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Multimedia Artists and Animators

History

The computer video gaming industry is a relatively new field that can trace its roots back to the second half of the 20th century. At that time, computers were still very large machines that were expensive to run and available only in such places as universities and government research laboratories. While a number of people created forerunners to computer video games, the first such game was not developed until several students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology began working on the idea. In 1962 their efforts resulted in Spacewar, the first fully interactive game specifically made to be played on a computer. Steve Russell was the main programmer of Spacewar and is considered one of the founders of this field. In 1966, Ralph Baer, an engineer and inventor, created his own video game and game console based on a television set. He continued to work on his invention, which became commercially available as The Odyssey in 1972. In addition to Russell and Baer, inventor Nolan Bushnell was instrumental in creating the computer video game industry. While Baer was working on game equipment to be used in the home, Bushnell focused his efforts on arcades, where he thought video games could become commercially successful. His game Computer Space was the first video game designed to be played in an arcade. However, the game proved too complicated to operate and it did not become popular. Nevertheless, Bushnell continued his game work, and in 1972 he and programmer Al Alcorn created Pong. Pong was a simple video game of tennis that became wildly popular and revolutionized the industry.

Once people had caught on to the easy yet addicting fun game of Pong, they were willing to try out other video games and wanted more variety. As game creators worked on developing new games, they improved existing technologies and invented new ones to enhance their work. The development and popularization of equipment, such as home game consoles, personal computers, the Internet, and mobile phones, also meant games could be played in a wide variety of places and at just about any time. And as computer technologies grew ever more sophisticated, the artistic quality of games also improved. Colors, textures, smooth movement, sounds, and multiple levels of play are just some of the game features that have improved over the years and will continue to do so. As games have become more complex and the industry grown, workers have begun to specialize in areas that interest them, such as programming, testing, and artistic quality. Today's game artists and animators are skilled professionals responsible for the look of everything a game player sees on the screen.

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