Nov 11, 2011


How have video games influenced modern society?


Although video games really did not get their start until the late 1960s, the idea for them first came about in 1951 by Ralph Baer, an engineer. He was given an assignment to make a television set, but wanted to add some type of game to that television. Unfortunately for him, his idea was dismissed by his managers. 

Ralph Baer, the "Father of Video Games" (image courtesy of
The following year, A.S. Douglas created the first documented computer game, Noughts and Crosses. The game was a computerized version of tic-tac-toe and ran on a big computer called the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator.
Noughts and Crosses on paper (image courtesy of

In 1954 Former US Korean War Veteran David Rosen saw that there was a future in coin-operated game machines and created Service Games that would export games to Japan. However in the 1960s, Rosen started creating his own games and decided to purchase a Tokyo jukebox and slot-machine company. The company became the now know SEGA, which was the shorten name for Rosen’s company.

The SEGA logo with one of its most beloved characters, Sonic the Hedgehog
(image courtesy of

SEGA founder and CEO, David Rosen
(image courtesy of
William A. Higginbotham, one of the engineers that helped to build the first atom bomb, was the first American to invent an interactive computer game called Tennis for Two. The game’s original purpose was to keep visitors of the Brookhaven National Laboratories, located in New York, entertained. The game was displayed on an oscilloscope.

  Tennis for Two (image courtesy of

Baer resurfaced back on the scene in the late 1960s. He restarted the invention of his original idea from 1949. The defense contractor he worked for at the time, Sanders Associates, gave him the go for the idea and the latitude needed to create it. In 1967, Baer and his team successfully created an interactive game that was capable of being played on a television screen. They developed a chase game and a follow-up tennis game. In addition, they also modified a toy gun so it can recognize spots of light on the screen.

In 1971, Nutting Associates created the first arcade video game. At the time, the general public found it too difficult to play. The following year, Magnavox manufactured The Odyssey, the TV game system that they had bought and licensed from Baer in 1970. The game system is later release and is the first home video game. That same year, Nolan Bushnell leaves Nutting and created Atari, a term from the Japanese game Go.

As time has gone on, video games went on to do more than just shoot enemy ships and play tennis. Video games now let people be guitarists, a solider, or a magical creature. In 2006, the world was introduced to the first, completely wireless and motion sensitive controller game console, the Wii. The console does not limit the players to only sit and play games, but to be a part of them.  Video games are even so much a part of a lot of people's lives that the term "gaming" has become part of everyday language.