Since the early 1980s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry, and whether you're a casual gamer or a hardcore fan, there's something out there for everyone. In this article, we'll take a look at the history of video games, some of the most popular genres, and what the future might hold for this ever-evolving medium.
The earliest known video game was created in 1947 by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann. The game, which was called "Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device," used a cathode ray tube to create moving images on a screen. It wasn't until 1958 that the first commercial video game console was released: The Odyssey, created by Ralph Baer.
While early home consoles were limited to simple games like Pong or Spacewar!, the introduction of more powerful systems like the Atari 2600 in 1977 brought about a new wave of more complex titles such as Asteroids and Pac-Man. The 1980s also saw the rise of arcade gaming with classics like Donkey Kong and Ms. Pac-Man attracting millions of players worldwide.
The 1990s ushered in a new era of gaming with the release of Sony's PlayStation console; Nintendo's Super NES followed suit shortly thereafter. These 32-bit systems allowed for much more detailed graphics than their 8-bit predecessors while also introducing concepts like 3D gameplay and CD-ROM support (which allowed for full-motion videos and larger game worlds).
The late 1990s also saw Microsoft enter the fray with its own line of consoles: The original Xbox was released in 2001 followed by the Xbox 360 in 2005 (the most recent model being released in 2013). In 2006, Nintendo launched its Wii system which featured innovative motion controls that helped broaden gaming's appeal to a wider audience beyond traditional gamers.
The 2010s have thus far been defined by two major trends: The rise of mobile gaming thanks to smartphones and tablets; and renewed interest in so-called "AAA" console titles due to increased horsepower from the latest generation of hardware from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.