A Short History of the Video Game

Throughout human history, entertainment has been something that has taken our fancy to the next level. Whether it was about simple fun for children choosing to play indoors or a way for adults to lower their stress levels, video games seem like they’ve always been around. However, those who are forty or so years old, or older, today can claim that they have been witnesses to one of the best inventions of technology.

The Early Days

When video games first hit the market, they were in the form of a very simple cathode ray tube-based video game. Known, quite ordinarily, as the “Cathode Ray Amusement Device”, the first video game was just about using radar technology to create a missile-launch scenario. The concept was about launching missiles onto fixed objects on the screen, by touching that part.

This, in 1947, was the first time human beings looked at video games as a means of adding a new dimension to their lives. Over time, that cathode ray tube led to the creation of a number of other early-games that have had major influence on the way video games have been designed. “OXO”  was a Tic-Tac-Toe game invented in 1952 while 1958 saw the creation of the world-famous “Tennis for Two” video game, which forever changed the way we looked at them.

Raising the Bar

Spacewar! was a direct offshoot from the success of Tennis for Two and instead of playing tennis, it allowed to rival spacecrafts to fight against each other. In 1971, a major change came into the gaming industry when the creation of coin-operated video game machines hit the world. Initially played on black and white screens, these machines changed the gaming world with arcades coming up all over the place.

By then, games were coming up thick & fast and these machines became a major breakthrough in terms of console gaming. Manufacturers and game designers had realised that it was possible to dedicate a machine for gaming and that people would pick it up. That is what led to the creation of the Magnavox Odyssey – the first ever home-based console video game.

The Real Bulge

Despite all these progressions, the real burst would come when Atari brought their Pong video game into people’s home. The industry got flooded with requests for this game and when people started looking for this game-changing video game, other manufacturers and designers entered the industry with their own versions of Pong.

However, after almost every single manufacturer decided to bring out a host of Pong games, video games crashed! The market had been flooded with Pong consoles and when demand began falling, manufacturers were forced to sell off their consoles at massive losses. Only Atari and Magnavox managed to survive this time and ushered the world of video games into the 80s.

Rapid Change

When the 1980s hit, game designers began exploring the realms of 2D gaming. Graphics kept improving as character details and overall sales also kept pace. Gaming started entering homes and those that couldn’t afford the expensive home-consoles, had plenty of choice at massive gaming arcades that became regular hangouts for kids.

Games like Legend of Zelda changed the entire concept of gaming, bringing in story-lines and puzzles into the gaming world. You could role-play within these games and, suddenly, stories became more complex and games became bigger.


After a while, you will notice that modern video games have, somewhere or the other, found their inspiration from these marvels that came up in the 80s. Sure, the graphics have evolved and the size of these games have become, almost, infinite, but that could have never happened without the creation of the cathode ray amusement device. So the next time you pull up a video game on your computer screen or even start playing on your gaming console, remember where they came from because that’s what has created the magic you hold in your hands.

In the world of design, Alfredo do Nascimento is known for creating some of the best logo designs in Brisbane. Taking his inspiration from the things that keep him happy and smiling, Alfredo has constantly lived in a parallel universe where everything is to his liking. Every time he needs inspiration for his work, Alfredo visits his happy place and finds more reasons as to why he took this up as a profession.

1 comment:

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