by Adam Casey

At the same time, its turnover today significantly exceeds them combined, and the number of players in the world is several billion. Compared to the music and film industry, the video game or the best progressive jackpot slots industry is much younger.

It is not possible to say exactly when the very first games appeared. Even the familiar chess is about one and a half thousand years old, not to mention other, more ancient “analog” representatives. In our case, when it comes specifically to video games, 1947 is considered to be the moment the first video game appeared.

Then Thomas Goldsmith and Estle Ray Mann filed a patent for an entertainment device with a cathode ray tube and buttons. Simple input devices allowed you to control the scope and shoot down aircraft, which were displayed on a small black and white screen. Despite its forward-thinking idea of ​​turning a home TV into something more, Dumont, a two-person company, was never able to turn a simple electronic circuit into a commercial product. And, since we started with the example of chess.

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All in the same year, Alan Turing writes a program for playing chess. Computers of the time spanned over 60m² and cost half a million dollars, but were still unable to run complex games. Turing was able to write an algorithm for the game, but was forced to respond to each of his own moves by calculating the algorithm of the program on his own.

From 1951 to 1961, for the most part, within the walls of US universities, such games as Nim, Tennis for Two, Mouse in the Maze, Tic-Tac-Toe and Spacewar! were released by students. If the first of these can hardly be classified as a video game in the modern sense (as such, the screen was not used in it), then the latter should be looked at especially closely – after all, Spacewar! was able to become the game that was able to generate a massive interest in video games, which no one has ever managed to do before.

In the 1960s, MIT student Steve Russell wrote a simple duel between spaceships as an experiment. The player had access to control the speed, direction, as well as the ability to attack the opponent with torpedoes. The $120,000 PDP-1 computer was already close to modern computers—in any case, despite its impressive size, it already had an oscilloscope display screen and a keyboard.

Magnavox Odyssey, designed by Ralph Baer, ​​appeared on store shelves in 1972, but the prerequisites for its appearance were as early as 1951. Baer was then an engineer at Loral and as early as 1966, when he was head of process design at Sanders Associates, a military development company. Together with colleagues Bill Harrison and Bill Rush, in 1967, Baer presents a device to his superiors with several games, one of which uses a plastic target gun.

Duck Hunt, which will forever be remembered by our generation of the ’90s, is almost certainly due to the development of Baer, ​​although it will appear much later. At the same time, a device called Brown Box was almost completed, but Sanders Associates did not have the opportunity to sell the devices on its own, attempts to sell the rights were unsuccessful, and the device was pushed into the box for an indefinite time – exactly until Baer had the idea to start negotiating with TV manufacturers.

The fall of the Western gaming industry

Another turning point for the industry, which happens in the same year as the Magnavox Odyssey, is the founding of Atari by Nolan Bushnell.

On the wave of success, Atari also made its home analogue for the Atari Home Pong game – a kind of version of the compact machine for the home. It got to the point that Magnavox was going to sue Atari for infringing its patents, although sales of its own Odyssey rose to 200,000 copies, not without the popularity of Pong.

The companies managed to agree on the condition of a one-time payment to Magnavox from Atari in the amount of 700 thousand dollars. To grab more distributors, Bushnell splits Atari into two ostensibly independent companies, Atari and Kee Games.

The video game industry is starting to make $5 billion a year

“You are not supposed to be here” or “You are not supposed to be here” is probably in the minds of many lone developers who at the time were making a fortune in the release of video games. In fact, this is an Easter egg that eminent level designer Richard Gray (aka Levelord) will introduce into Duke Nukem 3D as early as 1996. Many mistakenly consider it the first “Easter egg”, i.e. a secret from the developers that appeared in video games, however, this is not the case.

The most popular version paid homage in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, the first Easter egg was hidden in the computer game Adventure. It was released in 1979 by Atari, and since at that time Atari, like many other game companies, were reluctant to name game developers in order to avoid competition, programmer Warren Robinett hid the mention of himself inside the game.

To get into the room with the name of the developer, it was necessary to find an invisible point in one of the parts of the labyrinth and move it to the other end of the level.