Be sure to study up for the first exam next week (25 points) on the terms, concepts, and principles from the material presented in The Evolution of Games unit from Weeks 1 through 3 plus Chapter 1 of the course textbook (Game Development Essentials: An Introduction). Be sure to study the Lesson Review Sheets handed out in class and make sure you've read all the Required Reading material found in each week's assignment links.
About This Week's Lesson:
Last century was a good one for games, gaming, and gamers. It began with Kriegspiel going commercial with H. G. Wells' book Little Wars, and then bleeding through two World Wars with its fortunes waxing and waning as its usefulness in battle finally became apparent to all. Later, during the Cold War, games evolved with the military (to be sure), but the dawning of a new era of commercial games began when Charles S. Roberts founded The Avalon Hill Game Company in 1958 and brought "serious" games to the masses, thus engendering our modern ("geeky") game hobby.
Suddenly, the evolution of gaming became a double-helix between advances in "professional" military simulations and "commercial" war game products created by and for gifted hobbyists. Before long, this would become a triple-helix as computer, arcade, home console, hand-held, and later internet gaming brought an electronic facet to the cause of the intellectual pursuit of gaming.
Paper war games yielded to paper role-playing games, and the rebirth of Free Kriegspiel was seen with the advent of Dungeons & Dragons. PC games gave legitimacy to video arcade "quarter eaters" and brought electronic games into millions of homes creating, over the years, a mass-market and a new generation, The Gamer Generation, upon the scene. Today, with games pushing ahead on all fronts (professional military, commercial strategy and role-playing, popular action and arcade – all in an expanding game space found through increased player connectivity via the internet and wireless connections), the future looks bright and busy for game developers who can claim their niche and produce quality game designs, graphics, and programming.
These links feature the supplemental material that you are responsible for knowing before the first exam (that takes place at the beginning of next week). Be sure to click on every link in this section!
Article: Video Game History 101 by William Hunter
Okay, if you really want a deep article on the fascinating story behind the evolution of video game, here it is, with pictures of key people, hardware, and games.
Review Sheet: by Alan Emrich
The Review Sheet you were provided at the end of class this week has additional information on the subject of the history of games, with plenty of interesting factoids and tid bits included. Be sure to give this Review Sheet a thorough read; you will be responsible for knowing all of its contents for the first exam next week!
These supplemental links are worth pursuing only if you wish to really learn the subject matter of game design in the broadest possible sense. This material will not be directly included in the exams, but if you're serious about being a game designer and delving deeply into the subject of game design art, craft, and science, here's some more lessons from others who have also "been there."
Article: Charles S. Roberts: In His Own Words by Charles S. Roberts
In 1983, hobby simulation / strategy / adult game founder Charles S. Roberts penned the story of his role in its development. Here is a small snippet: "Let me emphasize that Avalon Hill was not founded to pioneer in wargaming. I was convinced that there was a market for realistic games of specialty format, designed to appeal to those who enjoy intellectual challenges and prefer competition wherein skill is a primary virtue."
Article: To Boldly Go by Dave Shapiro
Board games have a lot more history than I could fit in a lecture, and this article gives you the real dirt on games like Monopoloy (did you know that design was "borrowed" from a game published 30 years earlier?), Risk! (designed by a French film maker), Dungeons & Dragons (designed by a couple of miniatures rules writers), and many more.
Introduction: Wargames Handbook by Jim Dunnigan
With so much technology invested military simulation games, what happened to them after our story in class left off? For the epilogue of military simulation gaming technology, read this introduction to a very book (available in its entirety online) on this subject written by one of its foremost authorities.
Article: Little Wars and Floor Games an introduction by Greg Costikyan
A terrific forward to a recent reprinting of these first two 'consumer wargames' designed by noted author H. G. Wells.
If you'd like to peruse Little Wars and see what makes it tick, click here (or here for a .pdf version). If you'd like to read its companion tome, Floor Games, click here (or here for a .pdf version).
Article: Plundering the Seas of Probability by Tyler Sigman
Here's some follow-up to last week's look at dice. Age Of Empires DS designer Tyler Sigman provides an entertaining article in his 'probability for game designers' series, discussing how dice-based board game probability teaches us key lessons about design.
Web Site: The Ultimate Space Invaders Shrine
Play the game, and enjoy its history! (Did you know that Space Invaders was so amazingly popular in Japan that it caused a coin shortage until the country's Yen supply was quadrupled? Entire arcades were opened in Japan specifically for this game!)
This is the game that we played and analyzed in class this week. If you want more information about it, see the link below:
STRIKE FORCE ONE, THE EXPERT GAME EXPANSION KIT was created in 2007 to add new units types (tanks, pioneers, and support), plus random events and night effects. Two new scenarios were also created, and an extended game replay included. With this expansion kit, you can see the evolution of Kriegspiel made small and plain.
By the way, your fellow students were playtesters for this little war game product, too!
INTELLIVISION LIVES! is a throwback to first-generation home console computer gaming as published by Mattel Electronics back in the early 1980s. It's interesting to how much gameplay was required back in the days when there wasn't processor power to deliver the graphics or burn up computer memory like we have today.