Games have been an invariable part of our lives since ancient times. From Egypt, through China and India to Europe, people have played together, combining sportsmanship and fun.
From Ancient Egypt to the PlayStation 5
The first board game in the world – The mansion of happiness – was created in England about 200 years ago. At the New York World’s Fair in 1940, an electromechanical machine called the Nimatron was introduced that could be used to play the ancient mathematical strategy of Nim. A prototype of the first game console intended for home use appeared in 1967 and was called the Brown Box. It connects to a TV and can play ping pong, checkers, and four sports games. The Brown Box subsequently became the first retail console bearing the Odyssey name. Behind it is the company Magnavox, and the machine made its debut in 1972. It predated Atari for several months, but it is often mistakenly believed that Atari was behind the first gaming console. Founded by Nolan Bushnell (called the “godfather of gaming”) in 1972, Atari became the company that became the benchmark and created a vast worldwide community of gamers.
In 1973, Atari released the first electronic video game – Pong. This is just the beginning – between 1972 and 1985, over 15 technology companies started creating video games. Among them are giants like Nintendo and SEGA. The real gaming revolution came when LANs, and later the Internet, discovered the possibility of multiplayer titles like Doom. They are still loved today because they allow players to communicate and compete with each other no matter where they are in the world. Sony’s debut console – the PlayStation 1 – was released in 1994 and was the first to surpass the 100 million sales barrier. In 2018, the company announced that it had sold over 525 million units of all its PlayStation consoles. In 2020, the latest generation appeared – PlayStation 5, which continues to enjoy great interest. Microsoft has also been in the gaming market for more than 20 years with PC classics and its Xbox consoles. In recent years, giants like Amazon, Apple, and Google have also joined the video game business.
Games – more and more complex and fascinating
Currently, there are more than 2.5 billion players in the world, and it is expected that in 2023 there will be more than 3 billion. Thanks to the rapid pace of technological development, games are becoming more and more complex and fascinating. Examples of this are titles like The Last of Us, Fortnite, Ghost of Tsushima, Among Us, League of Legends, PUBG Mobile, and more. It’s no coincidence that the game industry surpasses the film and music industries combined in terms of revenue. The main characteristics of video games are visual style, duration, speed of play, options to control different characters, dynamics, character development, multiplayer options, and consistent audio design. A fascinating story, a good soundtrack, fascinating characters, and beautiful graphics are among the necessary “ingredients” to create a successful video game.
Although there are differences between individual genres (first-person shooter, role-playing, action, puzzle, platformer), what unites good video games is that they provide fun and new experiences. It is not by chance that they have become a favorite pastime for a large part of the younger generation. (According to a survey, 91% of students under 17 play video games). The stigma around gaming is lifting and more parents and teachers are ready to support and encourage teenagers to pursue their passion for gaming. Teachers, in their capacity as authorities and mentors, could help them on their way to turn this passion into a successful profession.
What follows from now on?
As more people own mobile phones and consoles, gaming is becoming more accessible. Streaming is among the main trends in this direction, allowing players to enjoy their favorite titles without having powerful and expensive hardware (consoles and PCs). Virtual reality technology is also developing at a steady pace and is giving players a whole new dimension that changes their perception of gaming. Social gaming (a concert by a favorite band or a screening of a Fortnite movie, for example) allows the player to create their own experience. VR technology also helps disadvantaged people access adventures that are otherwise unavailable to them. It is difficult to predict all the events that are coming next in such a dynamic industry, but one thing is certain – the future of video games is brighter than ever.