The Evolution of Gaming: From Board Games to COD

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Board games have been around for a long time. Probably longer than you expect. From early games of chance and skill to advanced online gaming and VR, from poker backrooms to online Texas Hold ‘Em tournaments, this is the journey of gaming — and its early roots to its role in society today.
The Board Games of The Nile

The first evidence of gaming goes back to around 5000 BC when 49 small carved and painted stones were found in Turkey at a burial mound. Similar artefacts were found around the fertile crescent of the Nile where early civilisations thrived, such as Syria and Iraq. Later, more elaborate dice were found elsewhere, such as in Greece in the 5-3 centuries BC.

One of the most famous of the ancient board games is Senet, a game that grew to royal prestige in Ancient Egypt and was found in pre-dynastic and dynastic burials, including the tomb of Tutankhamun. It was so important in their culture that it was mentioned in Chapter XVII of the “Book of the Dead.”

Senet included strong elements of chance, reflecting the notion of fate, which played a crucial role in the thinking of the time. Whoever excelled at the game was said to be in good favour with the gods. The game involved a grid of 30 squares in three rows of 10, with sets of pawns. The rules are unknown.

Another game, Mehen, emerged in around 3000 BC and had a game board that resembled a serpent deity. Players had to get around the board to the middle and then back to the outside. At this point, a player’s lion piece could enter the board and devour another player’s tokens.

Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum, the game of 12 markings
The ‘Monopoly Era’

Much later in Roman times, an early version of Backgammon called Ludus Duodecim Scriptorum was discovered, which translates as the game of 12 markings. This later evolved into Tabula and then into games that more closely resemble the modern Backgammon game.

You might be wondering by now when chess came about. Well, in around 1300 BC, we started to see Ludus Latrunculorum, a similar game. In fact, there were a lot of military games around at the time because there was a lot of warfare.

Modern board games rose to popularity in America from the 1880s to the 1920s, culminating later in Monopoly, the most popular capitalist game of all time. In 1995, we got Settlers of Catan, a European game translated into 30 languages. It sold over 24 million copies worldwide. In the 19th century, Texas Hold’Em and other varieties of poker became popular in America. Poker later became a worldwide phenomenon and is now played online by hundreds of thousands of people every day, though the rules have largely remained unchanged.

The primary type of roulette was formulated in eighteenth century France. Numerous history specialists trust Blaise Pascal presented a crude type of roulette in the seventeenth century in his look for a never-ending movement machine.

The roulette component is a half breed of a gaming wheel concocted in 1720 and the Italian amusement Biribi, this French roulette diversion has been played in its present shape since 1796.

Caption: Spacewar! was the first purpose-built gaming device in 1962.
The Rise of Video Games and Online gaming

You would think that the internet and the rise of video gaming would mean the end of board gaming, but in 2000, the board game industry saw a massive resurgence because of the marketing and accessibility that the internet brought about. Kickstarter now allows independent board games to be funded.

With that said, video games have, of course, taken centre stage in recent years. The first purpose-built gaming device was Spacewar! in 1962. A decade later, we were treated to Atari and Pong, and in 1982, we had Commodore 64, which went on to sell over 12.5 million computers.

The late 1980s and the 1990s brought many developments, including the Game Boy, the first truly popular handheld device. PlayStation and Sega Saturn hit the shelves in 1994, followed by the N64 in 1996. Anyone who had a Nokia mobile phone at this time might remember the next one: Snake — the start of the mobile gaming industry, which is now massive. Of course, these days we have the PS4, Xbox One and Wii U! It’s likely that VR will soon be the here-and-now of gaming!
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Read 1882 times Last modified on Thursday, 21 December 2017 16:20
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