Video Games Day. Yes, such a day exists and it just so happens to be today: Monday, September 12, 2016. Apparently this has been a thing that has been happening for quite a while.
The history of Video Games Day is really the history of the video game, and that history goes back much farther than most people imagine. The first game ever created is often thought to be Bertie the Brain, an artificial intelligence designed to play Tic-Tac-Toe. Considering that Bertie was a 4 meter high machine built on vacuum tube technology, you can imagine it didn’t get out much. In fact, it was disassembled after the Canadian National Exhibition it was revealed at, and never rebuilt. A year later a computer was built called Nimrod, which was a computer built and displayed at the Festival of Britain in 1951 and designed to play a game called Nim.
From these humble beginnings things continued to build, first with Cabinet style games (those are the ones you put quarters in, kids) which became hugely popular, and then into the first consoles, home based platforms you could play the games on. In the years that followed development of computers and video games just kept growing exponentially, and they now absolutely permeate our culture. What used to be a luxury item for the rich and elite has now become a standard part of most people’s homes, and a diversion that involves all ages.
There was, at one time, a United States National Video Game Team, founded on July 25, 1983, in Ottumwa, Iowa, by Walter Day and the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard. The early games used interactive electronic devices with various display formats. Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann filed the first patent for an interactive electronic device in 1947. It was called the “Cathode ray tube amusement Device”.
Some other early examples include:
- 0X0 – a tic-tac-toe computer game by Alexander S. Douglas for the EDSAC in 1952.
- Tennis For Two – 1958 – An electronic interactive game engineered by William Higinbotham.
- 1961 – Spacewar
A different means of display was used for each game from a panel of lights to a graphical display to an oscilloscope or the DEC PDP-1′s vector display.
- Computer Space, created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, in 1971, was the first commercially sold, coin-operated video game.
- Magnavox Odyssey was the first home console in 1972.
- Atari’s Pong followed with an arcade version in 1972 and a home version in 1975.
“The commercial success of Pong led numerous other companies to develop Pong clones and their own systems, spawning the video game industry.”
So in order to celebrate Video Games Day, The Outerhaven staff came together to talk about our favorite games of all-time and why they are our favorite games!
Sadly, EA and Visceral had to go mess up a good thing with Dead Space 3, but no matter as Dead Space 1 and 2 will always be the GOAT.
Sorry, Dark Souls… you know I still love you though. Right?
Delaila’s top 10 favorite games of all time (in no order): The Last of Us, Uncharted 4, MegaMan X, Bloodborne, Super Mario 64, Overwatch, Dark Souls, Golden Eye, GTA: San Andreas, Skyrim.
When I think of my favorite video game, it’s always one of the hardest decisions. I have so many favorites, that when I have to pick one, it’s sort of agonizing. However, if I was forced to pick one it would be Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Sonic the Hedgehog 2, in my opinion, might be the perfect platformer. Speed traps, innovative level design, mentally intense boss battles. Nothing feels repetitive. If you haven’t played this game, you better get on that.
Everyone remembers their first time, and despite playing since the days of the Atari 2600, the moment I realized just how much I loved and would continue to love video games was the moment Link disobeyed his uncle’s orders and stepped out into the atmospheric 16-bit rain in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. With perfectly restrained and concise storytelling that creates a magical blend of the mythical and personal, Nintendo both conveyed their vision of Hyrule legend and sparked me to fill in the blanks to create my own. This was an adventure I connected with unlike any I had known, with drama and humor and imagery that made me feel I was a part of the fairy tales I had devoured since learning to read. Never before had I felt so compelled to search every nook and cranny, and never before had I felt so rewarded for that exploration. The colorful 16-bit world was alive from that very wet beginning, and I become instantly immersed upon every new save file to this very day. Perfectly paced with freedom in its linearity, packed full of clever puzzles and engaging swordplay, and teeming with the quirky melancholy the series does so well, I once a year return to my favorite game of all time, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, to remind myself what this medium is capable of: inspiration.
Few games allow you to fight monsters alongside a talking wolf-like creature, travel the seas in a damaged airplane, and crossdress all in the confines of a single disc (or three!). Final Fantasy VII strangely managed to fit all of this into a (mostly) coherent story, and then some. The game widely considered to have ushered in mainstream success for the JRPG genre in the West, Final Fantasy VII was the first I’d played in what has become my favorite video game franchise. The complex story, genius Materia system, and overall universe created are things I still think about today. While exciting that a remake of the game is on the way, the original Final Fantasy VII will always hold a special place in my heart.
I don’t know if I have an all-time favorite, because I love a lot of games. But I will tell you one of my all-time favorites.
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door should’ve just been a sequel to a popular N64 game. Instead, Nintendo and Intelligent Systems decided to crank the dial up to 11 and make an amazing experience in every way possible. From story, to characters, to gameplay shines about many titles. Gone is the “typical” Mario experience, and in its place is a deep story featuring new characters, a new land, but familiar Mario charm. I play this game at least once or two a year, and it’s still fun every single time.