A Brief History of Gaming

Gaming has come a long way since its humble roots, the first ‘video game’ having been created in 1958. For over 50 years, then, we’ve seen countless innovations and just about as many flops in the industry; Nintendo came back to dominate sales with the Nintendo Wii, despite such abysmal failures as their Virtual Boy. The world of gaming is always changing, and it takes failures to help show which direction to -not- go in. The evolution of the video game controller is one thing to look at, but this video focuses on the overall gaming experience.

Video Game Evolutionary History

A university video project done by Florian Smolka and his fellow students follows the trials and tribulations of one gamer and his console experiences through the years, all in under 4 minutes. The video starts off with an oscilloscope game called Tennis for Two. Created in 1958, it’s likely not the first game in most players’ repertoire, but it does at least illustrate the roots. From there, however, it jumps 22 years into the future to the video arcade years of the 80s and the classic Pac-Man. The joystick is tossed aside for a little, awkward rectangle with edged buttons that many of us as kids ruined our hands and fingers on. That, of course, would be the NES, with Donkey Kong shown as the example game. The video blazes through the next generation with the Sega Genesis and SNES before ending up playing Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64. It’s here that you can see how much the controller has changed since the original NES.

Sony’s Playstation and Playstation 2 are next, two consoles that revitalized gaming once again. In my opinion, the Playstation also set the stage for the most ideal controller, a design that hasn’t changed too dramatically from the original PSX up through the Playstation 3. We don’t have too much time to reminisce about the Playstations, since Sega’s ill-fated Dreamcast is shown next, a fantastic console that just couldn’t compete enough, pushing Sega out of the console race. Remarkably (due to technical issues with equipment and filming), we don’t see the XBox, Microsoft’s explosive entrance into the console world, and we jump to the Gamecube and the aforementioned Wii. The video finishes with the other two modern consoles, the Playstation 3 and XBox 360.

Whether you’re using a joystick, gamepad, a ‘nunchuck’, or a plastic guitar, the gaming experience is still much the same. You can play on your own or with friends, the introduction of online play especially making the latter easier since you can enjoy your favorite games with complete strangers or friends from afar. Furthermore, graphics have clearly changed, but so have video standards. This video shows the evolution of your home television set, from a clunky box to the wide-screen LCDs many of us are enjoying today. 3D gaming may be the next big leap the industry takes, or it may flop and we’ll find ourselves enjoying something even more incredible. Either way, gaming will always be gaming. If you enjoy this video, you’ll also probably like a more comprehensive History Lesson on Video Gaming or the Evolution of Video Game Controllers.