O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

History of Digital Games

Book Description

The growth of videogame design programs in higher education and explosion of amateur game development has created a need for a deeper understanding of game history that addresses not only "when," but "how" and "why." Andrew Williams takes the first step in creating a comprehensive survey on the history of digital games as commercial products and artistic forms in a textbook appropriate for university instruction. History of Digital Games adopts a unique approach and scope that traces the interrelated concepts of game design, art and design of input devices from the beginnings of coin-operated amusement in the late 1800s to the independent games of unconventional creators in the present. Rooted in the concept of videogames as designed objects, Williams investigates the sources that inspired specific game developers as well as establishing the historical, cultural, economic and technological contexts that helped shape larger design trends

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Contents
  6. Preface
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Author
  9. Chapter 1 — Mechanical and Electromechanical Arcade Games (1870–1979)
    1. Arcade Game Design
    2. The Beginnings of Coin-Operated Amusement
      1. Automata and Coin-Op Working Models
      2. Coin-Op Competitive Testers
      3. Coin-Op Viewers at the Turn of the Century
    3. A Gathering of Games and Amusements at the Penny Arcade
      1. Sport-Based Games and the Roots of Digital Game Genres
      2. Early Developments in Pinball
        1. A New Emphasis on Art and Design
        2. The Prohibition of Pinball
    4. Postwar Mechanical and Electromechanical Game Design
      1. Driving and Racing Games after World War II
      2. Missile-Launching Games in Japan and the United States
      3. Pinball as a Game of Skill
      4. The Sunset of Electromechanical Games
  10. Chapter 2 — Games as Experiments (1912–1977)
    1. Electronic Computers and Games
    2. Early Games in Research and Scientific Demonstration
      1. Chess and Artificial Intelligence
      2. Beyond Chess
      3. Turing’s Imitation Game and Artificial Intelligence
      4. Tennis for Two and the Beginning of Entertainment Applications for Computer Games
    3. The Hacker Ethic and Games
      1. The Spread and Modification of Spacewar!
    4. Computer Networks and Games
      1. The ARPAnet
      2. Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations and Multiplayer Games
        1. Adapting Dungeons & Dragons to PLATO
        2. Early 3D and Networked Games
      3. Into the Commercial Realm
  11. Chapter 3 — Early Commercialized Digital Games (1971–1977)
    1. New Technology in the Consumer Market
    2. Approaches to Commercialized Digital Games
      1. Monetizing Spacewar!
      2. The Magnavox Odyssey and Divided Game Space
      3. Pong and Variations on Ball and Paddle Game Design
        1. Late Ball and Paddle Games
    3. Adapting Electromechanical Games to the Digital Arcade
      1. Racing Games in the Early Digital Arcade
      2. Early Variants of Maze and Shooting Games
      3. Dedicated Consoles in the Home and Signs of Trouble
  12. Chapter 4 — The Golden Age Arcade (1978–1984)
    1. The Golden Age Arcade
    2. Tendencies and New Concepts in the Golden Age
      1. Shooting and Shoot ’em Ups in the Golden Age
        1. Other Directions in Shooter Design, Input, and Theme
      2. Stronger Characters and Narrative in Arcade Games
        1. Laserdiscs, Narrative, and Gameplay
      3. Eclectic Approaches to Arcade Game Design
    3. The End of the Golden Age Arcade
  13. Chapter 5 — Cartridges and Home Consoles (1976–1984)
    1. The Second Generation of Home Consoles
      1. Atari and the VCS
        1. Game Design for the VCS
        2. Changes at Atari
    2. Competition in the Home Market
      1. The Emergence of Third-Party Developers
      2. Mattel and Coleco Enter the Console Market
    3. Beyond the Arcade
      1. Adding Content to Home Console Games
