Developed by id Software in the early 90s and released in 1992, Wolfenstein 3D helped launch a genre that would influence generations of gamers and shape the modern world of video games – the first person shooter. Inspired by the Castle Wolfenstein series by Muse Software, the game was a smash success. It helped popularize the genre on PCs and heavily influenced gameplay for shooters.
Begun in 1991 based on work by John Carmack, id pitched the game to Apogee Software founder Scott Miller, who agreed to fund a shareware title. That was followed up with a commercial release, proving the shareware model could be quite successful along the way.
The game also spawned a hobbyist community of players who created new levels and mod programs to further alter and add to the game. This ability would later be embraced by id who started including built in tools, which later became a staple in releases of Doom and Quake.
By the end of 1993, Wolfenstein sat at the top of the gaming heap on multiple platforms, having transformed an entire genre and influencing the entire industry. It is considered the grandfather of first person shooters, and gave rise to the enormous success of id Software.
In the first full-length computer-animated movie by Pixar, a little boy’s toys are thrown into chaos when a new Space Ranger arrives to vie for supremacy with the boy’s old favorite (a wooden cowboy). When the feuding toys become lost, they are forced to set aside their differences to get home. This extremely popular and successful film features the voice talents of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, Laurie Metcalf, and others. Academy Award Nominations: 3, including Best Original Screenplay. Director John Lasseter also won a Special Achievement Academy Award for the film.
id Software first gained notoriety with the first Wolfenstein 3D game in 1992, widely considered one of the original first person shooters. A few years later, they released Doom, which became an instant classic and helped redefine the entire face of video gaming. One of the hottest games of the year, it sold millions of copies and ushered in the era of mainstream hardcore PC gaming. It put the player in the middle of a space station seemingly overrun by demons from a gateway to hell. The sole mission: survive the nightmare by blasting your way out of the many levels with all manner of different weapons.
In 1994 it won Game of the Year and several other awards. It also introduced multiplayer gaming to the masses, allowing up to 4 to battle it out head to head over the internet or a network. They also freely released the source code so that fans and would-be designers could create their own levels and additions, which became known as “mods”, fostering an endless growing community dedicated to the game. Today the game still lives on in Doom 3, which was released in 2004.
Snipes is one of the first networked multiplayer games. It was created in 1983 to test the capabilities and features of the new PC-based Novell Netware network operating system developed by former members of Superset Software. It is considered the precursor to modern multiplayer games such as Doom and a multitude of others, and is the first network application ever written for a commercial personal computer. Hurst and Powell played the world’s first network death match with Snipes. The original development group was made up of Drew Major, Dale Neibauer, Kyle Powell and later Mark Hurst. The game is credited as the original inspiration behind Netware.
The game’s objective was to control your creature inside a maze and destroy enemy snipes and their bases called hives. Each game had a different random maze, and gameplay was achieved using the keyboard.
The story of TRON starts in the fall of 1975 when a young animation artist named Steven Lisberger witnessed a demonstration of computer generated imagery during a gathering of Boston-area filmmakers. Dr. Phillip Mittelman, president and founder of the Mathematical Application Group Inc. hoped to generate interest and ultimately business in the computer aided generation of three-dimensional objects – traditionally a sore spot with animators. Rendering correct perspectives of objects such as buildings, vehicles etc. was complex and costly. Lisberger, as an artist trained in animation, recognized the possibilities of the computer as a new and powerful tool and years later the techniques of computer generated imagery (CGI) together with the unique method of ‘backlight compositing’ became the main principles of TRON. Tron becomes the first movie to use computer generated graphics, ushering in an era of continual progression to the effects-laden films we see today.
Pong was the first hit video game, per se. This game is one that shaped the entire video game industry.
Pong was first introduced in 1972. Al Alcorn, one of Atari’s first employees, created the first Pong arcade machine, a prototype mounted on pinball bars. The system was first tested in Andy Capp’s Cavern, a bar in Sunnyvale, California. When the system was first put into place in this bar, only two people took notice of it and started playing. The next day, people were lined up outside the store at 10am waiting to play.
Two weeks later, Magnavox learned of Pong, and notified Atari that they had a patent on the ball and paddle concept. Atari paid $700,000 for use of the rights, but saw a rapid return on the investment. By March 1983, Atari had sold between 8,000 to 10,000 coin-op systems.
Space War may be the most important computer game ever. The first version was developed for the PDP-1 at MIT in 1960. The game has been under essentially constant development since.
The first CRT display was a converted oscilloscope used to play Space War. The first trackball (and thus, the first mouse) was a Space War control at MIT. It is said that Ken Thompson salvaged a PDP-1 and created a new operating system, now called UNIX, so that he could play Space War.
The gameplay was inspired by E. E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman novels. Two players go head-to-head, each controlling a ship in interstellar combat, trying to blow the bejeezus out of each other. There is a sun in the center of the playing field that exerts an inverse-r-squared force on all objects on the screen. A talented player can aim torpedoes such that their trajectory is deflected by the sun’s gravitational force until it intersects with the other player’s ship.