Long ago there was a sad, depressing age. Families sat around in flickering incandescent light in front of a static-filled black and white broadcast, gathered around that vilest of all inventions, the board game. Families quarreled over Sorry, believed impossible dreams that would only lead to disappointment in the Game of Life, and divorces and bloodshed were common over that vilest of all board games, Monopoly. In those dark ages, this was the only form of entertainment on a cold winter night, or when the rain poured and lightning flashed, and each year another family would fall to the terrors found within.
Salvation Arrives: The Video Game
Thankfully, scientists were laboring away on a new and important invention, the computer. First, it started with vacuum tubes and machines the size of buildings, and soon the electronic brains within were turned to playing matchsticks, a simple counting game. It was far too large to be a practical solution for home entertainment, and far too simple to break the reign of the board game, but it was an important beginning.
The next meaningful challenge was far more ambitious, Alan Turing (one of the patron saints of computers) and Claude Shannon developed a computer capable of playing the Game of Kings, Chess. In 1955 the military developed the first electronic wargame, Hutspiel, which allowed the military war games to enter the digital age. Video games really took off starting in 1960, with the introduction of the BASIC language, countless games were to follow on the heels of this innovation, and things start ramping up both in programming and the development of computer technology.
1968 saw the release of the first Video Game Console, the Odyssey, and from there everything went straight into an astronomic climb that no one could possibly have foreseen. The Atari arrived in 1977, the next big innovation for console gaming that took the Cabinet Games out of the Arcade’s and into the home. The real turning point in the gaming console came with the Nintendo, with the introduction of games like Super Mario Bros and The Adventure of Link, things would never be the same.
40 years later, the Xbox and PlayStation are present in every home, and in the world of PC gaming the Desktop Computer gave way to the Laptop, and now video games are big business on our cell phones. So gone are the dark days of Board Games, and no more do families fall apart over the playing of simple games meant to draw them closer.
Except for Mario Party… Mario Party has an incredibly high relationship casualty rate.