The History Of Gaming (Part I)

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Over about three generations now, video games have shaped the childhood of millions of people. Like almost all aspects of life, gaming too has moved into the digital world in recent decades.

The Evolution Of Gaming

As computers evolved in the past decades, so did gaming. The history of gaming is closely linked to the evolution of the computer. However, the mobile technology boom in recent years has revolutionized the industry and opened the doors to a new generation of gamers.

During the 1940s and 1950s, computers took up entire rooms and were so expensive that only universities and large companies could afford them. Especially in the 1950s, such huge, room-sized computers solved relatively simple arithmetical problems. However, these inventions were intended not for entertainment, but rather to demonstrate how the new technology worked. Most people had both a limited understanding of what these electronic behemoths were able to do and an unfamiliarity with the types of mathematical equations these machines were regularly programmed to compute. There was no question of playing games with these behemoths. And yet, at universities in the USA, creative minds developed simple computer games. 

The First Recognized Example Of A Game Machine

The first recognized example of a game machine was unveiled by Dr. Edward Uhler Condon. The game was played by about 50,000 people during the six months it was on display, with the computer reportedly winning almost 90 percent of the games. This game was based on the ancient math game of Nim where you had to avoid picking up the last matchstick. Moreover, Condon and associates applied for a patent on this early special purpose electromechanical computer in April 1940, after which the machine was displayed at the World's Fair.

The First Video Game

More than sixty years ago, before either arcades or home video games, visitors waited in line at Brookhaven National Laboratory to play “Tennis for Two,” an electronic tennis game that is unquestionably a forerunner of the modern video game. Tennis for Two, appearing in 1958, was the first video game programmed purely for entertainment. Two people played the electronic tennis game with separate controllers that connected to an analog computer and used an oscilloscope for a screen. Furthermore, the game, consisting of a monitor for a piece of equipment on which two people were able to bat a spot of light back and forth, was presented at a three-day exhibition. Teenagers queued up to watch the game and try it out. 

When higher performing computers came out, like the IBM 1560, games like Moon Landing, 3D Tic-Tac-Toe, and Spacewar! became more popular. However, these games were typically only available at top institutions, like MIT. Gaming didn’t get a lot of mainstream popularity until the 1970s and 80s.

Brown Box

The history of gaming really started when Ralph Baer came up with an idea for an entertainment device that could be hooked up to a television monitor. Ralph Baer’s “Brown Box” was a video game console that could play table tennis. 

Baer’s so-called “Brown Box” was an early prototype of what would come to be known as the Magnavox Odyssey, the first-ever commercial home video-game console. Players used plastic overlays on their TV screens to show visual elements that supported the rules of the game. They used controllers to move a dot and kept their own scores.

Fifty years after the Odyssey went on sale for $99.95, the practice of playing on our screens has grown into a $300 billion global industry. Today, more than 3 billion people play video games. But Baer and his team of engineers were the first, and it all started in a room of unimpressed executives half a century ago.

Disclaimer: All information provided in the content is for informational purposes only and should not be perceived as investment, financial, or trading advice. Any investment decisions you make should be based on your personal preferences, financial expertise, and market research.


Parea Labs is a Web3 Gaming company that is driven by visionary ideas to provide various blockchain solutions and the excitement to build a user-focused, adaptive, and innovative gaming experience for all.

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