Video Games have been around since nuclear physicists first decided that blowing people up wasn't the only fun thing to do. Now they're a multi-billion dollar a year business, which is kind of sad if you think about it. So just don't.
The first ever video game was invented on October 15, 1958 by William Higinbotham (and for you naysayers out there, read this before you start talking about the Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device). Higinbotham, being young and bold, decided to become a nuclear physiscist. This is otherwise known in the world of academics as "copping out". Upon finding out that being a nuclear physicist didn't involve just leveling entire cities, he began to think that: "Hey, things are kind of boring around here. I bet I could invent a swell bit of entertaiment! It'll be keen and the bees knees and such". So, in a move that would prove to revolutionize your free time (and your not-so-free time for that matter) he invented Tennis for Two in about 3 weeks.
1958 people could play this shit all day.
It became an immediate hit, and hundreds of people from around the umm... nuclear science place... would come daily just to play his game. Hell, people who didn't know shit about nuclear physics or even science in general would show up just to get a little bit of time with Tennis for Two. Sure, it was rudimentary, and yes, you would probably be bored of it within minutes, but it paved the way for other games. Or at least it would have if somebody had decided to get a patent and sell it. Imagine if we'd been applying hard, throbbing science to video games since the '50's. Just imagine!
Jump forward a couple of years and introduce a few more little known advancements in the world of video games, such as Mouse in a Maze, Spacewar!, and Corndog, and we come to the 70's. This was the time of the Arcade. A time when video games truly became relevant and acceptable as a past time in the U.S. A big part of video games success was, of course, Pong, who's story has been repeated ad nauseum, and doesn't need to be recounted here.
Yup, 2 players. Read about it somewhere else.
In the late 70's came Space Invaders, which was the next really big game to take over Arcades. Immediately following Space Invaders was Asteroids. A game which features a lone vessel making it's way through a dangerous asteroid belt. It's up to the captain and his brother to make it through alive while learning a little something about themselves in the process. I won't give away the ending, but let it be known that the conclusion is quite riveting, in fact a movie is being made about their (retarded) exploits.
In the 80's Pacman was released, which is a video game that psychologists are still trying to uncover the meaning to. There's subtle hints at addiction and phasmophobia (the fear of ghosts) but in the end it's all just one big WTF. A year later saw the release of Donkey Kong, about a giant monkey and a construction worker. It marked the first ever appearance of Donkey Kong (ya think?), Jumpman, and Pauline. Jumpman and Paulin were later to be named Mario and Princess Peach respectively.
Giant monkeys are dicks. Ironic considering he doesn't have one. BaZing!
The rest of the 80's saw a slew of historically significant video games: Mario Bros., Prince of Persia, Metal Gear, Dragon's Lair, Street Fighter, Zelda, Bard's Tale, Dragon Quest, Phantasy Star, and Metroid. Quite a few of these games were released on the NES, the home game console that single handedly saved video games after the great crash of '83. It came with a copy of Super Mario Bros. packed in, a game which is still one of the best selling video games of all time, and that if you've never played will cause you to spend an eternity in at least the 4th circle of hell.
In 1991 Sonic the Hedgehog was released. At the time he managed to rival Mario, which is quite the accomplishment for a blue hedgehog (but then again Mario's success is quite the accomplishment for an Italian plumber). Sonic managed to give the Sega Mega Drive a chance at success though it still came nowhere near the sales numbers of the NES. As of late, Sonic has become a shell of his former glory, relegated to bargain bins and garbage cans.
Some people still like him though...
In 1992 id Software released their first FPS title, Wolfenstien 3D, a game based off of an old side scrolling game. It was the first game to truly rape what made the old game what it was, but in a good way. Like if the rape results in Gandhi or something. Wolfenstien 3D was met with more than moderate success and created a whole new genre that would saturate the market, not because of hardware limitations, but because of the limitations of publishers to stop sucking FPS dick.
That same year saw the invention of a few other genres in gaming. The survival horror game was invented with the creation of Alone in the Dark. Dune II was also released, and while it wasn't truly the first Strategy game, it did pioneer many practices that would be used later in the genre. One notable innovation being the use of the mouse to move and select units.
