Video Games have come a long way since its inception. Although general knowledge suggests that the likes of Spacewar or Pong as the earliest form of video games, they are merely an evolved version of electronic games or computer games. Let's take a brief over-view of gaming history, and then showcase a few of the titles that made gaming what it is today.
The Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device
Long before the iconic Pong became a thing, two physicists named Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann filed the first patent the Cathode-Ray Amusement Device in 1947. Although the device never made it to the mainstream market because of production cost, it eventually got the title of being the “first patent for an electronic game.”
The Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement device paves the way to the creation of the first AI (Artificial Intelligence) for an electronic game through Noughts and Crosses followed by the first publicly displayed game called Tennis for Two by Willy Higinbotham. It was not until 1962 when the first widely available video game called “Spacewar!” sparked the concept of video game commercialization. Although these video games/devices never made it to the market, they are the key components that will make the next decade one of the best years in gaming.
Old School Gaming
Established in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, Atari, for the most part, is the most influential brand in video games. Aside from developing one of the “worst games of all time,” the company also served as the main foundation of the entire video game industry. All thanks to the success of the Pong Arcade Games. Pong, undeniably paved the way to the rise of arcade games, which inspired the development of other video game platforms (PC and Console).
As much as we want to discuss more of the history of gaming, it would be better to experience and play some of these great retro titles. You can download many of these games for free to your PC or you can also play these free arcade games on your PC as well. There is no better way to enjoy history than a hands-on experience of some of the retro titles, and some of its modern counterparts we can play free today.
Developed in 1979 by Namco, Pac Man or Puck Man in Japanese is a classic maze game that evolved to become one of the most influential, highest-grossing, and best-selling series of all time. Although it is not as classic as Space Invaders, this yellow pizza-shaped-with-a-missing-piece character chased by ghosts set to establish the Maze Chase Game genre.
On top of that, the game also influenced the development of the GTA (Grand Theft Auto) franchise. So if you really want to get into the challenging and fun world of retro gaming, then, Pac Man is a title you definitely should consider checking out.
Is a popular Japanese that title that is not only influential but legendary as well. The popularity of the game led to the creation of an urban legend stating that Space Invaders led to a 100-yen coin shortage in Japan during its time.
Space Invaders inspired some of the greatest innovators in gaming like Hideo Kojima and John Romero. Without Space Invaders, games like Blazing Lazers, Raiden, many games from the shmup genre would cease to exist. Space Invaders is perfect for those who are looking for a classic or retro game that inspired some of the best vertical shooters in video games today.
Although not as retro as the previous two titles, Donkey Kong is another arcade title worth mentioning. This brilliant title inspired the development of platforming games.
The Strong National Museum of Play’s World Video Game Hall of Fame inducted Donkey Kong in 2017. The game also played a part in competitive gaming and to which some of the best players on the planet compete to break the high score of the game.
You are into the FPS action genre that involves killing Nazis, then Wolfenstein 3D is another retro game you definitely should check out. Wolfenstein 3D set the foundation for the iconic Wolfenstein series. Players get to explore Castle Wolfenstein and destroy the Nazi regime. The game allows you to explore three episodes filled with various challenges and a diverse collection of enemies.
You take the role of William "B.J." Blazkowicz who for those new to the name is the protagonist of the entire Wolfenstein franchise. Unlike the new entries to the franchise, Wolfenstein 3D features pixelated characters and weapons set in a 3D environment. Wolfenstein 3D is best for those who are just starting or planning to jump into the Wolfenstein franchise.
Another retro game shooting fans should consider checking out is Contra. Launched in 1987 for the NES, Contra is one of the very first shooting platformers presented in various perspectives. Unlike Wolfenstein 3D, Contra is in 2.5D meaning that players can experience the game from various angles/perspectives.
Contra features 8 stages of pure platforming challenges playable by up to two players. Contra despite its modest gameplay presentation comes with a unique plot twist set in the year 2633 A.D.
Your mission is to stop the evil Red Falcon Organization situated in the fictional Galuga archipelago near New Zealand from wiping out humanity. The game features two commandos named Bill Rizer and Lance Bean. Both are a member of the Earth Marine Corps ' Contra unit (an elite group of soldiers specializing in guerrilla warfare). That said, if you are into some action-packed platforming adventure then contra is one of those retro games worth checking out.
Compared to modern games, old school titles are poor in quality and presentation. Nevertheless, these titles defined the modern games of today. What it lacks in presentation it makes up for in challenges. That said, if you think modern hardcore gaming is challenging, then, consider beating some of the old school games in history. After all, without these titles, some of the biggest titles would cease to exist today.
Did You Know: In 1990 game, Golden Axe from SEGA was voiced entirely by prisoners on death row.