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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Gamers get a dose of history of network

A documentary covering the history of video gaming entitled “Video Game Invasion: The History of a Global Obsession” premieres this Sunday, March 21, on the Game Show Network.

The program, hosted by famous skateboarder Tony Hawk, details the industry’s timeline with a focus on the people who have made a difference.

Former CEO of Atari, Nolan Bushnell, co-creator of Doom and Quake John Romaro and many other well-known and prominent video game leaders offer their commentaries in the two-hour special.

“Video Game Invasion…” starts at the beginning with the first home console, the Odyssey by Magnavox, whose sole game was like tennis with two large squares for player-controlled paddles and another large square as the bouncing ball.

Its idea was pre-empted by computer science engineer Nolan Bushnell and his creation, Pong.

The first arcade game, Pong had several attributes that the Odyssey didn’t, such as sound and score tallying. The documentary goes on to describe Magnavox’s reaction — attempting legal action — to Bushnell’s game, which bared a striking resemblance to their own.

Other legal issues that plagued the video game industry are covered in the program, including Universal Studios suing Nintendo over Donkey Kong, which happened to appear like King Kong in the late 80s. In addition to Senator Joe Lieberman holding a Congressional hearing over video game violence, a reaction to games like Mortal Kombat and Night Trap.

Video game “firsts” are also given some attention in “Video Game Invasion…” as well as their repercussions.

Early adventure games were entirely text until Roberta and Ken Williams, founders of Sierra On-line, included pictures to go along with their text adventure games. They also pioneered using sound with computer video games, eventually leading to the inclusion of sound cards in every computer sold today.

Once the documentary reaches present-day consoles, it digresses in time to discuss several interesting and little-known subplots within the gaming world.

Stories such as how the PlayStation came to be distributed solely by Sony — it was going to be Nintendo’s first CD-based console — and why Microsoft decided to jump into the console business, adding value to the program’s last half hour.

Origins of the first third-party developer, who developed Tetris and the United States military’s interest in video gaming, are all covered in “Video Game Invasion … ” All of the material is presented in a comprehensive and entertaining fashion that gamers and non-gamers alike will enjoy.

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