The genesis of the video game spans many years and encompasses a wide range of characters, genres and technology.
These days, there are few people who are unaware as to what a computer game is, but in the first half of the twentieth century, it was a concept only conceivable in science fiction. It was not until 1947 that the first computer game appeared. Primitive by today s standards, it featured a cathode ray tube with simple lights to suggest a controllable image. It is also an example of technology utilised in World War 2 being implemented into everyday life, as the device itself was inspired by the radar display.
But this primitive device would prove to be the starting point for a whole new form of mass media. By 1971 the game Computer Space appeared, still far away from the high concept designs of today, but its influence was far reaching as it was adapted into a movie, becoming 1973 s Soylent Green.
It is now common practice for computer games to inspire movies, the Resident Evil series being a strong example. However, games themselves would eventually rival Hollywood in their own right. In 1981, a character called Jumpman first appeared in the Nintendo game Donkey Kong. The popularity of this character soon inspired its own spin off and the character of Super Mario was born. The character is widely regarded as one of the most famous characters of video game history and played a huge role in the success of video games as a whole.
Mario, with his rival Sonic the Hedgehog, became part of the console wars of the early nineties between platform producers Sega and Nintendo. This rivalry brought gaming to the forefront and to this date, Nintendo is still the most popular producer of consoles with today s Nintendo Wii being the most successful of the modern generation consoles. Its former rival Sega has now been replaced by Sony and Microsoft, producing their own popular platforms.
It was not until 2007, however, that Hollywood in particular began to feel the heat. The recent Halo 3 on Microsoft s Xbox 360 managed to generate $300 million in its first week of release, selling 8.1 million copies. Amongst its titles is the accolade of being the highest grossing entertainment product within its first 24 hours of release - a far away prospect to the simple, war-inspired products of the past.