History of video games/1970-1979
Despite facing workplace adversity, the 1970's saw several women make prominent contributions in the video game industry, most notably at RCA and Atari. However these developers would often not see widespread recognition in their day. This trend would continue into the 1980's.
- Arcade style games, especially the Lunar Lander subgenre
- 2D Shooters, including Spacewar! clones in the first half of the decade, and later Space Invaders (1978) and similar games.
- Tabletop inspired roleplaying games.
- Text adventures (Interactive fiction)
- Edutainment games
The May 4th Massacre
The horrific events of the May 4th massacre by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State University had drastic effects on America, and especially on those present. Several would go on to influence the game industry.
Several students present were moved to form the band DEVO. Band member Mark Mothersbaugh later goes on to work on games such as Crash Bandicoot. Another student, John De Lancie, was less then 20 yards from the shooting, and worked with Senator Young and Ted Kennedy to share his experience with the Senate. John De Lancie would later pursue a career as a prominent actor, which included voice acting for video games.
Game of Life
After development in the 1960's, Conway's Game of Life is published in Scientific American in 1970.
In September 1971 the arcade game Galaxy Game is installed at Tresidder Memorial Union of Stanford University. The game is a Spacewar! clone, designed with multiplayer-only capabilities in mind (it lacks the artificial intelligence for single-player gameplay). Although it ranks as the first known coin-operated video game (running on a modified PDP-11), it was never commercially released; despite this, it can be ran on the popular MAME emulator for modern computers.
In November 1971 the arcade game Computer Space is released by "Syzygy Engineering" (the progenitor of Atari, Inc.) to try to recreate the success of the Computer Quiz game of 1968. The gameplay is reminiscent of Spacewar!, but the game is not to be catalogued as a Spacewar! clone. Few units survive to this day, but the game itself is a popular culture icon among video game fans.
The Oregon Trail
In November of 1971 three student teachers (Bill Heinemann, Don Rawitsch, and Paul Dillenberger) make The Oregon Trail for a UNIVAC computer operated by the Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium and is connected to a number of schools in Minnesota by teletypewriter. The Oregon Trail was made despite challenges posed by limited computer access. The first version of The Oregon Trail had to be made with teletypewriters in mind, so shooting mechanics were based on accurately typing words quickly.
A successor game, Freedom!, attracted controversy.
1971 saw the release of the Intel 4004, Intel's first chip produced on a 10 micron process.
Atari & Pong
In 1972 Nolan Bushnell founds the company Atari, releasing the arcade hit Pong by fall 1972.
Gaming at BGSU
|“||You have just run out of fuel - pray for rescue.||”|
—Moon, "Computer can play golf, blackjack" Nancy Laughlin BG News (Oct 3, 1973)
The Bowling Green State University computer center offers about 250 computer games for students to play freely, including Moon an early game in the Lunar Lander genre.
A programmer working for the educational institution Minnesota Educational Computing Consortium makes Lemonade Stand for their UNIVAC mainframe, which is connected to a number of schools via teletypewriter.Gameplay revolves around simulating a business, balancing prices and costs with demand influenced by external factors like weather.
Lemonade Stand is among the first games that attempts to simulate a business, as well as an early example of an edutainment game.
The OPEC Oil embargo to the United States, Japan, and other nations creates great economic shock and a recession. Hanafuda cardmaker and toy manufacture Nintendo is nearly pushed to financial ruin by the economic effects of the embargo and begins desperately seeking alternate revenue sources, eventually leading them to make home video games.
Dungeons & Dragons
In 1974 the original "White Box" edition of the World-famous Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game is released with it and its derivatives influencing a number of programmers, and through them highly influenced the creation of both Western computer RPGs and Japanese RPG genres.
Video Games on Planes
First Digital Camera
On December 12th, 1975 the first digital photograph is taken by Kodak employee Steven Sasson of subject Joy Marshall. The Camera captures the image using a CCD from Fairchild Semiconductor and then takes 26 seconds to record the result onto an audio tape. Later on gaming devices such as the GameBoy camera and the Xbox Kinect use digital cameras to offer unique gameplay experiences.
Graphic Music Synergy
At ACM SIGGRAPH 1975 in Bowling Green, Ohio a presentation is given on graphics influenced by music, an early example of a relationship that would become common in games with adaptive music.
1976 was an important year for automobiles and racing in video games.
Datsun became the first automaker to license one of it's cars for a arcade game in 1976, later seeing a home console port to the Bally Professional Arcade. Later on, real automobile brands would later proliferate in racing games, adding to realism and immersion, as well as being a powerful marketing tool for the automobile industry.
In 1976 the Death Race arcade game is introduced, prompting media to question the violence featured in the game. The newness of video games meant that some outlets struggled to differentiate the game from a pinball machine or board game. The sensationalism surrounding the game ultimately boosted it's sales.
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