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.

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