I’ve made arguments in previous posts (Why Games are about Play of Measurement and Measurement as Power) that Games join naturally with computers (which are about measurement and calculation). It is this alignment that has resulted in the assumption and innocent misnomer that all Video Games are Games.
Because Games are about Measurement, they are only one of the five Playstates; the others being Toys/Playgrounds, Role-Play, Puzzles, and Sports. The fact is that Video Games are much broader than Games.
It is an innocent mistake though. The first Video Games were primarily were about Play of Measurement and Competition. They were not Video Role-Plays, Video Toys-Playgrounds, or Video Puzzles. Tic-Tac-Toe from 1950 was the first ever Computer Game, with its play of measurement being about staking out territory on a nine-square grid. Space War! from 1962 was a competitive Game/Sport that played a huge influence on the industry. The very first Arcade games were inspired by Space War!
Yet it is important to not neglect the other Playstates that are playable on computers: Toys/Playgrounds, Role-Plays, and Puzzles are all part of the history but did not have the fame that the Games/Sports Playstates did.
Cheekily, I would say these other Playstates were non-Game Video Games. 😉 I would further propose that Video Games should actually be called Video Plays, since they now encompass all of the various Playstates, but I know that will go nowhere but at least I’ve said it. 🙂
Below is a list of the Playstate Firsts found in Video Games. I call this my first version of a list, because I do think that with more research and pondering this list will evolve.
|Playstate Firsts in Video Games (Version 1.0)|
|1950||Tic-Tac-Toe (Exhibition)||Games||First ever computer game via Bertie the Brain*|
|1962||Space War! (Mainframe)||Sports||Inspired Computer Space in 1971 to be the first ever arcade game|
|1968||Kingdom/Hamurabi (Mainframe)||Games||First strategy video game|
|1970||Game of Life (Mainframe)||Toy||First simulation video game|
|1970||Moo aka Bulls & Cows (Mainframe)||Puzzle||First puzzle video game|
|1971||Trek (Mainframe)||Games||First video game based on media franchise|
|1972||Table Tennis (Console)||Sports||Magnavox Odyssey (dev started in 1966) was first ever video game console|
|1972||Pong (Arcade)||Sports||First successful arcade game; inspired creation of video game industry|
|1975||Moria (Plato)||Role-Play||First multi-player video game with collaboration|
|1976||Colossal Cave Adventure (Mainframe)||Playground||First adventure video game|
|1978||Flag Capture (Atari 2600)||Puzzle||First puzzle console game|
* Tic-Tac-Toe is really the first ever Computer Game, not Video Game. While Bertie the Brain used a display to illustrate play, it was not a video display in any technical sense, so literally it was not a Video Game. Yet you cannot logically have a Video Game without a computer. The list of games that ran on computers with no video display is small and played little significance in Video Game history.