I was going to try to write a brief history of video games here, but I’m not too sure what I’d really be trying to achieve by that?
I suppose one way to construct the story would be to look at games that introduced technical innovations, in graphics, sound design or soundtrack composition; or games that invented new styles of gameplay (such as the first real adventure game, or sandbox game), or were the first of a kind that hailed a new innovation in interface design – whether on screen (life/health bar indicators, for example), or via physical input devices (joysticks, gamepads, six-axis controllers, or guitars!); or a history of the first popular game on each new games console? A history based on games that achieved milestones of one sort or another, in other words.
But that doesn’t sound particularly satisfying – there are lots of books that tell the tale in detail, and lots of other books that cover it in brief, and I’m not sure I could do it justice here in a thousand words or so…
So I’m going to “cheat: – and pass of the telling of the tale, should you care to “read” it, to someone else. And to a medium that isn’t a long text document…
To try and get you to actually look at the thing (?!), I thought it might be interesting to compare two versions of a common (more or less) timeline. In particular, the History of Video Games timeline on xtimelines (the same service where the Digital Worlds timeline lives…)
Firstly, there’s the actual timeline version: History of Video Games
Then there’s this video version inspired by that timeline:
View both treatments of the timeline. Do either of them engage you in the telling of the story? Did you get a sense from either of the tellings why the games represented do appear in the history? Did you feel you actually learned anything? Is there any way that either telling could be improved in such a way that you feel you might have learned something from it (and what would that something be?)
If you prefer a more traditional documentary style view, here’s something from Google Video: History of Video Games (Discovery Channel) (though it does rather look as if it has been ‘stolen’ and shouldn’t really be there… ;-)
Alternatively, if you prefer a traditional presentation, try this (Console Video Game History):
From a quick look around the web, I haven’t managed to find a really good public domain article on the history of games (post a comment if you find one;-), though there are lots of books covering the subject area (try Amazon!;-)
So if you fancy writing a brief history of video games, maybe even just focusing on the games that revolutionsed the development of a particular aspect of computer gaming, such as soundtrack design, or user interface design) and linking back to here, I’m sure we’d all like to read it ;-)