Early History of Video Games

Character Design

If you are a game art fan then you probably landed in the right place. What has shaped today’s innovations and improvements in game art design and game art development is because of the first steps that were taken back in the past. Video games are more than just entertainment today. They are considered as interactive art.

Imagine yourself lying on the sofa in a lazy afternoon, not knowing what to do and where to go. What could possibly save you from this boredom? You might take your gamepad and start playing. Can you feel any change from some moments ago? Sure you do. Your heartbeat might be increased a little bit, you are a bit excited and consequently, you are not bored. This is the magic of games. Creating new realms of imagination, being part of it and live within it!

What is CGI Game Art design?

CGI Game design is a field of art drawing from art and animation design, computer programming to creative writing. It is the process of producing creative and artistic aspects of video games. Many people consider creating video games as art. However, some scholars claim that it’s not art. Game art refers to the artistic field of game development that contains graphic design and animation that is generated using computers. 


Game Art Design

Game art and game development started when video games were born. Their first encounter with the world goes back to early 1950s.

1947; cathode-ray tube amusement device

In 1947 cathode-ray tube amusement device was invented. It is the first interactive electronic game. It didn’t have a memory card or anything. So it was rather analog than digital. This device simulates an artillery shell arcing towards targets on a cathode ray tube (CRT) screen. Moreover, it was created by Thomas T. Goldsmith and Eastle Ray Mann.


1950; Bertie the Brain

Bertie the Brain was an early computer game that was created in 1950 by Josef Kates. It was a game of tic-tac-toe in which the player selects a position for their next move from a grid of 9 lit buttons on a 4 meters height panel with either an “X or O” shaped light sign. The player could choose “X” or “O”.

1967; The Brown Box

From 1950 till 1967 many programmers developed some type of game on basic computers of that time. But none got popular in their time till “The Brown Box”, the first ever made video game console that played on the TV screen. The developed game for this console was a simple chasing game by two squares which played by two players. The Brown Box was developed by Ralph Baer and his co-worker. He developed 12 more games afterward. 

1972; Magnavox

After Ralph Baer created The Brown Box, he presented its prototype to the Magnavox Company. Later, his prototype was accepted and put into production. In 1972, the first in-home game console named Magnavox Odyssey was introduced to the world. It had 12 games featuring dots and lines on the screen.

1972-1975; Atari

In 1972 Nolan Bushnell created Atari which as a breakthrough in the game industry. Furthermore developed a computer game called Pong, which could play sound and produce a score on the screen. Atari was his successful arcade version of Pong. Later, In 1975 he developed an in-home version console of Atari that plays Pong.

The 1980s; Nintendo

Nintendo is a game console that was produced in the 1980s by the Nintendo Company. It had 500 games to play and it was considered as a revolution in the game industry. Fusajiro Yamauchi the owner of Nintendo Company released Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1983 in Japan and the United States that soon became the best-selling console in video game history.

1992; Wolfenstein 3D

The first 3D first-person shooter PC video game was developed in 1992 for IBM Computer systems. It has been called the foundation of the first person shooter (FPS) genre. The graphics and game art design of Wolfenstein 3D were really good considering that time computer graphics.  

2004; World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft was an online multiplayer game. It was developed by Mike Morhaime the founder of Blizzard Entertainment. He established a model for the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Play Game) genre (We’ll talk about game genres in future posts thoroughly). Thus his work with WoW had an undeniable effect on what we have today as game art and game development.


After the first appearance of 3D animation in video games in the 1990s, the shift from 2d animation to 3d animation started. This shift continued to now and artists have been able to design hyper-realistic form of characters, environment, and concept in animation studios. These changes occurred due to the improvement of computer graphics and power. As of today, the game industry has developed with computer growth. The emergence of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) and the use of animation in them have been using in video games. Therefore the trends of this year must be the use of VR and AR in the CGI game art design. 


What is the role of animation in the game art design?

Animation is used in the course of video game production. It is used to decide on how characters look like, the texture, hair, and skin on them, the graphical user interface and the way a character moves while playing. Its main duty in this development is to curate and develop visual software properties.

In developing and designing games, programmers decide on where and why a character move or you score but animation designers are responsible on how the characters move, how the environment looks like in certain occasion or levels. For example,  In “Need for Speed”, racing video game, programmers have decided on the curves of the roads, obstacles and the chasing police cars. Whereas the animation artists designed and created the environment, cars, and what sparks when two cars crash or how the environment looks like when it’s cloudy, rainy or sunny.

Game Over

Today the number of video games are increasing day by day. And the use of animation in the course of designing and developing games is being enhanced since the very first use of them in this field. Games have become part of our lives ever since we were kids and we couldn’t help playing simple games. And this attraction to games will continue until the game art and game development go.  


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