Game Development Reference
was initially released on machines that were only available in arcades, soon
there were versions available for people to play on their own television sets
and the home video game industry was born.
Space Invaders and Asteroids followed a few years later, once more starting
in the arcades, but again soon making the transition to the home. With the
introduction of high-score tables with these games, players were now
presented with a clear objective - to get on the leader board - something
which often fuelled an almost addictive obsession with these games.
A change of emphasis came in 1980 when Activision was formed as the
world's first third-party developer and gave their games' individual developers
the credit they deserved by printing their names on the packaging. This
paved the way for much of the industry as we see it today.
In the same year Pac-Man was released and became the first video game
with cross-gender appeal. Suddenly women were also playing video games,
but this market was something the industry struggled to expand and fully
realise the potential it offered. Even today we have an industry that is primarily
dominated by tastes of the male player, though some degree of balance has
The 1980s saw an expansion of gaming through the release of a number
of game consoles and the introduction of affordable home computers. The
latter introduced a new concept, that of individuals creating their own games
from their homes - suddenly anyone who took the time to learn the coding
skills had the opportunity to be a gaming entrepreneur. Many of those
original bedroom coders went on to greater things within the industry and
are regarded by their peers with great respect.
As the 1980s moved into the 1990s, home computers became more
commonplace and the quality of gaming improved substantially. Increasingly
sophisticated stories could be told and the quality of the graphics improved
fantastically. Then, in 1995, Sony released the Playstation and the game
market has never been the same again - here was a home video game console
that offered superb-quality graphics and gameplay without the need to own
a more expensive home computer. Suddenly people who had not previously
played games were being drawn into doing so for the first time. Games began
to break into the wider public awareness in a way that established them as an
entertainment medium to be taken seriously.
The writer's role as a specialist is a relatively recent occurrence in gaming
history. Though writing and storytelling appears in games from the early
1980s, it was actually done by the programmer or the designer who put the