Charting the Spectacular Evolution of Online Gaming

Did you know that humans used to indulge in gaming before even Christ came into the picture? Gaming, of any kind, is an ancient tradition that has been practiced since pre-historic times. Oh yeah, even our earliest ancestors used to get bored with their routine lives.

Photo Credit: / B S K

Even the otherwise bloodthirsty vikings engrossed themselves in harmless board games like hnefatafl. They were so addicted to this particular board game that they spread it wherever they went, including the Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Iceland. While the antediluvian games involved stones and bones, the recent ones call for structured equipment and/or electricity. Computer gaming comprises a major part of the latter.  While video games may be far from extinct, online gaming is all the rage right now, especially with the advancement of playing without having to create an account.

The history of computer gaming is like watching the quick changes in landscape while looking out of the window in a bullet train. So much has has happened in such a short time! Can you believe that it has just been over six decades since the first commercial computer entered the market?

Today, we have personalized desktops and hand-held mobile phones that do almost everything that a PC can. While video games may be far from extinct, online gaming is all the rage right now. There are at least 9 out of 10 people with a computer or a smartphone who indulge in online gaming. Compare this ratio with that in the 70s when the first multiplayer networked games were developed - only those privileged enough could play, and there weren’t many.

It is a wonder that it took the developers 20 years to establish a gambling base over the internet, especially when you take into account the massive number of people that indulged in gambling back then. Regardless, in 1994, some of the first virtual casinos came into being, and we should be thankful for that, eh! Many card games such as Black Jack, poker, roulette are now all in the realm of computers and the internet. Let us take a look at the online gaming evolution over the years.

 l  The First Multiplayer Games: Games were built into the earliest commercial and personal computers, but they were primarily single-player ones. But player against the AI gradually wore out, and it eventually gave rise to the multiplayer-games revolution. The earliest known multiplayer game was Tennis for Two which was launched in 1958. It was later followed by several other multiplayer games, but they mainly involved two players sitting on the same system. The very first multiplayer game, in the literal sense of the word, was developed in 1962, called Spacewar! It was brought to life by Steve Russell, and enhanced by many of his colleagues over the following few years.

l  The First Online Multiplayer Games: The earliest known online multiplayer games, stressing on the word ‘Multi’, weren’t developed until the mid-70s. Maze War, created by a host of genius developers like Steve Colley and Greg Thompson in 1974, was the first online multiplayer game. Incidentally, it also inspired the eventual birth of first-person shooters. Games like CAVE and STAR were developed by Christopher Caldwell in the year 1975, for use on the ‘DECsystem-1090’ at the University of New Hampshire. Other MMOs like Adventure and Zork followed suit.

l  The First Virtual Gambling Dens: It was not until the year 1994 that the very first online casinos saw the light of day, thanks to the sovereign government of Antigua and Barbuda which passed the ‘Free Trade and Processing Act’ that year. There had been many developers who had tried and failed at creating a working gambling platform. Microgaming is widely famous for developing the first online gambling software which actually worked! Two years later, online gambling licenses were distributed to potential companies throughout the world. But it took the avid punters a few more years to get accustomed to the concept of online gambling and make it glamorously popular throughout the world.

Today, gaming of any kind is best enjoyed over the internet. While at times it may be quite fun to play against the AI, we tend to resort back to online gaming once we have completed all the single-player missions. That is the strength of the hold that online gaming has over those initiated into this fascinating reality of the virtual world!


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