      2. Altering Time in Home Console Games
        1. Adventure and Exploration in Console Games
        2. Resource Management Games on Home Consoles
        3. Sports Games for the Home
      3. The North American Console Crash
        1. Other Factors
        2. Fallout of the Crash
  14. Chapter 6 — Home Computers (1977–1995)
    1. The Microcomputer Revolution
    2. Computer Games of the Late 1970s and Early 1980s
      1. From Text to Graphic Adventure Games
      2. Early Computer Role-Playing Games
        1. Other Directions in CRPGs
      3. Flight and Vehicle Simulations on Computers
      4. Visuals and Action-Adventure Games for Computers
    3. The Mouse and Computer Games of the Later 1980s and 1990s
      1. Later Role-Playing Games
      2. Developing the Point-and-Click Adventure
      3. Management and Strategy Games in the Late 1980s and Early 1990s
      4. Synthesis and Development of the RTS Game
  15. Chapter 7 — Japan, 2D Game Design and the Rebirth of Consoles (1983–1995)
    1. Japanese Games and Game Companies in the Early 1980s
    2. 2D Game Design Trends after the Golden Age Arcade
      1. Pseudo-3D in Games
      2. Side-Scrolling Action and the Beat ’em Up
      3. The Head-to-Head Fighting Game
      4. Western Responses to the Head-to-Head Fighting Game
    3. Japanese Companies Transition to the Home
      1. Stabilizing and Controlling the Console Market
      2. Establishing Nintendo’s Franchises
        1. Super Mario Bros.
        2. The Legend of Zelda
      3. Computer Games and the JRPG on the Famicom/NES
      4. Sega Joins the Console Market
    4. 16-Bit Consoles, Marketing, and Game Design
      1. New Contenders
      2. New Platformers for New Consoles and Intensified Competition
  16. Chapter 8 — Early 3D and the Multimedia Boom (1989–1996)
    1. Two Paths to Realism: Multimedia Imagery and Real-Time 3D
    2. CD-ROMs and Photo-Realism
      1. Interactive Film and Games
        1. Puzzle Games in the Era of Multimedia
    3. Real-Time 3D and Spatial Realism
      1. Early Commercialized Virtual Reality
      2. Simulators in Arcades Spawn a 3D Revolution
      3. Adapting Home Consoles to a 3D Context
      4. Combining 2D Images with Real-Time 3D in PC Games
        1. The Influence of id Software
        2. The Triumph of Real-Time 3D in Games
  17. Chapter 9 — Contemporary Game Design (1996–Present)
    1. New Hardware for Real-Time 3D Gaming
    2. 3D Game Design in the Late 1990s
      1. Platforming and Adventure Games in Full 3D
        1. First Person in Full 3D
      2. Hybrid First-Person Shooter/Role-Playing Games at the Turn of the Millennium
        1. Looking Glass Studios and Its Offshoots
      3. Cinematic Perspectives at the Turn of the Millennium
    3. Games and Game Design in the New Millennium
      1. Changes in the Industry
      2. New Consoles and the Maturing of Games in the 2000s
        1. Sega’s Exit
        2. Microsoft’s Entry
      3. The Proliferation of Open World Gameplay
        1. Reducing Load Times on Consoles
      4. The Emergence of Casual and Mobile Games
      5. Digital Distribution in the 2000s
        1. Casual Games and Digital Distribution
      6. Game Visuals and Gameplay Aesthetics in the 2000s and Beyond
        1. Realism in Surfaces
      7. Film-Like Gameplay in the 2000s
        1. Criticism and Backlash against the Industry
  18. Chapter 10 — Independent Games (1997–Present)
    1. The Scratchware Manifesto and Dimensions of “Indie”
    2. The Early Independent Game Scene
      1. Success with Shareware
      2. Flash and 2D Freeware Games
        1. Flash and Struggles for Legitimacy
        2. Japan’s Doujin Soft and Freeware Scene
        3. Freeware Experiments with Games and Art
    3. The Mainstream Breakout of Independent Games
      1. Steam and Independent Games
      2. Console Manufacturers Pursue Independent Developers
      3. Success beyond “Games”
        1. Creative Sandboxes
        2. Narrative Exploration
      4. Meeting Challenges in the Contemporary
  19. Bibliography
  20. Index