Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A history of computer games, part 2a: 1970s - 1980s

A history of computer games, part deux: 1970s - 1980s
created by Steve Jobs & Steve Wozniak
The Rise and Fall of Arcade Games
Pac-Man - Front
Pac-Man - Back
Using the culturally well established market that had fed pinball and pachinko games, companies like Atari, Midway and Taito fuelled the amusement halls with collections of highly influential titles - Pac-Man, Asteroids, Space Invaders and Breakout to name a few! 

Due to the amount of money players poured into the machines, many video arcade operators had to increase their capacity for collecting coins. 
Setting arcade gaming up to be a very lucrative enterprise. 


'Asteroids' by Atari, was one of the main contenders because it introduced the 'High-Score' system. Allowing players to show their peers that they had not only beaten the game, but their mates top score. Probably the best example of friendly rivalry. 
Space Invaders - Front
File:Galaxy Game 1971 first arcade game.jpg
- "Galaxy Game" -
- The earliest known coin-op - 

A game cost 10 cents or three games for 25 cents - 
Later developed with Multi-player features!

This kind of 'shared gaming' was further developed within the construction of the machines themselves. 
Screens where enlarged and positioned with the 'group' in mind. 

1980's Arcade Room
Allowing friends to spectate on your progress and even compete against one another. 
This kind of environment is echoed now on a grander scale in current multiplayer gaming options.

In contrast - A modern Arcade Room

Arcade machines soon emerged from their seedy locales to be featured in restaurants and brightly lit department stores. 
Perhaps to prevent any stigma associated with pool halls and bars, which had a reputation for drug dealing and, at least in America, Mafia connections. 

With this mainstream exposure came the arrival of 8-bit colour (as oppossed to colour overlays) and the 'rebirth' of Space Invaders in the newly titled Namco release 'Galaxian'. 

Having purchased the Japanese subsidiary of Atari Corp, Namco and their competitors Taito begin to dominate games development. 

The Western hemisphere seemed more focused on the manufacturing and sales of arcade cabinets than the actual evolution of the games that were contained within. 

A factor that contributed to the decline in variety and origination of games available. 
Soon players became tired of the uninspired and formulaic output of Arcade machines and with the rising developments of games on home computers, the emphasis was moved to this new platform. 

Like the flood of redundant home consoles previously, warehouses were left filled with unsold arcade machines. Even today they have resurfaced only to fall out of favour once again. 
I guess some stigmas, whatever they may be, are hard to shake. 
I Am the Resurrection!

No comments:

Post a Comment