Remember how in 1985 Nintendo created the first video game and how all of video game history was dependent on the game Super Mario Brothers? We all know that there were never any video games before that time, and any rumors to the contrary are just figments of the imagination by people who talk about Carter and Reagan, something about a Cold War, and the idea that Coca Cola would ever change their formula to completely fail to compete with Pepsi.
If your knowledge of gaming history comes from most modern sources, such as the trade magazines (“The 50 best games of all time!”) or internet sites, you might just be forgiven in making that assumption. According to even those inside the gaming industry, Nintendo might has well have been first to make video games, as the previous 15 years of gaming apparently just wasn’t important enough to warrant mentioning. Remember the Atari 2600? That whole craze from 1978 to 1983 apparently didn’t happen. Ever hear of PacMan, Space Invaders? They weren’t important enough to warrant a mention in these retrospectives. For video gaming, everything started with the launch of the NES.
Since I’m apparently now quite old, and outside of the gaming industry’s marketing concerns, all of that early history, along with my spending cash, is now completely inconsequential. The idea that history should include anything older than the Millennial generation is dismissed as ‘immaterial’. This is all, of course, despite the fact that the average gamer’s age is now approaching forty.
The latest culprit in this generational lapse is Greenheart games’ Game Dev Tycoon. To be fair to the game, it’s actually a fairly good casual simulation of the software industry. But, like most current ‘retrospectives’, the entire period of development from the Magnavox Odyssey through the rise of Commodore up through the C-16 is just forgotten. The C-64 is introduced in the game, thankfully, but as a bit of an afterthought as a competitor to the PC. The entire rise and fall of Atari, the age of the Colecovision, and the rise of Apple are just ignored.
Video Gaming has a long and rich history that dates back to crazy men in suspenders getting Space War to work on a mainframe, to the advent of the Playstation 5 and the Xbox One. Those claiming to be knowledgeable about that history, and want to draw upon it for their own projects, really should respect the accomplishments, and fans, from the years that happened before the NES revived the ailing market back in 1985. It’s frankly a little insulting to simply write off all those years as ‘too old for a young audience’. That just spreads ignorance.