Since the s, video games have become an increasingly important part of the entertainment industry , and whether they are also a form of art is a matter of dispute. The electronic systems used to play video games are called platforms.
Video games are developed and released for one or several platforms and may not be available on others. Specialized platforms such as arcade games , which present the game in a large, typically coin-operated chassis, were common in the s in video arcades , but declined in popularity as other, more affordable platforms became available. These include dedicated devices such as video game consoles , as well as general-purpose computers like a laptop , desktop or handheld computing devices. The input device used for games, the game controller , varies across platforms.
Common controllers include gamepads , joysticks , mouse devices , keyboards , the touchscreens of mobile devices , or even a person's body, using a Kinect sensor. Players view the game on a display device such as a television or computer monitor or sometimes on virtual reality head-mounted display goggles. There are often game sound effects , music and voice actor lines which come from loudspeakers or headphones.
Some games in the s include haptic , vibration-creating effects, force feedback peripherals and virtual reality headsets. Since the s, the commercial importance of the video game industry has been increasing. The emerging Asian markets and mobile games on smartphones in particular are driving the growth of the industry. Early games used interactive electronic devices with various display formats. The earliest example is from —a " Cathode ray tube Amusement Device" was filed for a patent on 25 January , by Thomas T.
Goldsmith Jr. Patent Each game used different means of display: NIMROD used a panel of lights to play the game of Nim ,  OXO used a graphical display to play tic-tac-toe  Tennis for Two used an oscilloscope to display a side view of a tennis court,  and Spacewar! In , Computer Space , created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney , was the first commercially sold, coin-operated video game. It used a black-and-white television for its display, and the computer system was made of 74 series TTL chips.
Computer Space was followed in by the Magnavox Odyssey , the first home console. Modeled after a late s prototype console developed by Ralph H. Baer called the "Brown Box", it also used a standard television. A flood of Pong clones eventually led to the video game crash of , which came to an end with the mainstream success of Taito 's shooter game Space Invaders ,  marking the beginning of the golden age of arcade video games and inspiring dozens of manufacturers to enter the market. A number of video game developers emerged in Britain in the late s and early s.
The term "platform" refers to the specific combination of electronic components or computer hardware which, in conjunction with software, allows a video game to operate. The distinctions below are not always clear and there may be games that bridge one or more platforms.
In common use a " PC game " refers to a form of media that involves a player interacting with a personal computer connected to a video monitor. Also, the openness allows some features to developers like reduced software cost,  increased flexibility, increased innovation, emulation, creation of modifications " mods " , open hosting for online gaming in which a person plays a video game with people who are in a different household and others.
A Gaming computer is a PC or laptop intended specifically for gaming. A " console game " is played on a specialized electronic device " home video game console " that connects to a common television set or composite video monitor , unlike PCs , which can run all sorts of computer programs, a console is a dedicated video game platform manufactured by a specific company. Usually consoles only run games developed for it, or games from other platform made by the same company, but never games developed by its direct competitor, even if the same game is available on different platforms.
It often comes with a specific game controller. Major console platforms include Xbox , PlayStation , and Nintendo. A " handheld " gaming device is a small, self-contained electronic device that is portable and can be held in a user's hands. It features the console, a small screen, speakers and buttons, joystick or other game controllers in a single unit. Like consoles, handhelds are dedicated platforms, and share almost the same characteristics.
Handheld hardware usually is less powerful than PC or console hardware. Some handheld games from the late s and early s could only play one game. In the s and s, a number of handheld games used cartridges, which enabled them to be used to play many different games.
Arcade games often have brightly painted logos and images relating to the theme of the game. While most arcade games are housed in a vertical cabinet, which the user typically stands in front of to play, some arcade games use a tabletop approach, in which the display screen is housed in a table-style cabinet with a see-through table top. With table-top games, the users typically sit to play.
In the s and s, some arcade games offered players a choice of multiple games. In the s, video arcades were businesses in which game players could use a number of arcade video games. In the s, there are far fewer video arcades, but some movie theaters and family entertainment centers still have them. The web browser has also established itself as platform in its own right in the s, while providing a cross-platform environment for video games designed to be played on a wide spectrum of platforms.
