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Wednesday, September 5, 2001
Ars Looks at Gaming History
9:18 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

An interesting new article has been posted by Ars Technica which examines the history of computerized gaming. Unlike most trivial pieces on the subject, this is not a simple revisiting of every title by id Software. Instead they start by looking at the early oscilloscope 'games' from the late 1950's, and move up through the present. Much coverage is given to the early text adventures such as Zork as well as discussing the beginnings of now-huge companies like Sierra and EA. Here's a clip about a mystery game many old-school Apple gamers might remember:

Sierra was founded by a husband and wife team, Ken and Roberta Williams, who worked from their kitchen table.  Ken was the programmer of the games which Roberta designed.  During this period, Sierra created many famous adventures.  However, while Infocom's games were completely in text, Sierra famously introduced graphics to the genre with its Apple II game, Mystery House.

It was a combination of the simple verb + noun style of text adventure and black and white pictures which were shown on the top of the screen.  The game itself wasn't too much to speak of; it was a simple murder mystery.  Regardless, the novel graphics of the game made it immensely popular and established Sierra in the adventure game market.

The rest of the article does take a cynical tone when looking at the modern gaming market, though it's definitely a good read if you've got the time.

Ars Technica: The Stage of the Game

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