Aug 062009

Gaming Greats is a regular column that will take a look back at everything great that makes video games what they are today.

Hooray! I made it through the first week and to celebrate I present to you the second part of Gaming Firsts. This week will pick up where we left off. Right smack dab in the 70’s.

1976 – First programable game console

Channel F – Using the company’s own invented microchip, Fairchild was able to release a console that had removable cartridges that each had its own game programmed onto it.

1974 – First FPS

Maze War – In this game players wandered through a maze seeking other players. When the players encountered each other they can then shoot at each other. This is all I can really say about this game.

1975 – First adventure game

Colossal Cave Adventure – Initially done as a text based game this game featured a trek through a cave layout similar to the real life Mammoth Cave system. Players would encounter mazes and many fantasy elements such as a dwarf and a magic bridge.

1975 – First RPG

Dungeon – As an unlicensed implementation of Dungeons & Dragons this game was played on many university’s PDP-10 mainframe computers. Players controlled multi-player parties using text commands and top down dungeon maps. It was also the first to employ line of sight graphic displays.

1979 – First third party devloper

Activision – Disgruntled over not getting credit for developing games, four developers left Atari and started their own company. They then started to make games for their former employers consoles. Atari sued and Activision won, thus opening the doors for more companies to form and create the industry we know today.

1980 – First side scrolling game

Defender – Created at Williams back when they were more known for their pinball machines. This game had players controlling a ship from a side view, defending the humans on the ground from being abducted by aliens. Initially the game was deemed to hard to play due to its unique five button control scheme. It later went on to sell 60,000 units.

1980 – First 3-D game

Battlezone – Originally designed for the US Army by Atari. Using a screen viewed through goggles the game is also considered to be the first virtual reality game. The goal of the game was to control a tank and eliminate other enemy tanks.

1980 – First mainstream icon

Pac-man – Most games released up to this point have either been variations of shooters or Pong clones.Due to it uniqueness it wasn’t considered to be able to sell. The public thought otherwise and soon enough Pac-man could be found on t-shirts, lunch boxes, and just about anything else that could possibly hold a picture of the smiling rotund character. Pac-man even had his own Saturday morning cartoon and top 40 song.