THE HISTORY OF ARCADE GAMES Intro I am overviewing the whole History of Arcade Games, I personally believe that the Arcade was a pinnacle of entertainment when it started in the 1950’s with the pinball machines and in the 1970’s with pong and space invaders. As video games started to be released at consumer priced on separate consoles the Arcade age started its fall.
Bagatelle/Pinball Pinball was an adaptation of Bagatelle and was created with a table and balls in 1871, and then later was remade into pinball. The game started off as a table top machine with no legs to be separately placed on. The differences between bagatelle and pinball consist of adding the classic inclined playing board, replacing large bagatelle balls with marbles and a spring-loaded ball launcher. The Tilted table mechanic was introduced in 1934 and then later the machines became powered and the traditional well known Bumpers, Flippers and scoreboards were then additionally implemented.
Nowadays pinball is in several different console and arcade video games and in the classic arcade table, the game is now in several different themes and types even with different game mechanics.
The Game consists of a spring-loaded ball, which is shot up through a sub section of the table and then bounced around off several bumpers that will increase the player’s overall score for the end of the game. The Player controls two flippers, which are located at the bottom of the table these are used to flick the ball upwards, hitting the bumpers to increase their score.
The aim is to keep the ball up as long as you can. The Game was released and is still is released with different themes and bumper locations, several versions of the game are available online and on disc versions for computers.
A Batman Pinball machine created in line for the Release of the Dark Knight film
An example of a pinball machine
Tennis for two “Tennis for Two” (which was later rebranded pong by Atari) was the first video Arcade game on record that was created by William Higginbotham in an ex-World War II Nuclear Bomb laboratory, called the Brookhaven National Laboratory. Higginbotham created Tennis for Two for playing on an oscilloscope screen connected up to an analogue computer. Tennis for Two was a hit in 1958 the year of release as most people in schools and bars would be playing it, was it to beat each other’s score or just for fun this game never had a break from being played.
Tennis For two is a game composed of a ball and a court, the aim is to stop the ball from bouncing two times like a normal game of tennis. The game is played with two dials that control the pitch and power of the next throw. The game was played and showcased on the same computer it was developed on in 1958.
The Tennis for two game which is played on an oscilloscope screen
Space war In 1962 a Group of computer programmers lead by Steve Russell created Spacewar, which was the first ever, well known video computer game. The games’ development took over 200 hours “man-hours” and was created on a Digital Equipment Corporation interactive mini computer which only had keyboard input, the machine was given to Steve giving the idea that he would create something remarkable with it, thus the creation of space war.
Steve never profited from the game even though the computer it was designed on was sold with the intention of playing the game. Steven later went on in life to teach computer game programming to Atari owner Nolan Bushnell. Who then went on to start the arcade games’ golden age.
Spacewar was a two-player game of which the goal was to destroy the other players ship whilst avoiding the gravitational pull of the sun (in the middle of the screen). The ships shot photon torpedoes that would destroy the other players ship in one hit making the game skill/luck based.
An image of Spacewar played at a workstation
An image of Spacewar being played.
Atari In 1971 Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney created Computer Space based off Nolan’s tutor and idol Steve Russell’s Spacewar. A year later Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney created Pong, which shared a familiar resemblance to William Higginbotham’s Tennis for two.
After creating pong the two developers went on to create their own (currently well know) company called Atari. Atari went on to then re-release pong as a home video game creating the first personal computer game available for the general consumer. Just after the creation of the company The Atari Company was then sold to Warner Communications for $28 million in 1975 and then later was sold to Jack Tramiel after generating losses of $533 million out of $415 million profit, generating a $118 million in losses.
In its later life Atari suffered from a lawsuit by Nintendo in 1992. It then went on to end its life as a company in 1998 and all its assets were then sold to Hasbro, ending its cycle.
The Golden Age The golden age of the Arcade took place in the late 1970s through to the 1980s, an age of flawless games and the start to a future of the video game genres and graphics. The Golden Age started with the world famous Space Invaders released by Nintendo in 1978 with over 350,000 machines sold over its lifetime.
Space invaders then lead Namco to then release Pac-man in 1980 another globally known game. In 1981 SEGA releases Frogger a game which influenced many different versions and re-skins of the same game, in the same year Donkey Kong is released and 60,000 units are sold to America for $180 million.
The Present Day Arcade games in the present day have dwindled they are using modern age technology but do not have as much playability as the retro style games such as space invaders, pong and Pinball, although some of those machines are still around they are not used and in there stead are games such as House of the dead and Dance Dance revolution, repayable games but at a high cost and just used for a profit.