Wednesday, October 20, 2010

History of video games 1950-1970

Everything in the world has its history, not all of it is known, but one subject’s development in time is quite interesting: the history of games. It may sound weird, but the first computer games were nothing more than tic-tac-toe, and pong, a ball of light bouncing from one side of the screen to the other, something like tennis but looked from the top. In 1952 Alexander S. Douglas made the first computer game to use a digital graphical display also known as Noughts and Crosses*. After that in 1958, William Higginbotham made an interactive computer game named Tennis for Two**. Games have been and still are developing with great speed since their start. If you compare games in the past with ones from today, the development of technology is mind blowing.

The invention of the first computer game led to the birth of more that would follow, and soon even better and more advanced games. The main ones were Noughts and Crosses, Tennis for two, Spacewar! and Chase in the 20 year period from 1950 to 1970.

A genius and possibly even eccentric person had the idea to tinker around with computers the size of buildings and worth millions of dollars to make something for entertainment. And after a while the first computer games were born. At first they were nothing special, as nothing is in the beginning, but with time they progressed with astounding speed. I’m not sure who was the first person that had the idea to use computers for games, I never will but he was one of those people who was thinking outside the box. One of them was Alexander S. Douglas who, in 1952, made the first computer game.* The first steps in the game area were developed on equipment used by the military. In 1961, a group of students at MIT, including Steve Russell, developed a game titled Spacewar! on the DEC PDP-1, a brand new computer at the time.** The game placed two players against each other, each controlling a space craft which could fire missiles, while a star in the center of the screen was capable of destroying both ships if the players weren’t paying enough attention. Spacewar! was created with the idea to be the first influential computer game.

1970 was the golden age of games. In September 1971, the Galaxy game was the first coin-operated video game. Only one was built. In the same year, many coin-operated Spacewar! arcade machines were manufactured, but the game had a new name – Computer space.** However, Pong was the first arcade video game with widespread success. The arcade game industry entered its Golden Age around 1978 with the birth of Space ivaders. That inspired a lot of people to get into the video game market. In 1979, Atari released the well known Asteroids, in which you had to task to survive as long as you can and destroy all the asteroids in your way.

Technology never slept and kept progressing faster and faster. Soon there was going to be something new on the market – color. Color arcade games became popular in 1979 and 1980 with games like Pac-man, a game which many people still play. Games like that, which are more referred to as retro games, are true classics.



Sunday, October 10, 2010

Who am I?

It can be quite awkward writing about myself, but let’s start from somewhere.
My name is Aleksandar Ignatov. I was born on April 9th, 1991 in Varna, Bulgaria.
I have lived there my whole life, up until a couple of weeks ago when I moved to Leicester to study something I have great interest in: Game art.
When I had the idea to study something after school, I wasn’t sure at first what I’d like to study. I didn’t know where to study, or what to focus on. At first my plan was to stay in Bulgaria and study animation in Sofia, the capital, but after digging into information about it, and talking with friends that had studied there, I found that they didn’t have what I was searching for. So I started looking somewhere else, in places far from my own home city. I started looking at universities in different countries, and the most interesting seemed the ones in Britain. Sooner than I’d expected, I found myself in De Montfort University, Leicester, studying computer game design.
The idea for studying something involving games came from my life-long interest in video games. My interest in video games was born around 11-12 years ago, when I was on vacation with my parents in a hotel in the mountains. I loved going out to play in the forest with friends, but when it rained there was pretty much nothing to do. Looking around the station, I found the basement to be filled with arcade games. At first I didn’t know what they were, but ten minutes later I was the master of them all. I don’t remember which game I played first, but the one I enjoyed the most was Contra. One of my friends had a Nintendo, and I can’t even say how much we played or fought over it. At some point, we even managed to break the television …I don’t remember what had caused it, but someone’s head and several controllers were involved.
My biggest interest of all is drawing. I always knew I wanted to do something with my life that involved art, ever since I was a child. After 7th grade, I enrolled at the National school of art, Dobri Hristov, in Varna. I had a great interest in sculpting. The fact that you can make something out of nothing, and feel it in your hands as it transforms into something beautiful is simply remarkable. So I specialized with sculpture in my school, and sooner than I’d expected, I’d graduated and moved on.
At the time I got here, it was, and still is quite hard getting used to all of the new things around me, especially being so far away from my home and my friends. But, I know I’m doing this for something good, which will eventually pay off for me, although it will take a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get there.
The fact that I can draw really helped me in choosing what I wanted to study. The main goal in my life is to become a concept artist, which is likely the hardest position to achieve in this industry, but I know that I am capable of reaching that height. My goals are high in the clouds and difficult to achieve, but who said I can’t make a ladder that will reach them?