Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Computer Game History - 1980s - 1990s

I think the 1980s - 1990s is a time of great change for video games and the way we play them. Its also the time when I personally got into video games, both on arcade machines an on home console systems.
Arcade machines entered their 'golden age' in 1978 where they started to become much more mainstream and popular. The release of Space Invaders by Taito, was a success that inspired many more companies to enter the market and the arcade industry would continue to be successful and generate lots of money through to 1985.

In the early 1980s a series of cheaper gaming computers were released to rival the success of the Apple II and Commodore PET  which were released in the late 1970s. Included in this new series was my first gaming console - the Sinclair ZX Spectrum! The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was released in the United Kingdom and quickly became the most popular home computer in many areas of Western Europe.

The arrival of the Atari ST and Commodore Amiga in 1985 was the beginning of a new era of 16-bit machines. For many people they were too expensive until later on, by which point advancements had caused them to be costly and less efficient than competitors. While the ST and Amiga had many technically good games their life span proved to be shorter than that of 8-bit machines which continued to do well into the 80s and even 90s.

And this leads to the 1990s...a decade when computer games and the systems they run on really improved and advanced! It was the time we moved from raster graphics into 3D and the development of gaming genres such as FPS, RTS and MMOs. The release of the Gameboy in 1989 also led to handheld gaming becoming more popular. As home consoles became more powerful and much more common the market for arcade games and machines declined. Thus creating the important shift from public arcade games to home gaming consoles. 

Home computers and consoles continued to improve throughout the 1990s and with them games became more advanced with more publishers, higher budgets and collaborations with the music and film industries. The years 1989 - 1999 gave birth to the fourth generation consoles a time when I really got into gaming with many of my favourite games coming from this time and sparking a big change in our gaming technology that would continue into the 2000s.

Computer Game History - 1950s - 1970s

During the early 1950s computers were just starting out and were only designed and used for basic functions. While the advancements in computer technology are both important and impressive they weren't used for gaming until the late 1950s.

The first ever video game was created in 1958 by William Higinbotham using an oscilloscope and analog computer. It was called Tennis for Two and was used to entertain visitors at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. It was a simplified version of tennis played from the side were players would try to get a ball over the virtual 'net'. This was the starting point for games and would later be replaced by the similar game Pong. 

Spacewar was created in 1962 at MIT by Steve Russell and a small team of other people. It is widely considered to be the first real computer game made.  It is a two-player game, with each player taking control of a spaceship and attempting to destroy the other made possible by the PDP-1's operating system which was the first to allow multiple users to share the computer at the same time. Spacewar has inspired many other computer games over the years, some of which have the same name. Some games are clones of spacewar but most have introduced additional variations to game play. Spacewar! was also extremely popular in the 1960s and was widely ported to other systems.

Several other games were produced and released during the following years but the next well known and popular game made was Pong. Pong was created by Nolan Bushnell and released as an arcade game in 1972.  In 1975, Atari re-released Pong as a home video game.  Pong quickly became a success and is the first commercially successful video game, which led to the start of the video game industry. Soon after its release, several companies began producing games that copied Pong's game play, and eventually released new types of games. As a result, Atari started to produce other different games. The company released several sequels that built upon the originals game play by adding new features.

In 1977 the industry suffered a 'video game crash'. This led to the manufacturers of older obsolete consoles to sell their systems at a loss to clear stock. This made the market overloaded and caused several companies to abandon their game consoles. The crash was largely caused by the large number of Pong clones that flooded both the arcade and home markets. The crash eventually came to an end with the success of Taito's Space Invaders, released in 1978, kicking off a new rise for the video game industry.

Saturday, 8 October 2011


My name is Luke Evans, I was born in Cardiff South Wales and lived there all my life.
I've been drawing on and off all my life but never took it seriously. 3 years I ago I did a
short inspirational drawing class in the summer and things moved on from there. I moved
 to Derby to do a BTEC 1st in Art & Design and the following year did a Foundation at De

I've known about the Game Art course at De Montfort for a few years and its been my goal
to get here since I found out about it. Everything I've done over the last 3 years have been
stepping stones to get here and not all of it was enjoyable! I've ended up doing a lot of work
I didn't want to do or have interest in but it had to be done and its got me where I want to be.

I don't really have a set goal for the future of where I want to be or what I want to be doing.
I've always felt art was something I should be doing but I've never known what exactly. Now
that I've gotten this far I want to go into the course with an open mind and try everything and
see what I enjoy. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and constantly criticise and doubt my work but I
think this ultimately helps me improve as I can't just settle with something that's 'OK'.

My main goal for this year is to improve. I haven't really been doing this long and I don't think
previous years really prepared me for whats to come. I'm looking forward to all the challenges
the next year is going to through at me and hopefully I'll do alright and still be here this time
next year.