Before your PlayStation and Xbox…

Okay, so you own a PlayStation 3 or even the latest and greatest PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 or Xbox One, or the Nintendo Wii or Wii U. Well, you have no idea or maybe you do. Video games as we know them today can be traced back to the early 1950s. They began to evolve into arcade style games and eventually home consoles.

The earliest video games included Computer Space, which was the first coin-operated arcade game, Pong, which was the first mass produced video game, Gunfight, and Space Invaders, which was the first video game to display animated characters and high scores.

The earliest video games played at home were on the Atari Video Computer System, which was released in 1977. I had one of these and if today you’re rocking the Square, Triangle, Circle and X buttons or any combinations of several buttons on one controller, those days we rocked with one button, yes one big red button for shoot. In addition to Space Invaders, Atari’s earliest video games were Pong, Breakout and Combat. Coin-operated arcade games were also quickly growing. The earliest video games found in arcades included Asteroids and Pac Man, which remains the most popular arcade game of all time.

Thing is, in Uganda, I believe, most arcade gaming areas were only frequented by children who did not have money most of the time. In case the number of people with home-based games such as the Nintendo, Sega and PlayStation did not help, much, hence resorting to casino type of machines or closing down all together.

You may still see isolated and sporadic gamming shops with several TVs and gaming consoles. Here you pay for play for a specified amount of time.

One of the earliest video games to display a long-lasting video game character came in 1981 when Nintendo released Donkey Kong featuring Mario. Mario, the beloved plumber who was first intended to be a carpenter actually, has been featured at the centre of dozens of video games throughout time. This man still features on Nintendo’s latest consoles including the Wii U and the portable Nintendo DS. Other video games with long running popularity include the Final Fantasy series, Zelda, Sega’s Sonic and Pokémon.

Most gamers in Uganda started with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega’s Genesis in the early 90s. PlayStation changed the arena with its use of CDs to hold games.

Nintendo 64, Xbox, PlayStation 2 have been best sellers. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, while strictly speaking are last generation, are still very much alive today in Uganda and as a matter of fact it’s this generation that is still popular today. Finally, we move into to the current generation of PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Wii U all released in late 2013 save for the Wii that was released in 2012.

After nearly three decades, the aancement from the earliest video games to today’s modern versions is extraordinary. Technological innovations that allow game developers to push the envelope have resulted in three major worldwide players: Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo.

Each company peddles their own individual achievements in the gaming industry, but Nintendo holds the record for the best-selling video game of all time with Super Mario Bros and the Wii.

On the developers’ front, release of games is like a blockbuster movie opening. In 2013, Grand Theft Auto 5 or GTA 5 as it is popularly known, achieved unprecedented records by breaking as many as seven world records, according to Guinness World Records.

GTA 5 broke six new world records including one for the highest revenue generated by an entertainment product in 24 hours and another for the fastest entertainment property to ever gross $1b (about Shs2.5t). Today, gaming is no longer a niche hobby, as GTA 5 alongside other big games like Call of Duty, Halo have proved, but, it’s a big industry aiming for Hollywood’s might.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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