom, 2000-2008), most video game players agree that Pong (Wolf, Mark J.P. Video Game Explosion) was the start of the video games that we know today. Video games range the gambit as educational tools, entertainment and practical uses.

The history of video games starts in 1952 with the creation of a tic tac toe game created to run on the Cambridge University computer by A.S. Douglas as part of his doctoral dissertation (Video game revolution, 2010). William Higginbotham introduced his Tennis for Two game in 1958 as the first interactive video game to entertain visitors during an open house at his laboratory. Spacewar! was introduced in 1962 but was still only playable by universities and research facilities as it ran on the massive PDP-1 computer. In 1971 we start to see the migration towards the familiar consoles of today with the introduction of Computer Space, the first coin operated arcade style game system. The downside to this game was the instructions that were required to be read at the start of the game, and it never became the huge hit that was anticipated. The following year in 1972, Magnavox took the patent that they acquired in 1968 (Video Game Revolution, 2010) and introduced the Odyssey, a game system created by Ralph Baer. This new game system could play an astonishing 12 games and Baer to be affectionately known as the "father of video games". 1972 also saw the introduction of the Atari game system, founded by Nolan Bushnell. In 1976, the first cartridge game system was released bringing us ever closer to the format that we know today. The Channel F is the first system that that utilizes plug in cartridges that contain ROM with the microprocessor code.

Any invention would not be complete without some type of controversy and video games are no exception. In 1976, an arcade game was released called Death Race. This was loosely based on a movie of the time named Death Race 2000. The game had players aiming to hit zombie pedestrians with vehicles, which is what caused the controversy over violent video games. This argument will continue about various games even today. The first multi-game home system is released in 1977 with the Atari 2600. This was very similar to the Channel F that was released the previous year. Moving forward, 1981 saw the first incarnation of a popular current character. Nintendos Mario made his first appearance in the game Donkey Kong. 1983 saw the video game market changing as well, some companies such as Mattel and Warner communications closed their game development departments, while others simply faded to black and went bankrupt without ever really making a name for themselves. In 1984 Nintendo released an eight bit game system in Japan that was extremely popular; this was the precursor for the popular 8-bit color system that was released in 1986 in the United States, The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES. Over the next few years we saw the continued evolution of video game systems, including portable systems with Nintendo's Game Boy system, as well as other competitors entering the playing field such as Sega Genesis and Sony Playstation.

With every evolution of the video game comes more controversy. In addition to the controversy with Death Race in 1976, Mortal Kombat joined the controversial ranks in 1992 (Video Game Revolution, 2010) with the introduction of the digitized actions of ripping out hearts and spewing blood from the human looking characters. The Entertainment Software Rating Board is established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association to provide ratings and information about video and computer game content. This becomes known as the ESRB rating system and eventually comes to include 6 rating symbols and 31 content descriptors. In addition to the ESRB system, some states made the decision to regulate other aspects of video games. In 2003 Washington State became the first state to enact legislation to restrict the sale or rental of video games that depicted "cop-killing" to minors.

On the brighter side, video games can be used for a positive effect on the youth as well. Many games are made that have an element of learning involved with them. For instance there are math based computer games called Math Blaster that walks the player through math problems from basic all the way up to algebra. Many of the current consoles are starting to incorporate an educational factor or exercise factor into their games as well. There are many games that take educational needs, such as reading, counting and problem deduction into consideration and make it into a game, so the young child does not really even realize that they are learning while they are playing the game. Many schools are using computers as well to take learning to the next level. They utilize games such as Oregon Trail to help the children make decisions and learn to take responsibility for those decisions. Games are also utilized as a learning tool in the military. The simulations that are provided by the game is an invaluable tool that is available for training new recruits or testing new weapons and possible effects without placing any real person into harm's way.

Many game systems in their current manifestations are taking



Download as:   txt (10.2 Kb)   pdf (125.8 Kb)   docx (13 Kb)  
Continue for 7 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2011, 08). Gaming at a Glance - Video Game Consoles. Retrieved 08, 2011, from

"Gaming at a Glance - Video Game Consoles" 08 2011. 2011. 08 2011 <>.

"Gaming at a Glance - Video Game Consoles.", 08 2011. Web. 08 2011. <>.

"Gaming at a Glance - Video Game Consoles." 08, 2011. Accessed 08, 2011.