Video games have been known to be in existence since the 1960’s and were simulations for research purposes. Video games made it to the commercial market in the 1970’s and have became popular form of entertainment ever since. First generation of gaming consoles emerged in the 1970’s when popular game Pong was released. Followed by coin operated arcade video games, Atari, Intellivision, gaming computers, handhelds and to the now popular Microsoft Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch and very easily available games on mobile phones.
The First Generation
First video games appeared in the 1960’s and were played on massive computers connected to vector display. Ralph H Baer created the first Video game console which popularly came to be known as Brown Box. This was followed by Magnavox Odyssey which could be connected to a television set. This was succeeded by Odyssey 100, Odyssey 200 by Magnavox and Sears by Atari. Most of these consoles were dedicated devices which could play only the games they were released with.
The Second Generation
Second generation of video game consoles saw the rise of popular Atari 2600, Fairchild Video Entertainment System and RCA Studio II. The First generation of handheld video game consoles with interchangeable cartridges also made its way during this period.
Nintendo Entertainment System or NES was released (1983) during this era. It had front loading cartridge similar to a VCR. Mario first made his mark with the NES. The popular video game consoles during this period were NES, Mark III/Master System, Atari 7800. Nintendo also released the Game Boy and Nintendo DS during this time.
The most popular video game consoles during this era were SNES and Sega Genesis. Sega gained a foothold and were successfully competing with Nintendo. Both the companies built a huge list of game library during this period which were exclusive to their consoles.
Nintendo partnered with Sony during this time to create CD add-on technology for SNES which eventually gave birth to PlayStation by Sony when the business deal fell apart. Gameboy dominated the market in the handheld console division with the popular Tetris, Pokémon and Kirby releasing on this.
The Fifth Generation
This generation saw the rise of PlayStation which successfully sold over 100 million units and paved way for several popular developers to take advantage of the console.
from the start as a 3D, disc-based system, and emphasized its 3D graphics that would come to be viewed as the future of gaming. Nintendo released Nintendo 64 with Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and was quite successful.
Sixth generation saw the inception of Xbox along with PlayStation 2, Dreamcast and GameCube. Playstation 2 sold over 155 million units and is the best-selling video console in history. Microsoft realized the power of video game consoles and feared with growing capabilities they may take over more than the living room. It was the first console to employ a hard drive right out of the box to save games, the first to include an Ethernet port for broadband internet, and the beginning of Microsoft’s online Xbox LIVE service.
Nintendo maintained a dominant share of handheld market in this generation with the release of Game Boy Advance. This era also saw the slow rise of mobile phone being used as game console with Nokia N-Gage.
The Seventh Generation
The features introduced in this generation include the support of new disc formats: Blu-ray Disc, utilized by the PlayStation 3, and HD DVD supported by the Xbox 360. Another new technology is the use of motion as input, and IR tracking (as implemented on the Wii). Also, all seventh generation consoles support wireless controllers. This generation also introduces the Nintendo DS, and the Nintendo DSi, which add touch screens and cameras to portable gaming. Nintendo Wii was released in 2006 and was very successful with the audience selling over a 100 million units. Nintendo DS and PlayStation Portable were the most popular handheld video game consoles during this period.
The Eighth Generation
Aside from the usual hardware enhancements, consoles of the eighth generation focus on further integration with other media and increased connectivity. The 3DS introduced autostereoscopic 3D on consoles.
The Wii U introduced a controller/tablet hybrid whose features include the possibility of augmented reality in gaming. The PlayStation 4 is Sony’s eighth generation console, featuring a “share” button to stream video game content between devices.
Nintendo released the Nintendo Switch, a ‘hybrid’ console consisting of a tablet with controller attachments that can be used as a mobile device or connected to a television via a dock. There has been an increased competition in this generation when it comes to video games thanks to iOS and Android who are the major players in the current smartphone market. There are standalone gaming devices/micro-consoles which are being worked upon as well like GamePop, OUYA, GameStick, NVIDIA Shield and Steam machines.
Video games have various genres which are classified by gameplay. Few of the popular genres include but are not limited to Action, Role Playing Games (RPG), Dungeon crawlers, Real Time Strategy (RTS), Rogue-like, Hack N Slash and more. Each one of them are again sub-classified depending on specifics of the genre. For example Action genre can be sub classified into platform, shooter, fighting, stealth, survival.