"Suck it Age of Empires, Command & Conquer and Warcraft" -Sincerely Dune II
Our last bit of 90's trivia, aside from the fact that Arcades pretty much crapped out on us, is that Doom was released in 1993. 6 year after it's release in 1999, two dumbass kids took it upon themselves to give all gamers a bad name. For more information on these cockbites see "Controversy" further on down.
Now on to the really recent shit. First off you've got a new player in the arena with Microsoft deciding to jump in with the Xbox. At the time we had the PS2, Gamecube and even Dreamcast still clinging to life. The Dreamcast failed to make it as a console in the end, so the Xbox just nudged it's way in there on top of their failure.
"Excues me REAMcast. Ha ha, I'm so funny" - Xbox
Each console had their thing. Xbox took up the online arena with Halo at the forefront, while the PS2 was the go to system for RPG's and quality 3rd person action. Gamecube was the family console, thereby making it irrelevant to 90% of the people who play video games. Even it's Mario game was pretty sucky in comparison to what came before, and what followed.
In 2005 Microsoft decided to fuck convention and released the Xbox 360 over a year before everybody else was ready to move one. It was plagued by the issue of the Red Ring of Death due to MS's "Just get it out there, I really don't care anymore" policy on systems. In 2006 Sony released the Playstation 3, a more reliable and full featured console, but their game line-up was fairly shitty comparatively, so nobody really paid it any mind.
The same year, Nintendo released the Wii. It quickly sold out and stayed that way for over a year. It swiftly became the highest selling console of the generation. 3 days after purchase though, it became the least played console. 3 days is the estimated time it takes for the novelty of motion control to wear off, leaving people wondering what the hell they were so excited about.
Oh yeah, there were a couple of handhelds in there too.
Fighting: The only genre on this list that has games that you can win by either mashing buttons randomly or by practicing for weeks at a time. If you pitted a 5 year old against a 30 year old in a game of Tekken, the outcome could be accurately predicted by a coin toss. There are those out there who could and would beat the 5 year old consistently thanks to practice, but once the 5 year old figures out that spamming a single move yields positive results, he would put any so called "professional" in their place.
Action-Adventure: Some people try to make this into two different categories, but why make it even more confusing? Action-Adventure games often require quick reflexes and perfect timing to overcome obstacles. You'll be sent to exotic locales where you will be tasked with killing indigenious animals/ people for profit. Kind of like if Indiana Jones had his own next gen video game. Oh wait... he did. And it sucked ass.
Why must our beloved childhood movies be nonconsensually fornicated with all the time?
First Person Shooter (FPS): It wouldn't be out of line to call FPS's the most prevalent games in the world nowadays. Ever since Halo truly popularized it (yes, I know there were FPS's before, but you have to admit Halo made them absurdly popular again), we can't seem to shake them from our (gun) sights. And for all of you who are bound to say it in the comments section, I agree. Half Life, Half Life 2, System Shock and System Shock 2 are all much better games than Halo.Mmkay?
Modern Warfare, Halo 3, Brother's in Arms, Resistance: Fall of Man, Fallout 3, World at War, Bioshock, Call of Juarez, Crysis, Fear and Fear 2, your mom, Condemened and Condemned 2, Left 4 Dead, Prey, Ghost Recon, Shadowrun, Rainbow Six, need I say more? I hope not because I can't actually remember any more post Halo FPS's off the top of my head.
Role-Playing Games (RPG): The main choice of nerds worldwide. We'll lump MMO's in here too despite the fact that that's kind of an insult to people who just play RPG's. You take control of whatever kind of character you want, as long as it fits into the specific categories provided to you by the developers. Perhaps the most popular MMORPG would beWorld of Warcraft, which we won't go into too much detail about lest everyone becomes depressed.
WoW players come in many shapes and sizes. Mostly bulbous.