In turn, this has generated new terms to qualify classes of web browser-based games. These games may be identified based on the website that they appear, such as with " Miniclip " games. Others are named based on the programming platform used to develop them, such as Java and Flash games. With the advent of standard operating systems for mobile devices such as iOS and Android and devices with greater hardware performance, mobile gaming has become a significant platform. These games may utilize unique features of mobile devices that are not necessary present on other platforms, such as global positing information and camera devices to support augmented reality gameplay.
Mobile games also led into the development of microtransactions as a valid revenue model for casual games. Virtual reality VR games generally require players to use a special head-mounted unit that provides stereoscopic screens and motion tracking to immerse a player within virtual environment that responds to their head movements.
Some VR systems include control units for the player's hands as to provide a direct way to interact with the virtual world. VR systems generally require a separate computer, console, or other processing device that couples with the head-mounted unit. A new platform of video games emerged in late in which users could take ownership of game assets digital assets using Blockchain technologies. A video game, like most other forms of media, may be categorized into genres. Video game genres are used to categorize video games based on their gameplay interaction rather than visual or narrative differences.
For example, a shooter game is still a shooter game, regardless of whether it takes place in a fantasy world or in outer space. Because genres are dependent on content for definition, genres have changed and evolved as newer styles of video games have come into existence. Ever advancing technology and production values related to video game development have fostered more lifelike and complex games which have in turn introduced or enhanced genre possibilities e.
Casual games derive their name from their ease of accessibility, simple to understand gameplay and quick to grasp rule sets. Additionally, casual games frequently support the ability to jump in and out of play on demand. Casual games as a format existed long before the term was coined and include video games such as Solitaire or Minesweeper which can commonly be found pre-installed with many versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system.
Examples of genres within this category are match three , hidden object , time management , puzzle or many of the tower defense style games. Casual games are generally available through app stores and online retailers such as PopCap and GameHouse or provided for free play through web portals such as Newgrounds. While casual games are most commonly played on personal computers, phones or tablets, they can also be found on many of the on-line console system download services e.
Serious games are games that are designed primarily to convey information or a learning experience to the player. Some serious games may even fail to qualify as a video game in the traditional sense of the term. Educational software does not typically fall under this category e. As with the other categories, this description is more of a guideline than a rule.
Serious games are games generally made for reasons beyond simple entertainment and as with the core and casual games may include works from any given genre, although some such as exercise games , educational games , or propaganda games may have a higher representation in this group due to their subject matter.
These games are typically designed to be played by professionals as part of a specific job or for skill set improvement. They can also be created to convey social-political awareness on a specific subject.
One of the longest-running serious games franchises is Microsoft Flight Simulator , first published in under that name. The United States military uses virtual reality -based simulations, such as VBS1 for training exercises,  as do a growing number of first responder roles e.
Tactical media in video games plays a crucial role in making a statement or conveying a message on important relevant issues. This form of media allows for a broader audience to be able to receive and gain access to certain information that otherwise may not have reached such people. An example of tactical media in video games would be newsgames. These are short games related to contemporary events designed to illustrate a point. All of these games bring awareness to important issues and events.
On 23 September , U. President Barack Obama launched a campaign called "Educate to Innovate" aimed at improving the technological, mathematical, scientific and engineering abilities of American students. This campaign states that it plans to harness the power of interactive games to help achieve the goal of students excelling in these departments.
Some other games do not have any particular targeted audience in mind and intended to simply educate or inform whoever views or plays the game. Video game can use several types of input devices to translate human actions to a game, the most common game controllers are keyboard and mouse for " PC games , consoles usually come with specific gamepads , handheld consoles have built in buttons. Other game controllers are commonly used for specific games like racing wheels , light guns or dance pads.
Digital cameras can also be used as game controllers capturing movements of the body of the player. As technology continues to advance, more can be added onto the controller to give the player a more immersive experience when playing different games. There are some controllers that have presets so that the buttons are mapped a certain way to make playing certain games easier. Along with the presets, a player can sometimes custom map the buttons to better accommodate their play style.
On keyboard and mouse, different actions in the game are already preset to keys on the keyboard. Most games allow the player to change that so that the actions are mapped to different keys that are more to their liking. The companies that design the controllers are trying to make the controller visually appealing and also feel comfortable in the hands of the consumer. An example of a technology that was incorporated into the controller was the touchscreen. It allows the player to be able to interact with the game differently than before.
The person could move around in menus easier and they are also able to interact with different objects in the game. They can pick up some objects, equip others, or even just move the objects out of the player's path. Another example is motion sensor where a person's movement is able to be captured and put into a game.