At first there were computer games in the shape of cartridges for game consoles and home computers. Starting from 1977 computer games existed as software on a data medium such as datasette, diskette, hard disk, CD, DVD, and so on.
The first computer games were single player games. Either a player plays the game alone or against the computer. In the course of time, games for different players as well as multiuser and network games were invented. This is the classification of games concerning the number of players.
Furthermore, the classification of computer games (see also: Category: Genre) can be done according to the type of player action into:
- Adventure games
- Shooter or action games
- Jump'n Run or arcade games
- Games of skill (strategic)
- Role-playing games (RPG)
- Simulations such as the conversion of a flipper machine or one-armed bandit
- Sport games
- Economic simulation or managers
- Mixtures of the above as text adventures, action adventures, action role plays or action shooter
While the first computer games at first only consisted of bars, circles and simple symbols or texts without music or sound, better text graphics arose with the introduction of the home computers. After that with the C64 followed noises, music and sounds as well as high-resolution graphics (HiRes or pixel graphics) and moving graphics as sprites or shapes. The graphics got more and more complex. At first it was in the area of 2D and from the middle of the 90s also in the 3D area. Furthermore the stereo sound in CD quality was introduced to the computer games in the 90s as well as the speech output of the game characters.
Due to the computer graphics being very similar to the reality in the 90s, today's computer games are rather close to reality concerning the graphics. A further application of this are surely the very popular 3d comic films, that are generated per computer.
This list shows the types of controls for computer games as from the beginnings to today:
While at the beginning only few hours of time had to be invested to develop, code and test a computer game, the cost are enormous today. Furthermore a lot of people are employed next to the coders as designers, actors, musicians, coordinators, etc.
After the developing company has finished the game, it often needs a publisher that financially supports the developers. Furthermore the publisher takes care of advertisements, beta tests and the sale of the finished computer game. It can also happen, that a game has several publishers. So e.g. can in the USA the publisher X market the game, whereas in Europe it is publisher Y that markets the same game.
Life cycle of a game
At the beginning, a computer game is sold for a non-committal (fixed) price as e.g. 25 until 50 US$, which the publisher releases. The specialist shop only slightly deviates from this price at the start, except for certain sales campaigns. The game is usually sold in a rather costly, high quality package with manual and a corresponding medium. During this first introduction or sale phase, which runs about 1 to 2 years, a game can only be purchased for a lower price in a bundle. Depending on the popularity of the game, the publisher will place more or less advertisements in several media. Furthermore special versions of the game can be published by the game company or the publisher e.g. with Fan T-Shirt, baseball cap or other giveaways. After that newer games outstrip this game, so that the game is available for about 20 US$.
After that there is the re-marketing, i.e. the games are marketed either by the publisher or another third-party vendor for a rather low price of about 10 to 20 US$ as low budget version. The package is then usually not so laborious. Nowadays you can often buy only the medium, as e.g. a CD in jewel case. The manual is available only as pdf or als download on the internet. This phase runs as long as the game is talked about, i.e. about 2 two 3 years.
In the next step several good computer games are usually sold for a fixed price as so-called computer games collections with corresponding manual. This got out of style these days.
Today a further way of marketing is used: The game appears on the medium of computer magazines, which by this push their sale. Another possibility is, that the game can be downloaded for a low price over the corresponding game portal on the internet.
If the game is still talked about many years later or has reached a cult status, the publisher or the game company can offer the game as freeware on his internet platform for download. But this rarely happens.
The time spans given here mainly apply to the release of computer games in the 80s and 90s. With today's speed of games appearing on the market, the time spans can also be shorter!
- 100 great C64 games in 10 minutes Video at YouTube