When it comes to discussing the evolution of video games, it can be hard to know where to start. In the past 50 years since Spacewar! (the first true video game) was created, millions of games have been put on the market.
So, how does one go about discussing this topic in a concise but comprehensive way? The answer is to simply pick a single genre and analyze its main trends. In keeping with this direction, this article will discuss games in the roleplaying/adventure genre, where players take on the character of one or more heroes on a quest.
The earliest incarnation of these games were, in a way, not video at all. Instead, these games used text to create worlds for players to explore. The first of its kind was Adventure. In this game, gamers read the text description of a cave and typed in simple verb-noun commands (like take lantern, go north, etc.) to get around the cave and interact with its inhabitants. These text-based games were limited by low levels of RAM in early computers but they compensated for this by focusing on the setting and the story.
When text adventure games moved towards a more visual format, it’s safe to safe that the genre experienced a major leap in evolution. It began in 1980 when Atari 2600 released their own version of Adventure. This game included loot gathering, exploration, and the simple monster fighting that made the first incarnation poplar. But, again due to the limitations of computer processing power, the main character ware represented as a colored square. Monsters, objects, dragons, and swords were represented by crude graphics.
Still, the virtual environment and the ability to use a joystick added the extra element of wider, real-time exploration which wowed many who were used to the original game. This is in stark difference to the turn-based format in so many text adventures.
When consoles and computers that could render video were released, this changed the future of all video games. The first thing that developers did was take advantage of the increasing capabilities of gaming hardware. Unlike the Atari 2600, modern gaming PCs made it possible for graphics to verge on the edge of photorealism.
And, that’s not all – controllers began to evolve into the forms that we know today. Back in the day, the Atari joystick had one button and directional control. The Nintendo Entertainment system controller used a four-way directional pad and two buttons, which helped us do more in our video games. Nowadays, consoles like the PlayStation 3 and xBox 360 have controllers with at least one thumb sized joystick, a directional pad, and a number of buttons and triggers that can be combined to give players more maneuverability. When it comes to PC gaming, the combination of the keyboard and mouse have also given gamers an increased number of options. Want to see? Head on over to do some online gambling at Red Flush.
These affected adventure games in other ways as well. For instance, the original format of the Adventure games stories were barebones. As the representational ability of computers and game design evolved, fans of the adventure genre demanded more sophisticated moral choices and stories.
Although all these changes have been made through the course of video game evolution, it’s also important to know that this history has not been linear. In fact, there are still some text based adventures games to be found. The designers of these games believe that this format helps gamers use more of their imagination which, to them, is a technology that’s so powerful that it makes any graphics that one can create on screen look like bad graffiti.