The Times on Games

Stealthy? 1995? Please. 100% of teenagers play games today (those who don’t are
a rounding error)–but I doubt the percentage in, say, 1990, during the
SNES/Genesis era, was all that different. And the game industry first made the
claim that it was bigger than the movies in 1980 or 81, if I remember
correctly–albeit revenues then were largely from the arcade cash-drop, not
software sales. The point being that games have been hugely important to our
culture–particularly youth culture–for two decades or more. If you want to
find the point at which sea-change began, you sure don’t start with 1995. You
can make an argument for 1972 (when both Bushnell’s Pong and Ralph Baer’s
Magnavox Odyssey appeared); 1962 (Steve Rusell’s Space War); 1958 (Willy
Higginbotham’s Tennis for Two, and also Charles Roberts’s Tactics); 1913 (H.G.
Wells’s Little
Wars
); 1861 (Milton Bradley’s The Checkered Game of Life); or 1780 (The
King’s Game, by Helwig, Master of Pages to the Duke of Brunswick). 1972 is the
traditional date, although I’d argue that you can’t understand the digital games
revolution without understanding the wargaming, miniature, and kriegspiel
traditions that predate it–not to mention classic arcade amusements, of course. —Grek CostikyanThe Times on Games (Games * Design * Art * Culture)