1979 In Video Gaming - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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1979 In Video Gaming

When studying the fascinating evolution of video games, one cannot overlook the transformative year of 1979. This pivotal year witnessed a surge of innovation and creativity that changed the landscape of interactive entertainment. Pioneering games and groundbreaking technology that emerged during this time would come to define not only the close of the 1970s but also the direction of the industry in the decades that followed.

Arcade games were a dominant force in 1979, and the year was marked by the arrival of an absolute titan of the industry, Asteroids. Developed by Atari, Asteroids was a game that combined simple yet addictive gameplay with groundbreaking vector graphics. The game’s controls gave players a sense of direct, tactile involvement with the physics of the game world that was unparalleled at the time. It was a game of skill and strategy, as players navigated their spaceship around the screen, breaking down asteroids and avoiding collisions. This marriage of action and strategy, seen in Asteroids, would become a staple of the arcade and console games that followed.

In the realm of home consoles, 1979 saw the continuation of the second generation of consoles, headlined by the Atari 2600. New titles released for the system during this year further expanded its library and solidified its place in the market. Among these games, Adventure stands out as particularly notable. Developed by Warren Robinett, Adventure was groundbreaking as it was one of the first action-adventure games and the first to contain an "Easter Egg," a hidden feature within the game. The game’s exploration of multiple screens and inventory-based puzzles laid the foundation for future action-adventure games.

At the same time, handheld electronic gaming was starting to gain ground, with Nintendo leading the charge. Nintendo's Game & Watch series debuted later, but in 1979, the company released a number of smaller handheld electronic games, such as 'Flagman,' 'Helmet,' and 'Vermin.' These simple LCD games captured the imagination of players and offered a new form of portable entertainment.

The world of home computers was not to be outdone. 1979 was the year that gave us the first commercially sold workstation, the Xerox Alto, which introduced many features we consider standard today, like a mouse, a graphical user interface, and an ethernet network connection. While the Xerox Alto was not directly influential in the gaming industry, it set a precedent for the evolution of personal computers, which would later become a crucial platform for gaming.

In the software arena, 1979 was the year that Akalabeth: World of Doom was released. Designed by Richard Garriott, this game is often considered the precursor to the seminal Ultima series. It was one of the first role-playing video games and was instrumental in the creation of the RPG genre. Its immersive world and complex mechanics were revolutionary, demonstrating the potential of video games as a medium for storytelling and character development.

As we reflect on the legacy of 1979, we find a year that reshaped the landscape of video gaming. Games like Asteroids and Adventure introduced mechanics and gameplay styles that would be emulated and expanded upon for generations. Handheld games started gaining popularity, demonstrating that gaming wasn't confined to living rooms or arcades. The developments in personal computing hinted at the role computers would later play in the gaming industry, while games like Akalabeth paved the way for the rich, expansive RPGs that would come in later years.

In conclusion, 1979 was a watershed year for the video game industry, setting the stage for the future of gaming. As we navigate the vast and varied landscape of modern gaming, we can trace many of our current experiences back to the seeds sown in 1979. It was a year of innovation, a year of creativity, and above all, a year that indelibly shaped the world of video gaming.

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