Popular Electronic Games

Superheroes battle monsters and space invaders in fast-action games. Players take on the role of these superheroes in epic battles. In other games, players race cars, boats, motorcycles, helicopters, and planes against villains and even less evil opponents to win high-stakes races. Game titles such as Burnout3: Takedown, ESPN, NHL – 2K5, Silent Hill 4: The Room, Terminator 3: The Redemption, Donkey Kong 3, and Pokemon have joined the national lexicon as kids have flocked to the lure of electronic games.

Parents, teachers, preachers, and politicians have criticized and, in some cases, even banned electronic games. Electronic games have been blamed for poor grades, conduct, and health. If you listen long enough, electronic games are responsible for all the problems our young people experience today. One thing is certain. Kids love them. They buy and play them in ever-increasing numbers. Electronic games are here to stay.


People have been trying to play games on computers almost since the days of the very first computer. As early as 1950, Claude Shannon, a mathematician and engineer, believed that computers could be programmed to play chess in competition with humans. He became intrigued with the concept of artificial intelligence. In pursuit of this idea, researchers and scientists designed crude games that could be played on the huge and clumsy computers of the 1950s and 1960s.

The first electronic games as a consumer product were built as coin-operated arcade games in the early 1970s. In 1971, Nolan Bushnell, Ted Dabney, and Al Alcorn formed the first game company, Atari. Soon after, they produced the first game console and their first electronic game, Pong, as an arcade game. Pong was immediately successful.

This success led Atari and other firms to develop home game consoles that could be hooked up to TV sets. Atari released its first home console in 1977. Soon, games were put on cartridges that could be changed at the player’s whim.


By 1979, the company Activision was formed by former Atari game designers. The purpose of this new company was to focus strictly on game software. They decided to leave the equipment development to play electronic games with other people. This was the first company to build a business of developing and selling electronic games software.

A spate of game companies emerged, trying to develop software for the infant electronic game industry quickly. The result was a glut of poorly conceived games hitting the market. Consumers turned away in droves, and the home electronic game industry faded hit the skids.

By the early 1980s, electronic games were being developed for personal computers. Color graphics, flexible storage capacity, and general-purpose processors made games much easier on personal computers. The game console business was all but dead.

In the late 1980s, two Japanese companies introduced a new generation of game consoles capable of handling the new electronic games being produced. These companies were Nintendo and Sega. These game consoles had graphics capabilities that exceeded those of most personal computers. Nintendo also offered a feature that let the console record the game action to pause the game’s action.

Right behind Nintendo came Game Boy, a hand-held game console. Game consoles enjoyed a resurgence of popularity during the 1990s. A new, even more sophisticated generation of electronic games was introduced by 2001. These consoles included Playstation 2 and Xbox. Electronic games continued to become more complex, with more action and more graphics.

Electronic games today have achieved art form status. They are a wonderful combination of board games and comic books; all rolled up into one medium with spectacular graphics and compelling audio. Curiously enough, most electronic games are similar to board games. They have one of two central themes: racing and capturing the area or opponents. Perhaps electronic games have begun to capture a wider audience because of these similarities.

As electronic games mature, they begin to attract more mature audiences. Initially, these games were primarily toys for boys. The growth area in the game industry is no longer adolescent males. It is mature adults, both men and women. Many popular board games have been adapted to electronic game formats. Where youngsters hooked game consoles to TV sets, adults played games on their PCs, often against other players across the Internet. Grandparents are playing electronic games with grandchildren. They also join game clubs to play electronic games on the Internet with other senior citizens in another state or half a world away. Many top game companies are betting that older adults are the new growth market for the game industry.

Claude Shannon believed that computers could be programmed to play chess. In a sense, he was right. He never imagined chess players crossing cyberspace as they exercise chess strategies on computerized game boards. Nor could he have imagined video poker, Internet casinos, and other popular electronic games people of all ages are playing. Electronic games aren’t just for kids anymore.


Alcohol scholar. Bacon fan. Internetaholic. Beer geek. Thinker. Coffee advocate. Reader. Have a strong interest in consulting about teddy bears in Nigeria. Spent 2001-2004 promoting glue in Pensacola, FL. My current pet project is testing the market for salsa in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 I was getting to know birdhouses worldwide. Spent 2002-2008 buying and selling easy-bake-ovens in Bethesda, MD. Spent 2002-2009 marketing country music in the financial sector.