The Evolution Of Video Games

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Video games seem to be one of the largest media platforms for entertainment with 48 million users on Xbox Live and more than 110 million registered users on Playstation Network. Those numbers may seem mind boggling to some, and for good reason as video games have expanded and improved in nearly every way imaginable.

The First Video Game

Dr.William Higinbotham, a scientist of Long Island’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and ex-member of the Manhattan Project, developed the very first distinguished video game which featured gameplay similar to that of a tennis match. While modern video games, even those dedicated to bringing a true tennis experience, have wonderful graphics and beautifully designed character models, Dr.William Higinbotham’s depiction of tennis was simply a small wall and a bouncing ball on an oscilloscope. While his development may not have been publicly available due to the fact that it was played on an oscilloscope (which people didn’t have unless they were mad scientists), it certainly set the stage for the future of video games.

The First Gaming System

Ralph H. Baer was the inventor of a new technology that would bring video games to the average household, this technology was later nicknamed the “Brown Box”. After Magnavox took interest in Baer’s invention, they allowed for this technology to be mass produced and they marketed the console by labeling it the Magnavox Odyssey. The company sold 100,000 units which, at the time, was considered a success as the market for video games was barely emerging.

Video Games Today

The expansion and advancement of video game technology has certainly allowed for a larger audience to indulge in the glorious entertainment value that video games offer. Console gaming has greatly expanded with 30.2 million PS4 units being sold worldwide as of November 22nd, 2015 and about 18 million Xbox One consoles sold worldwide. Not only have video games captivated a greater audience, but they have continued to push the boundaries of technology by incorporating life-like graphics and developing new ways of allowing players to immerse themselves in the virtual worlds of tomorrow.

Advancements In Graphics

The graphics of early video games do not nearly compare to the insanely realistic graphics we enjoy today. Electronic Arts just recently released “Star Wars Battlefront” and their dedication to bringing the Star Wars universe to life was fulfilled through the immaculately beautiful life-like graphics. As you immerse yourself in a first person war between the competing factions of the Star Wars universe, you are showered with light flares and flashes of intense burning light radiating from explosions nearby. If you were to rewind 10 years into the past and attempt to create the same effects, your console would most likely burst into flames and probably burn your house down (At least then the fire would be realistic right ?).

Storytelling In Today’s Games

While storytelling may have been a fundamental aspect of several older games, not until recently have video games begun to truly engulf the player by combining the storytelling with newer gameplay mechanics. In earlier games, conveying the emotions of a character could really only be done very minimally as the facial expressions of a character really didn’t have the depth necessary to convey the complicated emotions we humans are so used to; however, today’s video games have begun to fully utilize the ability to convey a character’s emotions through the implementation of graphic development software that allows developers to give characters deep facial expressions. In Naughty Dog’s “The Last Of Us”, facial expressions played a tremendous role in advancing the story by allowing players to see the suffering and depth with which the character seems to feel. These small details bring the game to life and give the player a newfound sense of deep immersion.

Have We Reached The Peak Yet?

No, we haven’t even begun to near the potential of video game technology as new methods of creating a better virtual experience seem to emerge continuously. Virtual Reality may seem like a topic for tomorrow’s world but several gaming companies have begun to push for methods of complete immersion and Virtual Reality is certainly something  gaming fanatics, and the world of tomorrow, should look forward to.

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