History of Game Design
Arising as a prominent branch of game development in the 1970s after the huge success of arcade video games, game designers as we know them today were tasked with designing the bulk of content for the game, including the rules, storyline, characters and overall appeal. Today, game designing is a multi-million dollar industry that’s only expected to grow larger as technology advances. Take a look at the timeline below to see how the industry has evolved and expanded over the years.
1952 – Willy Higinbotham creates what is commonly referred to as “the first video game.” Similar to table tennis, this 2 person game was played on an oscilloscope.
1961 – A MIT student, Steve Russell, creates the first interactive game, Spacewars, played on mainframe computers.
1971 – Computer Space, developed by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney (founders of Atari), becomes the first video arcade game released. Although it was instantly LEGO Light Kit popular, many people found the game too difficult.
1972 – Realizing the potential of video games, Magnavox released Odyssey, the first home video gaming system. Most notably though, Atari is founded and quickly recognized as the leader in the video game industry. Their first released game, Pong, was wildly successful and soon became available as a home version.
1974 – Steve Jobs, one of Atari’s technicians and later a circuit board creator, presented an idea to the Atari founders for a personal computer system. Because funds were tied up in other projects, Bushnell referred a venture capitalist to Jobs for funding support. That personal computer, of course, was the beginning of Apple.
1975 – The first computer game hits the markets. Gunfight used a microprocessor instead of hardwired circuits.
1977 – Retailing at $249.95, a large chunk of money at the time, the Atari 2600 game console is released.
1978 – Adding another level of competition and appeal to video games, Space Invaders hits arcades as the first game to track and display high scores. Soon after, the game Asteroids took it a step further and allowed three letter initials to be stored with top scores.
1980 – The first 3D game, Battlezone, is created. The game caught the eye of the US Government, who later modified it for training exercises. Due to the advancing complexity of games, companies begin to form teams to specifically address design. Game designers and programmers soon became separate, distinct careers.