While video games are ubiquitous in Western culture today, few are aware that the popular form of entertainment traces its history all the way back to 1947. The earliest form of a video game was patented as an entertainment device using cathode ray tube beams to simulate missile fire at aircraft printed on a screen overlay. According to the patent application, players could turn knobs on the device to aim the beam and press a button to fire it. The screen was mounted in a cabinet, making the bulky game large and not viable for personal use.
During the 1950s and 1960s, mainframe computer programmers developed video games as side projects. None of the games saw commercial introduction. In 1961, developers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology created a game called Spacewar! on the DEC PDP-1 computer. The game enjoyed widespread popularity and was the precursor to many computer games coming after it, including arcade games such as Galaxy Game and Space Wars.
In the 1970s, developers were able to create arcade video games that offered players something different than pinball. The Galaxy Game was installed in Stanford University’s student union, and it served as the first coin-operated video game. Another offshoot of Spaceware!, Computer Space, became the first mass-produced coin-operated video game. The company that created it, Nutting Associates, produced 1,500 units for commercial sale.
When Atari, Inc., released Pong in 1972, they first manufactured it for use in computer arcades. With the success of the arcade units, Atari created the home console version in 1974 and began selling it to great success in 1975. Many manufacturers followed suit, flooding the market with games similar in style and play to Pong.
By the late 1970s, a new generation of console games were on the market, using interchangeable cartridges containing arcade-style games like Space Invaders. This led to the expansion of both gaming arcades and home use. The early 1980s brought an array of new styles of video games, due in large part to the growing use of personal computers in homes. During the 1980s, players could participate in action adventure games like The Legend of Zelda, maze games like Pac-Man, simulator games such as Battlezone, and many others.
From these earliest forms of electronic entertainment, video games have evolved into graphically rich, complex experiences that can be played on consoles, cell phones, handheld devices, computers, the Internet, and in arcades. In 2010, the video game industry earned $10.5 billion in revenue.
About the author: Anthony Sages is an executive with AXA Financial, Inc., in New York City. While he participates in many active pursuits such as extreme skiing and marathon running, he also enjoys the simple pleasures of a great video game.
In my current position As Chief Sales Officer and Divisional President of AXA Advisors, LLC, I head a staff of 7,000 financial professionals, 70 branch managers, and 2 divisional presidents. Prior to my career in the financial services industry I attended The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) on a football scholarship, earning a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. Two years later, I completed a Master of Business Administration at the same institution.
Founded in 1886 as the private Chattanooga University, UTC has been a part of the University of Tennessee System since its 1969 merger with Chattanooga City College. Today UTC, alongside UT Knoxville and UT Martin, is one of three core institutions comprising the state university system. UTC’s total student enrollment is nearly 11,000 and it fields several teams in the highly competitive Southern NCAA Division I Conference. UTC offers nearly 150 undergraduate majors and concentrations, with highly regarded programs including business, chemistry, accounting, engineering, and English.
UTC also offers pre-professional programs in medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine. The UTC College of Business undergraduate business program is highly respected and prominent on the BusinessWeek list of top 100 business schools. One of the distinguishing features of the program is the closeness faculty maintain with students, providing one-on-one counseling that guides them into productive career pathways. The rigorous instruction and practical advice I received from UTC faculty certainly helped me chart a successful career path after college.
An aspect of the UTC business program I admire is its closeness to the Chattanooga business community, enhanced through association with PLUGDIN. Operated by the River City Company in partnership with the Young Professionals Association of Chattanooga, PLUGDIN affords some 20 UTC business students unique opportunities of participating in business networking events, forging ties with some of the area’s most prominent companies. To learn more about UTC and the College of Business, visit www.utc.edu