Computer Games Essay

3842 words - 15 pages

Games have been around on personal computers (PCs) for about 30 years, evolving from text-adventures such as the 1976 game Adventure to the almost-ubiquitous video games of today. Many PC games released recently are also available on dedicated games console platforms, like the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and GameCube but current PCs are more powerful than games consoles, including the Xbox 360, often resulting in the option for more detailed graphics or AI in the PC versions. The vast array of customisation available to a PC makes PC game software piracy a much bigger problem than with other forms of video gaming.HistoryThe history of computer games has not received much attention from researchers. Although one might expect a consensus on such a 'young' research area, many details are more than cloudy. Which game, for example, was the first?The usual answer is Spacewar. In the 1960s computers were a luxury for the few. The machines were enormous and usually exclusive to research institutions or the military. In 1961, MIT students Martin "Shag" Graetz and Alan Kotok, with MIT employee Stephen "Slug" Russell, used a computer for statistical calculations for employees at the university. However, he and his friends had another interest; they were devoted fans of Edvard E. Smith's science-fiction saga Skylark. With this saga fresh in memory they constructed Spacewar.The first generation of games lacked the polish and AI seen in modern video games. They were often text games where the player communicates with the computer by typing the direction in which to move. Others were a hybrid of text and static graphics, as seen in the SSI Gold Box games like the original Pool of Radiance, or in the original Bard's Tale. One major genre of the 70s and 80s was the text adventure, or interactive fiction. The first text-adventure, Adventure (Crowther and Woods 1976) was created 15 years after Spacewar, for the PDP-11; during the late 70s scaled-down text adventures would be created by Scott Adams and others, for personal computers of the day. In the 80s, personal computers became powerful enough to run even full versions of Adventure and some of its imitators. By the late 1980s, text adventures had been mostly supplanted by graphical adventures modeled after Sierra's King's Quest.Along with the arrival of the mouse, textual interaction was gradually replaced by graphical interfaces. In the 1980s, strategy games gained popularity in the wake of successes such as Sid Meier's Pirates! (MicroProse, 1987) and SimCity (Maxis, 1987).Some of the more graphically intensive computer games were based on the IBM PS/2 Model 30 - with a 20 megabyte hard drive and 256 color MCGA graphics. Many currently popular, highly graphical mouse-based games originated on the Commodore Amiga computer platform since it had the most advanced colour graphic and animation capabilities of its time of introduction in 1985.With advances in technology other game types were developed as computers became...

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