The Sociopolitical Ramifications Of Computer Gaming Essay

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The Sociopolitical Ramifications Of Computer Gaming Essay, Research Paper Since the dawning of civilization, when the first humans walked the earth, games have played an integral part in human society. Humanity has always had a passion for pastimes and has accordingly created an immense number of methods for achieving diversion. From the game of Senet, an ancient Egyptian game of royal appeal (and perhaps even the primogenitor of modern backgammon) that was discovered in the tombs of pharaohs; Hnefatafl, a Norse precursor to chess; and Calculi, a Roman game that strikingly resembled a later game commonly known as ?checkers?; to modern electronic games that are nearly omnipresent in our current day and age, the human race has continually striven for new and improved ways of

amusing itself. So it is no surprise that, with the inception of computers during the era of World War II, computer gaming would shortly follow. And how quickly it did follow. Historians avidly speak about the principle of quickening, a phenomenon which, as time ticks on, causes the development of new things to hasten. The development of computer games is nothing if not subject to this theory. In the early beginning of computer gaming, games (as well as new gaming technology) were few and far between. In fact, four years elapsed from the time the first computer game by William A. Higinbotham called Tennis For Two (a name that would later evolve into Pong), was created, until the completion of the second computer game, Spacewar! created by a cadre of students from MIT. Today,

hardly a day passes in which a new computer game is not released and the technology used to create games advances at an increasingly rapid pace. However, in order to fully understand the phenomenon that is computer gaming, we must first understand the culture that gave rise to it? The Days When Pinball Wizards Walked the Earth The mists of gaming yore are thick and shroud much. The 1930s in America was a decade of challenges. The Great Depression wracked the vast majority of Americans and the stormy clouds of war were rumbling over in Europe. Fortunately for them, they had pinball. The pinball machines of the 1930s were quite different from the machines that we know today. They required hardly any skill to play, and resembled the simple toy games played by present-day children in

which a ball must be shot with a metallic pinball-like plunger and land in special holes around the playing space to score points. Over time, the machines added features such as the back board, allowing the players to see their scores, flippers, allowing players to actually control some of the movements of the ball, and lights, which really did not functionally do very much, but added a significantly greater degree of visual appeal to the pinball machines. The Pinball Age would have further reaching influences than immediately apparent from looking at that rather unsightly box with flippers. One of the influences of pinball came in the late 1950s with a man by the name of William A. Higinbotham. The Event the World had Waited a ?Pong? Time for? In the years following World War

II, computers began to flourish. Formerly relegated to such inglorious positions as missile trajectory calculators and cryptographers during WWII, computers gained a new appreciation in the years following the war. ARPAnet, the early precursor to the internet, was begun in 1957 by Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). This set the stage for the modern information revolution and paved the way for the incredibly popular (and horrifically addictive) multiplayer games that would sweep the world in later years). While the advent of personal computers was still decades in the future (IBM would release the first modern personal computer in 1983, the TRS-80), giant mainframes were the rule of the day, occupying entire rooms with their sheer computing bulk and affordable only by major