Computer Games: Modern Entertainment
A young MIT
computer programmer, Steve Russell, created the first computer
game in 1962: "Spacewar," The game featured warring spaceships
firing at each other, allowing two players to play at once.
From these humble beginnings came a revolution in popular
entertainment. The rapid advancement of home computers in the
1970s and 1980s gave rise to the simplest computer games. The
1990s saw increased processing speeds, increased storage
space, graphics, sound cards, and the flourishing of the
Internet, all of which led to increasingly sophisticated,
involving computer games.
shooter games developed in the 1990s, chief amongst them,
Doom, released in 1993. Doom set itself apart from others with
its 3D graphics. In many ways, it began to define the genre.
First-person shooters are generally games that give the player
full control over a character that interacts with the world of
the game, usually by shooting various weapons. First-person
shooters were some of the earliest to make use of the more
advanced, higher-resolution 3D rendering offered by the Voodoo
chipset when it was released in 1996. Games like Quake became
one of the forces behind 3D technological advances.
real-time strategy game was 1983's Stonkers, released for the
ZX Spectrum home computer prevalent in Europe. Dune II,
released in 1992, was very influential in the genre. It set
the standard for following games, blockbusters like Warcraft
and Command and Conquer. These games include an overhead view,
a miniature map, and full control of an army's economic and
publishing its "Sim" games in the 1990s – SimCity, SimEarth,
SimCity 2000, SimAnt, and so on. It published The Sims in
2000, a strategic daily life simulation in which people create
alter egos that live out mundane lives, a "digital dollhouse."
It has become the best-selling game in PC history. Instead of
living life, people log on to computers to play games about
In the 1990s,
gamers began creating modifications to popular games, called
mods. The first was the Castle Smurfenstein mod for the Castle
Wolfenstein game. Once designers understood that these mods
increased a game's lifespan, they began encouraging users. The
most successful and most widely-played example of a mod is
CounterStrike, which was spawned from Half-Life.
freed people from a limited number of players. Quake pioneered
online gaming for first-person shooters. Internet capability
soon became a requirement for most first-person shooters.
Other genres also began to use the Internet, such as real-time
strategy games WarCraft and StarCraft. Massively Multiplay
Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPGs) like EverQuest became
sensations, so much so that it's jokingly referred to as "EverCrack."
Whilst historically dominated by young men, modern computer
games also appeal to women, especially the MMORPGs and daily
life simulation games. The online component of computer games
brought a social aspect to gaming, potentially offering an
unlimited number of competitors and collaborators. But
computer games can also be all-consuming – destroying
relationships and careers, requiring a