Given that online activity now dominates almost every facet of our lives, it is unsurprising that there has been huge progress made in online gaming during the past several decades. Just as we can now go online to purchase goods, talk to friends and find information in a way in which we were unable to even ten years ago, we can now play online in a manner which was also unrecognisable a decade ago.
Things have come a very long way since the first video game, Spacewar in 1962. These early adventure games were not actually video games at all, but were in fact based on text. Descriptions fuelled the imagination to set the scene while commands and instructions gave direction and momentum to the game. It wasnâ€™t really until the 1980s, when Atari released Adventure, that these games began to take on a decidedly visual quality. Limited to crude pixelated graphics, nonetheless the visual environment and the advent of the joystick were a big breakthrough to engaging players. At the same time, increasingly large inbuilt hardware in consoles and PCs meant that games became ever-more complex and advanced.
All of this really gave birth to the process which would see Nintendo develop the revolutionary four-way directional pad with two buttons. Subsequently this would be the basis for all the myriad consoles which would provide huge competition with the likes of Sony and other market leaders. Of course, PCs also became increasingly compatible for game play with mouse and keyboard combinations giving an additional audience access to the wonders of gaming.
The advance in the quality of games over this period of time has been dizzying and you can look at the evolution of almost any genre of game to demonstrate this. Perhaps the clearest development can be seen in rallying and racing games, a classic gaming format. The simulation in todayâ€™s games is so advanced that not only are the effects and sounds incredibly realistic but the graphics make real footage from car racing look almost outdated. Another instructive example to look at is the world of the online casino. This was once simply a question of a basic hand of poker against the dealer, purely for the sake of fun.
Online casinos now routinely include hundreds of different games to fit all tastes, where players can play against multiple opponents for varying amounts of cash. An illustration of how much things have advanced is the development of â€˜liveâ€™ casino gaming. This allows anyone to play at a real, live casino table from the comfort of their own home, thanks to a high-quality stream. In many ways, online casinos have crossed the world of virtual gaming into real life.
It is also interesting to consider the advances of consoles and gaming machines, especially when it comes to hand-held devices. The Nintendo Gameboy was a huge revolution in the 1990s, although the quality of games now seems very basic. Compare this to the plethora of games that we can now play directly on our smart phones and the quality of game play at our disposal. It is perhaps an indicator of where online gaming will move in the future, with the mobile market an increasingly important sector. Expect big advances to continue in the quality of web-based games too, allowing players to enjoy console-quality games through their browser. The days of the console could be numbered, but nobody will ever forget the joys of Nintendo and Sega.