Welcome to the world as we know it. Take the time this Easter weekend to smell the daffodils and then mow them accidentals because the grass needs cutting. It may come as a bit of a shocker to some of you, but I am not a religious man. I have my opinions and if you want to buy me a beer or several I will dispense my wisdom on the subject for many drunken hours. Today though I shall be talking about the way we/I have evolved.
Let us start where all good tales start, the beginning. It would be kind of dumb to start at the end. The first cavemen to wander the Earth had it a little rough. Surviving was probably higher on their day-to-day list rather than playing games. Unless you count hunting a wooly mammoth as a game that is. Trawling the internet I managed to find this picture of a caveman playing with the first Etch-a-Sketch. The biggest downfall I could see is that once you had drawn your picture you would have to wait for the first earthquake to make your picture disappear. Is it any wonder that the caveman died out?
So from 20,000 BC to the 18th century nothing happened at all of any importance. Playing games were not of importance to children of the day. Surviving childhood was a major concern. Infant mortality rates were through the roof and if you didn’t go through the roof you were either sent up the chimney to clean it or down the coal mine. Child labour was rampant and Mill owners thought nothing of sending children into machines to fix them, while they were running. If this was to happen today I would hope the child sent into the machine would at least have the common sense to be humming the Mission Impossible theme while doing so?
It wasn’t until the invention of the hoop and stick that children had something to do other than sell oranges or pick pockets. My kids often ask me if I had a hoop and stick, to which I reply, “Don’t ask me any questions until you are done with the chimney.” Children would have hoop and stick races through the streets of London (probably) then the revolution started and the cup and ball was invented. Parents hated this! They had to line up at all the stores of the day and get the damn cup and ball for the kids, the christmas sales were through the roof, (probably because someone stole the roof) Cup and Ball was all the rage, if you didn’t have one at school then you were a nobody. (again probably)
Moving on because nothing else interesting happened until 1969. When I was born. And then lets jump on to 1977 because those first few years have no relevance to what I’m rambling on about.
The cup and ball was a great leap forward in games. It was for individuals, you could play on your own. No longer would any adult hear a child say “I’m Bored!” Lucky for me and the invention of plastics because a plastic cup and ball is so much better than a wooden one, right?
The handheld cames that came out in the mid seventies were great. for £1.99 ($3.15 in american today) parents could keep their kids occupied for hours why they did whatever parents do.
The Pocketeers were not only games, but also collectors items, once you had one, you wanted the whole set. The Fruit Machine version was the first one I had, I spent hours pressing the button and watching those wheels spin around. And around, and, well you get it.
As I remember my pal Steve Batt had this motor racing version, I really wanted this one but never did get hold of one. For a review of all things Pocketeers check out the World of Stuart site (wait until you finished the rest of the blog though!)
Life could not be any better, and then evolution carried on! One day I saw the Game and Watch. Not only was it a game! guess what! It was a watch too. When I first saw the Ball game, I was disappointed that there was no cup. OK that’s a lie, I never thought that, all I though was, I WANT ONE! The Ball juggler was a step up from the plastic games, it was all space age and computerized! Again there were many versions, but I only ever owned the Ball Juggler. (Just typing that made me laugh – Still a schoolboy at heart!)
Sadly, I had to grow up. And as I grew I watched games grow. Computers went from having the brain of a gnat through to something way smarter than I ever will be. From the Atari, the Spectrums, the commodore, The various PCs, Segas, playstations, X-Boxes. Evolution of games is never going to stop. Or has it reached its end?
My daughter in the basement. Evolution has gone full circle!
*please note, this blog contains many historical facts that are all wrong, do not use any data found here in school work!