An Overview of Video Games

Video games are an technological invention that involves interaction by a human being with some kind of user interface. This interface generates visual and auditory feedback on an electronic device, wherein the human player reacts upon the images on the screen in order to achieve a certain on-screen goal or objective. Traditionally, the term “video” denoted a raster graphics display; however, since the term “video game” became popular, it has come to mean any other type of device that electronically displays images.

The term platform is used to refer to the electronic system being used to play all video games. PCs and electronic game consoles are examples of platforms, and these platforms widely range from a huge mainframe computer to relatively miniscule cellphones. Platforms are a combination of computer or electronic hardware and software, which makes the operation of a video game possible. The so-called “next-generation” consoles are also a type of platform for newer and more advanced video games.

PC games refer to games played by a human on a PC with a video monitor. Console games are games which are played on specialized electronic devices that are wired to composite video monitors or TV sets. On the other hand, handheld gaming devices are battery-powered portable self-contained devices that can be taken anywhere and are relatively small. Arcade games refer generally to specialized electronic devices that are designed to play just one type of game, and which are installed on a special, cumbersome cabinet. These terminologies sometimes overlap and are not clear-cut, since some games may be amenable to more than one classification. For example, arcade games now can also be played on PCs and handheld devices.

To date, such games have become a form of art as well as a full-blown commercial billion-dollar industry, starting from the crude arcade games of the past to the latest 3-D network interactive crazes. Arcade games in particular have begun to wane in popularity in the present. They have had their heyday in the 80’s and early 90’s, and are now rapidly being replaced by more complex and highly innovative new games. Sadly, many games today have also been infiltrated by the consciousness of sex and violence, with many games usually highlighting both.

Video games can be played with the use of so-called game controllers. These devices vary among different platforms. Simple game controllers may only be comprised of a simple joystick with a single button, or it may be the modern multi-button controllers which may consist of up to more than ten buttons and more than one joystick. Other common controllers include mice, gamepads and keyboards. Games in PCs used to require a separate joystick aside from the keyboard; however, more modern video games in personal computers can be played simply with the standard mouse and keyboard.

Since its early days, video games have exploited the use of senses other than the visual. Interaction and information are enhanced with the use of accompanying sounds, and lately, also with the use of vibrations. This is also called force feedback, which are made possible through haptic peripherals. The vibrations themselves also cause the further simulation of force feeback.

The evolution of video games surely has a long way to go. Science fiction has let the public peep into the possibilities of gaming and the future technologies that lie ahead.

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