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Meet the industry: time travel through the history of video games

With an exceptionally strong innovative drive the gaming industry pushes the boundaries of hard- and software every year. The industry has become one of the most significant ones in the entertainment sector. The industry generated 2.65 billion Euros in sales – and this is just in Germany. At the same time the music industry only made 1.12 billion Euros in 2013. Accordingly the gaming industry presents their novelties every year at gamescom, the world’s largest trade fair and event highlight for interactive games.

However, amongst all the state of the art technology some outdated tech is celebrated in hall 10.2, which does not need any light show or entertaining hosts to excite: the exhibition Retro Gaming. On 1,300 square meters plenty of associations, projects and private collectors once more showed the history of computer games. Visitors were able to marvel at dozens of game consoles, computers, handheld devices and gaming machines of the last four decades. Some of the highlights were classics like Commodore 64, Amiga and Atari 2600. We would like to take this opportunity to take you on a little time travel through the history of video games.

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More than 50 years ago Steve Russell, still a student at that time, developed the first computer games. However, the two-player game Spacewar! was no big seller as one might think nowadays. It only ran on university computers, so that only a few people had the chance to hunt enemy spaceships and try not to fall into the sun at the same time. In the 80ies the market was divided into producers of consoles and computers. The producers of consoles kicked off the era of handhelds at the turn of the millennium and the Game Boy caught attention. Over the last years handhelds were outshined by mobile gaming: Plenty of small games for smartphones and tablets were developed.

The video games did not owe their breakthrough to Spacewar!, but to the legendary game Pong, which was released ten years later. In Germany the original version of the tennis-like game is officially permitted for gamers of 18 years and older. This is because the first version in contrast to the following ones has never beentested by the USK, the German Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body. In the 90ies 3D revolutionized the gaming industry and the graphics of Pong were finally history. Games have developed strongly and even though one might think at every gamescom that it cannot get any more realistic, the game publishers outbid each other year after year. The future is Virtual Reality – learn more about this topic in our blog Real or virtual? Boundaries blur in the virtual reality.

Two more trends in game development have come up: Firstly, more physical motion was required by the gamers. Games like Singstar and Just Dance make entire families sweat. Secondly, more and more games are connected to the internet, which enables us to play anywhere in the world with or against each other. The stories and graphics of games have become more complex. In the beginning we controlled square spaceships, then realistic avatars. Meanwhile we immerse ourselves in the virtual gaming world. However, as the gamescom proves every year: The evolution of games is far from being finished.