I was stumbling around the web the other day when I happened up on a website detailing the history of video games
from the mid 1960's through the mid 1990's. I consider this required reading for anyone who has a passing interest in video games, regardless of whether you are old enough to have been gaming in that era.
Today we enjoy a market with three successful consoles and a substantial PC element. This breadth of product and intense competition breeds innovation and keeps prices somewhat in check. This was not so for two extended periods in gaming history: the reigns of Atari in the late 1970's and early 1980's and Nintendo in the late 1980's and early 1990's. In both cases consumers eventually demanded more powerful systems and games after playing their existing systems for a number of years. Due to their virtual monopoly of the market, at the height of their power both Atari and Nintendo basically said that gamers weren't ready for such advances. While there wasn't an heir apparent to Atari's throne in the early 1980's, Sega is largely responsible for handing Nintendo their ass and ushering in the 16 bit era with the Sega Genesis.
All in all, the website was very entertaining and interesting. I can remember playing the Atari Pong machine
, so for me it was all the more entertaining reading about the systems that consumed a fair amount of my youth.
I personally read every page on the site, but I found these to areas the most interesting:
The chronological tour
- This starts out at the beginning when video gaming was nothing more than a war project at the Pentagon and finishes up in the 64 bit era.
Gender And Racial Inequality in Video Games
- An essay that strives to explain the true reasons behind the preponderance of white male characters in video games.
A couple days after my original post, I came across this t-shirt
over at bustedtees.com
that I thought was funny and apropos. Any NES gamer knows this was the first thing you did when a cart wouldn't boot.