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A New Era of Gaming This Book's Mission A Bit About Game Design Show Me the Money: Micro Game Business Models Summary
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Ah, games Games have almost a religious, ritual aspect to them They allow people to enter together into a higher state of being, pushing skills to new limits and experiences to new heights They allow ordinary people to experience extraordinary emotions the emotions of the warrior, the king, the spy, and the lover while remaining protected in a safe environment Now all this might sound like a bit of a heavy-handed way to describe Frogger, but it's fair to say that games transport us and amuse us in ways that no other form of entertainment can
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A Brief History of Games
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Games have been with humanity since the beginning A 5000-year-old Mancala-like game board, carved from stone, was recently unearthed in the Sahara The game of Go, popular in Oriental countries, has reportedly been around since 2000 BC Backgammon-like games such as Tabula and Nard are talked about in ancient Roman scripts, and even in the Bible And Tarot decks, initially used to help predict the future, evolved into today's Bicycle playing cards A decade or two ago, the only games that people spent much time with were professional sports, board games like Monopoly and Chess, paper and dice games such as Dungeons and Dragons, and card games like Poker or Hearts Some games were for heavy money, some were bone-jarringly competitive, but most were just about good clean fun With the advent of computers, games entered a new era Games became one of the main reasons many people brought these strange beige boxes called computers into their homes Whether battling through a simple graphical tennis game such as Pong, or a rich, text-only world such as Zork, these were wholly new types of games that could be played anytime against a most formidable opponent: a game designer who had programmed your computer, long ago, showing it how to defeat you The arcade wave of the '70s and '80s, led by hits such as Pac-Man, captured the hearts and ate the quarters of millions of youths Console systems such as the Magnavox Odyssey, the Atari 2600, Mattel Intellivision, and ColecoVision brought the fun of the arcade to the players' own living rooms Then, in 1985, a box known as the Nintendo Entertainment System blew people away with stunning graphics and intricate gameworlds, typified by such hits as Super Mario Brothers
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Computer gaming entered a whole new stratum of mass popularity and acceptance with bestsellers such as Doom, followed by Quake, and later Tomb Raider Clearly, ultra-realistic 3D worlds were a hit The more a game made a player feel as if she were actually inside another reality, the better Graphics became richer and richer as 3D cards and engines doubled in speed and performance with each passing year Super Nintendo gave way to the Sony PlayStation, and currently the Nintendo GameCube faces off against the PlayStation 2, not to mention Microsoft's daunting new Xbox
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Multiplayer Mania
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A funny thing happened on the way to virtual reality-ville In the late '90s and early 2000s, with games like Ultima Online, Everquest, and Age of Empires II, not to mention the spread of casual game Web sites such as Pogo, Yahoo Games, and Microsoft's MSN Gaming Zone, it became clear that what mattered to a whole slew of gamers wasn't only the richness of graphics or the detail of blood and gore but the presence of other, real people Multiplayer gaming, long popular with the geek crowd, had entered the mainstream In a way, games had come full circle Once again, games were serving a social purpose, becoming a way for two or more people to enter new worlds and test new skills together, relating to each other in entirely new ways
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