Strategy (RTS / TBS): Strategy are the games of the social elite. Strategy game players believe themselves to be better than others because their genre contains the word Strategy. They believe that their games actually take thought and planning, when in reality every one of the top players merely spams a single unit right off the bat to rush their opponent. A working tactic to be true, but also douchebaggery in the highest order. Imagines if an actual douche threw your dog in front of a bus, laughed about it, and then crapped on your lawn and you wouldn't even be close.
Racing: There's many variations of the racing genre, ranging from kart to simulation to arcade. It can be said with little doubt that racing games of the arcade variety are some of the most badass things to ever make their way onto discs. Remember even, this is in a world where you could burn every Steven Seagal movie ever onto one single disc. Games like Burnout manage to put Mario Kart to shame, and racing sim aficionados fall from the same tree that produces the Strategy game elitist, and the tree is made of dicks.
A typical strategy and racing sim player?
Puzzle / Casual: Nowadays puzzle and casual games are relegated to appearances on your dad's, mom's, and grandparent's computers. They pop up every now and again in new iterations, but for the most part they don't stray from the "line up three" or "shoot the ball" categories. Case in point: Bejewled, Zuma, and Peggle are three of the most popular games of ever. Of ever. You can thank your parents and their parents for that. Of course, Peggle's kind of the bomb, and if it wasn't for the Unicorn nobody would have a problem admitting it. Then we also have Plants vs. Zombies, which is flat out awesome in every regard. Plants and Zombies?!? Agriculture and Undead?!? Whoever came up with that idea must have felt just like the guy who invented Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
Music: The music genre popped up most recently, and has slithered its way into society thanks to the likes of Guitar Hero. Soon to follow would be Guitar Hero 2, then 3, then Rockband, then Rockband 2, and Guitar Hero World Tour, The Beatles: Rockband and D.J. Hero. Harmonix and Neversoft are currently milking the franchises for all their worth with no end in sight. If you don't want to look sad while playing, you'll have to shell out money for the whole bands instruments, and you'll need at least 3 friends. Oh, who are we kidding?
You'll look sad either way.
Addiction: The latest in hot button video game issues would be that of video game addiction. It seems like you can't change the channel without seeing Dr. Phil or Oprah asking kids why they play so many video games. Of course, she never asks why so many middle aged housewives do nothing but watch TV all day, but I digress.
Like anything that people find enjoyable, it's possible to do that thing too much. Well actually, it's possible to do that thing too much in someone's point of view. Where you may look at your neighbor who brings home a new hot chick every night as a God, others may see his lifestyle as somehow "detrimental to society". Probably because said person can't get laid.
He's just mad because the chicks don't dig his abnormally large chin.
Ergo, when someone plays video games too much, it makes those who don't play video games all day angry. Out of jealousy of course! This coming from a foremost document on addiction that was stolen by terrorists . There's also those out there who don't want people having too much fun. They feel that video games can take a perfectly good person and turn them into a mindless zombie of sorts. This is true to an extent, but they only become mindless zombies while playing video games, other times they're just like you or me.
Violence: A debate as old as books. Can an external media intended for entertainment cause someone to become violent or change their behavior in any other way? After books (a looong while after books) it was music that was ruining Americas youth, then came cars, then movies, then music again, and now video games.
Damn you knowledge! Damn you straight to HELLLLL!
Of course with dick faced cock bites like Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris appearing in our plane of existence as opposed to the negaverse where they belonged, it's hard for gamers to get a foot in the door of acceptance. Why blame the parents or the obviously troubled youths when you could blame Doom? It's such a simple scapegoat. Disregard the fact there were plenty of 7 year olds who'd played Doom without a side effect in sight. We'll focus on the fact that two kids played it and also decided to mount an assault on a school in tandem.
Another plague on all things video game would be the attorney Jack Thompson. Don't say his name aloud, for if you do he will awaken from his eternal slumber beneath the crotch of the devil. With nary a thought going through his mind, it was only a matter of time before he was disbarred, which in layman's terms means he can't practice law anymore. Of course he should have known better than to send gay porn to a judge, but with morals akin to that of a dead botfly, we can at least understand why he did it.
Also fell from the aforementioned "dick tree".