In 1958, one of the first video games — called "Tennis for Two" — was created using an oscilloscope (a device normally used to view electrical signals). Special paddle inputs were built to play the game.
Up until the 1970s, computers were expensive, large-scale machines used primarily by governments, universities, and corporations — so very few people actually played any early computer games.
Then in the 1970s, the development of microprocessor chips allowed computers to become much smaller, less expensive, and easier to manufacture. As a result, coin-operated video arcade games (such as Pong, etc.) were introduced into amusement arcades, restaurants, and other public places — quickly becoming a popular form of entertainment. Soon after, the first personal computers (such as the Apple II, etc.) and gaming consoles (such as the Atari 2600, etc.) became available to consumers, finally bringing video games into people's homes — and starting an obsession that continues today.
Space Invaders was introduced as a video arcade game in 1978, quickly becoming extremely popular. In 1980, the first licensed home version (shown above) was made for the Atari 2600 gaming console, which quadrupled sales of the Atari — and made Space Invaders the first "killer app" for gaming consoles. Official versions and unofficial clones of the game were created for nearly every computer and gaming console in the early 1980s.
According to the 2017 video game industry report by the Entertainment Software Association, 65% of U.S. households have at least one person that plays video games regularly, and almost half of households have a dedicated gaming console. U.S. video game players are more diverse in terms of age and gender than you might think. The average video game player is 35 years old, and over 40% of players are female.
In 2016, U.S. consumers spent over $24 billion just on video game content. In fact, over 65,000 U.S. employees work for video game companies, earning an average of $97,000 per year.
Clearly, many people love to play video games. What is it about these games that people love so much? What makes certain games appealing to us but not others?
Could you create a video game that people would want to play?