Computer and Video Games Interactive computer and video games were first developed in laboratories as the late-night amusements of computer programmers or independent projects of television engineers. Their formats include computer software; networked, multiplayer games on time-shared systems or servers; arcade consoles; home consoles connected to television sets; and handheld game machines. The first experimental projects grew out of early work in computer graphics, artificial intelligence, television technology, hardware and software interface development, computer-aided education, and microelectronics. Important examples were Willy Higinbotham’s oscilloscope-based ‘‘Tennis for Two’’ at the Brookhaven National Laboratory (1958); ‘‘Spacewar!,’’ by Steve Russell, Alan Kotok, J. Martin Graetz and others at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1962); Ralph Baer’s television-based tennis game for Sanders Associates (1966); several networked games from the PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations) Project at the University of Illinois during the early 1970s; and ‘‘Adventure,’’ by Will Crowther of Bolt, Beranek & Newman (1972), extended by Don Woods at Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (1976). The main lines of development during the 1970s and early 1980s were home video consoles, coin-operated arcade games, and computer software. Spacewar! grew out of the new ‘‘hacker’’ culture of the Tech Model Railroad Club (TMRC) at MIT. Intended as a demonstration program for a new PDP-1 computer donated by Digital Equipment Corporation, Spacewar! allowed players to control spaceships depicted on accurate star maps via the equally new precision cathoderay tube (CRT) display Type-30. They maneuvered their spaceships via novel control boxes to avoid obstacles and fire torpedoes at their opponents. The result was a popular game available on PDP computers distributed to U.S. computer science laboratories in the 1960s and 1970s, such as the University of Utah’s strong program in computer graphics. Nolan Bushnell, a former Utah graduate student and amusement park employee, recognized Spacewar!’s potential as a commercial product. With Ted Dabney, his co-worker at Ampex Corporation in California, he created ‘‘Computer Space’’ (1971) for Nutting Associates; this was a coin-operated version of Spacewar! set in attractive arcade cabinets. Ralph Baer independently pursued the idea of creating video game consoles attached to home television sets. In 1971, he received a U.S. patent for a ‘‘television gaming apparatus,’’ soon followed by acquisition of rights to it by Magnavox and, in 1972, by production of the first home video console, the Magnavox Odyssey. Bushnell and Dabney had by then created a new company, Atari Corporation; joined by Al Alcorn, another Ampex alumnus, Atari shipped Alcorn and Bushnell’s electronic ping-pong game, ‘‘Pong,’’ as an arcade game in November of 1972. Joining forces with the Sears department store chain, Atari released a home version of Pong in 1975. The phenomenal success of Pong stimulated competition leading to improved home and arcade consoles. The equally successful Atari 2600 VCS (video computer system), released in 1977, provided more flexibility and encouraged the separate development of game software distributed on cartridges and the hardware platforms accepting these games, at least in the home market. Activision, founded in 1979 by four former Atari game designers, was the first company exclusively focused on game software. By the late 1970s, ‘‘home computers,’’ single-user general-purpose computers with microprocessors, provided a new platform for electronic entertainment. Apple Computer’s Apple II (1977) and the IBM Personal Computer (1981) featured color graphics, flexible storage capacity, and a variety of input devices. The Atari 800 (1979) and Commodore International’s Commodore 64 (1982) retained cartridge slots for console-style games, but were also capable home computers. Games designed for computers at first resembled arcade and video console titles, but early computer games took advantage of greater flexibility, inspired by complex paper-and-pencil role-playing games such as ‘‘Dungeons and Dragons,’’ boardgames, and Crowther’s ‘‘Adventure.’’ The original Adventure linked Crowther’s experiences as an explorer of Kentucky’s Mammoth and Flint Ridge cave systems to the Tolkien-inspired fantasy world of roleplaying games; written in FORTRAN for the PDP-10 computer, Adventure became the prototype for ‘‘interactive fiction,’’ games featuring scripted story lines revealed as players typed responses to textual information provided by software. The numerous text-only adventures published by Infocom during the 1980s pushed the ‘‘adventure’’ genre further, beginning with the wildly popular ‘‘Zork’’ series. Other games such as the ‘‘King’s Quest’’ series by Sierra On-Line (1983), military simulations and role- playing games published by Strategic Simulations Incorporated (founded in 1979), Richard Garriott’s ‘‘Akalabeth/Ultima’’ series (1979), and the sports and multimedia titles of Electronic Arts (founded in 1982) extended the simulation and storytelling capacity of computerbased games. MUD (multi user dungeon), developed by Roy Trubshaw and C. Richard Bartle at the Univesity of Essex in 1978, combined interactive fiction, role-playing, programming and dialup modem access to a shared computer to build a virtual world on the basis of social interaction as much as structured game play; hundreds of themed multiplayer MUDs, and BBS-based games were written during the 1980s and early 1990s. In the late 1980s, a new generation of video consoles led by the Nintendo Entertainment System (1985) and the Sega Genesis (1989) offered improved graphics and also introduced batterypowered storage cartridges that enabled players to save games in progress. Games such as Shigeru Miyamoto’s ‘‘Super Mario Brothers’’ (1985) and ‘‘The Legend of Zelda’’ (1987) for Nintendo or Square’s ‘‘Final Fantasy’’ series (1987) took advantage of these capabilities to provide deeper game experiences, flexible character building and complex, interactive environments, encouraging comparisons between video games and other narrative media such as cinema. In the 1990s, computer game designers exploited the threedimensional graphics, faster microprocessors, networking, hand-held and wireless game devices, and the Internet to develop new genres for video consoles, personal computers, and networked environments. The most important examples included first-person ‘‘shooters’’—action games in which the environment is seen from the players view—such as id Software’s ‘‘Wolfenstein 3-D’’ (1992), ‘‘Doom’’ (1993) and ‘‘Quake’’ (1996); sports games such as Electronic Arts’ ‘‘Madden Football’’ (1989) based on motion capture systems and artificial intelligence; and massively multiplayer games such as ‘‘Ultima Online’’ (1997) and ‘‘Everquest’’ (1998), combining traits of MUDs and graphical role-playing games to allow thousands of subscribers to create avatars and explore ‘‘persistent’’ virtual worlds.