Video games have taken the world by storm since the release of games like Spacewar! (1963) and Pong (1972). Throughout the years, video games have gotten more complex; longer algorithms, better visual graphics, realistic physics, and so forth. Every few years, if not every year, turned into a historic advancement in gaming during the 70s. Pong led to Space Race (1973) which led to Space Wars (1977)
that led to the famous Atari Football (1978) and Asteroids (1979). After the release of hit game Pac-Man (1980), graphics and story-telling started to evolve quickly. Super Mario (1985) and The Legend of Zelda (1986) became world sensations are still have the hearts of millions today as they keep evolving into extraordinary creations. In the 90s, stories, algorithms, and graphics all began to slowly skyrocket, especially as graphics began to dabble less in the 2-dimensional world and more into the third with games such as Crash Bandicoot (1996) and Grand Turismo (1997), which their foundations were laid down by games such as I, Robot (1984), Zarch (1987), and Starfox (1993).
Once the 21st Century hit, the evolution finally skyrocketed as every year brought new steps in games, consoles, and engines. The Grand Theft Auto, Diablo, The Sims, Halo, Call Of Duty, Super Smash, Elder Scrolls, Madden NFL, and Tony Hawk series all leaped forward in the competition releasing innovative simulations each year and never disappointed. World physics, engines, dialogues, AI, graphics, and sound all become revolutionary, especially with games like Elder Scrolls that took a film story aspect, making your own story as you progress through an open world game.
As the future advances, we’ve become consumed with the idea of virtual reality by actually living our games through our own eyes. As gaming evolves, multiple companies such as Valve, Sony, and Google have been investing into VR headsets, gaming suits, physic s, and much more. The long awaited Oculus Rift is coming out this spring in 2017 and it’s projected that the VR industry will be worth over 5 billion this year according to Fortune.
It’s also projected to be worth over 20 billion in the next 5 years. Not only will virtual reality gaming be used for entertainment, but it will be used for military training, education, exercise, and so many more interesting and unique ways. This will expand the industry and allow for more companies to jump in on the bandwagon to roll in the dough.
Some people wonder what happens after virtual, augmented, and perceptual realities. Obviously, our body movements will be replicated, our vision will be keen, but what about our minds? The future of computers and mobile devices predict we will all have chips and wires connected to our brains, so we can think and it will be. This is next in the video game industry: dreamscape reality. We’ll be able to hook ourselves up to a supercomputer and actually live the moment in our minds. We will live out our dreams of being a crusader in the middle ages pillaging and killing anyone in our paths. We will live the life we’ve always wanted by spending thousands of hours acting out a real-life simulator.
Thankfully, this is not the case. Why? One game: Super Meat Boy (2010). Super Meat Boy was an indie game developed and produced by Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes. While indie games have been around since the release of video games, Super Meat Boy paved the path for indie developers to be free of the clutches of major publishers, developers, and retailers after being choked out for more than 20 years. Now games like minimalised, moddable, and customizable games such as Minecraft (2011) have followed suit in creating a new environment of simplicity and going back to the basics. 8-16 bit games like Terraria (2011), The Binding Of Isaac (2011), Hotline Miami (2012), Undertale (2015), Broforce (2015) and Stardew Valley (2016) are becoming more and more popular with millions of users owning and playing them. As the future unfolds, virtual reality will remain too expensive and slowly fade away. New games will not be able to create more realistic graphics because developers already created realistic graphics and humans aren’t able to proceed or comprehend the 4th dimension, therefore after 3-4 years of no upgrades, gamers will become bored. The overwhelming intriguing attraction to simplifications and minimalism the hipsters have incorporated into our society will influence gamers to play modern minimalistic games in 8-16 bit games. As the evolution progressives, we will come back to recreations of styles of Pacman, Astroids, and Pong, because history repeats itself.
Some will call it degeneration, but I call it the future. Pong, we will see you again soon.