The invention of video games can be traced back to the end of the 50s, when William Higinbotham created what many believe to be the very first video game, Pong.
Pong is a bare-bones, simple tennis game, which shows a horizontal line (representing the tennis field) and a ball being passed from one side to the other.
The game was a massive hit at science conventions at the time, and more than ten years later, in the 70s, a remake would be produced, which is the Pong game most people are probably familiar with.
Nintendo Changed Everything
For a long time, video games weren’t much more than games like Pong, Tetris, etc. That all changed in the early 80s, when a Japanese company first released, what soon became a major revolution in the world of gaming. The Nintendo Entertainment System took the world by storm, and soon, households around the world had their very own gaming console. The popularity of gaming was already growing rapidly, however, there was still room for growth. And this is where the Mario Brothers jump in.
Two years after the release of the NES, the company released one of their most successful games (and now series) to date. The Mario Bros game cartridge was mandatory for all Nintendo players. At the time of release, the game sold $2 million dollars, a record for its time. Today, cartridges of the game are considered collectors’ items, and sell for millions of dollars. All this to say, it did not take long for video games to become a major part of popular culture.
While the Nintendo was popular in its time, it was still considered little more than a children’s toy in the mainstream. Not to say that adults didn’t play, but more so that they wouldn’t admit it in public. Today, that has completely changed. The video game industry is worth billions of dollars, and some of the biggest games are put on the same pedestal as big-budget blockbusters.
Think, for example, about the high expectation that Cyberpunk 2077 brought with its release. To many, it is weirder to say that you don’t play video games at all, than it is to say you are a gamer. In other words, games have become an everyday part of most (if not all) people’s lives.
Mobile Gaming is Hugely Popular Today
It may not seem like it, but most people in 2024 play, have player, or will play a video game at some point. This isn’t to say that most are waiting with bated breath for the release of the latest Call of Duty or Elder Scrolls game. But think about how many people play Candy Crush, and other similar mobile games.
Mobile gaming is becoming more and more popular, even among people who you would never think have picked up a game in their life. In a similar vein, online casinos like gamblerspro.com are taking the internet by storm, becoming more and more popular. While it may not seem like, players of online casino games could be considered gamers too, and it seems that there is a lot of crossovers between gamers and online casino players in the first place.
It isn’t just mobile games that see a lot of casual play. Life simulator games, most popular among which is the Sims franchise, also have a lot of non-gamers flock to them. People of all ages, from kids, to teens, to adults, play the latest Sims game, albeit for different reasons, and many, in fact, have stated that, they use the Sims to plan out their future apartment’s interior.
Competitive Gaming is on the Rise
The huge surge in popularity the popularity of video games has given rise to another phenomenon in the gaming world. Competitive gaming, or eSports, is more popular today, than ever before. Grassroots gaming competitions have been around since the days of the arcades, truly becoming popular in the Street Fighter II era. However, even the Street Fighters II tournaments of the time could not compare to the popularity eSports enjoy today.
Much more than just competitive video games, eSports is a full-blown sport, comparable to the likes of football, basketball, etc. Professional gamers spend years honing their skills, preparing to take their teams to prestigious gaming tournaments, such as the International 10, the Worlds, etc. For this, they are hugely compensated, and many have made a career out of being professional gamers, or video game streamers.
In the gaming world, the most popular eSports games tend to be massively-multiplayers online battle arenas like Defense of the Ancients 2 (DOTA 2) and League of Legends (LoL), Battle Royale games like Fortnite, and first-person shooter games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS: GO) and Overwatch. Not only do this game see heavy play in the eSports world, but the matches are also watched by millions of people from around the globe.
Celebrities Have Embraced Gaming
Naturally, when something becomes popular, Hollywood wants a piece of the pie. Not only have countless video game films been produced (some bad, some so bad, they’re good), but many celebrities have hopped on board the video game bandwagon and have begun to do let’s plays. Jack Black, for example, has a YouTube channel where he plays some of the most popular video games on the market. Jack has said, on numerous occasions, that he has been a long-time gamer, and he is not alone.
Daniel Craig has given praise for franchises like Halo, Mila Kunis and Henry Cavill have both played World of Warcraft, Zac Efron claims to have been a long-time fan of both video games and comic books, and Brie Larson, not only revealed her love for gaming in 2020, but showed her Nintendo Switch to the interviewer and the fans watching.
Video games have come a long way since the 80s. It isn’t just that they’ve grown in popularity, but they have also grown in broad appeal, so that adults can now enjoy the hobby that was once considered “for kids only”.