A SHORT HISTORY OF AMUSEMENT
By Tim Hunkin
VIDEO & COMPUTER
The first computer arcade game,
‘Computer space’, was introduced in 1976. It was not a
commercial success but it encouraged the inventor, Norman Bushnell, to set
up a new company called Atari.
Pong was made cheaply after the extravagant computer space - hence the wooden case - but it turned out to be highly successful, both in arcades and later as a home TV game. Pong started a rash of new designs. Predictably, there is much more about the history of video games on the web than other sorts of slot machines. Details of the individual machines can be found on:
Long before any commercial machine appeared, I tried Lunar Lander one night in 1971 in the Cambridge University maths lab. For details about earlier computer games made by scientists for fun and to show at open days see: http://www.emuunlim.com/doteaters/play1sta1.htm
Through the eighties and early nineties arcade video games were always faster and had better graphics than home TV games. However, as PCs became more powerful and better equipped for graphics, they caught up. Today arcade video games are little better than Playstation games and some people talk of an industry crisis. In the UK, the industry’s interest seems to have returned to fruit machines, with the opportunities for higher jackpots that the betting shop machines offer.
Japan continues to innovate. The
wierdest one I've found is Boon-Ga-Boon-Ga.