Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Original Engineers and Innovators of Video Games

This is another post that was originally a school assignment.

Nolan Bushnell

The video game industry was made possible by engineers and innovators but was also brought about by skilled businessmen and a combination of marketing and peoples natural desire for entertainment. Ralph Baer the creator of the first computer games was one of these engineers. He led a team of five hundred people at Sanders Associates, a defense contractor. Nolan Bushnell was obsessed with innovation and making his business succeed. Each of them were pioneers in video game design despite their differences.

Nolan Bushnell learned the importance of innovation and capturing peoples attention early on. He always had a need for fun growing up. After losing tuition money in a poker game he worked at an amusement park called Lagoon and the key to his job was getting people to play. Although some of his first games were borrowed ideas he quickly decided that the only way to stay ahead of the curve was constant innovation. He was the co-founder of Atari and the first designer of the Arcade Game.

Ralph Baer was different then Nolan in that he was a no nonsense kind of guy. Strict and interested in engineering he needed others to help make his creations have entertainment value. While at Sanders he put two people on a project making games for use on a television. One of them was Bill Rusch who helped with the entertainment aspect of the project.

Although there were other pioneers in the game design field such as William A. Higinbotham who designed “designed Tennis for Two as entertainment for visitors' days at the Brookhaven National Laboratory power plant” (Time Trip) It was Baer who was successful in creating electronic games before any others and it was Nolan who turned them into a billion dollar industry.

TIME TRIP. (2009). Current Events, 109(4), 5.
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