20 May, 2009

Galaxy Game

Galaxy Game was one of the first coin-operated game-machines around (now known primarily as arcade-games).

It was developed by a Stanford University grad named Bill Pitts and his highschool friend Hugh Tuck. They based the game on Spacewar!, which was developed in 1961 for the PDP-1 and later ported to a variety of other platforms, while Galaxy Game was developed on a PDP-11/20 with a vector display.

I read an article about the game featured on Google Blog, which then inspired me to write about it since I'm quite fond of antique computer games and/or programs.

If you want to know more about this inspiring game, read this article from the infolab@Stanford.

On a side-note: arcade-games have evolved exponentially over the years since the 1970's. Arcade-games in the 70's were mostly nothing more than flat computer-programs designed to entertain people.

To give an example, most games in that era were simple (not as in "non-complex" though) 2d graphical interactive computer applications, like "PacMan" or "Galaga" (allthough Galaga didn't appear until the beginning of the 80's, it still resembled games from the 70's), while as arcade-games in our day and age are usually *NOT* simple and *NOT* 2d-based. But rather, they are powered by complex 3D computations, complex audio modulation and some even contain libraries to emulate physical environments to appear more realistic to the gamers. To achieve this realism, arcade-vendors now have to design and implement accelerated hardware into their arcade-game machines, which, given the current economic status of the world, is quite an expense.

I basically foresee that the arcade-market is going to slow down the coming years, which is kind of sad in my opinion. Arcade-games have been the gaming industry's testpads for upcoming game-features since the late 80's. But since we now have the Internet, there is no longer a strong demand for physical gaming machines.

Instead we have emulators, virtual machines and high bandwidth for which to connect the core-software to the game-data online, or locally. The possibilities are endless.

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