Edward U. Condon designs a computer for the Westinghouse display at the World’s Fair that plays the traditional game Nim in which players try to avoid picking up the last match. Tens of thousands of people play it, and the computer wins at least 90% of the games.
Claude Shannon lays out the basic guidelines for programming a chess-playing computer in an article, "Programming a Computer for Playing Chess." That same year both he and Englishman Alan Turing create chess programs.
MIT student Steve Russell invents Spacewar!, the first computer-based video game. Over the following decade, the game spreads to computers across the country.
Ralph Baer develops his "Brown Box," the video game prototype that lets users play tennis and other games.
Minnesota college students Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul Dillenberger create Oregon Trail, a simulation of pioneers' westward trek. Originally played on a single teletype machine, Rawitsch later brought the game to the Minnesota Educational Computer Consortium which distributed it nationally.
Nolan Bushnell and Al Alcorn of Atari develop an arcade table tennis game. When they test it in Andy Capps Tavern in Sunnyvale, California, it stopped working. Why? Because people played it so much it jammed with quarters. Pong, an arcade legend, is born.
Atari releases the Video Computer System, more commonly known as Atari 2600. Featuring a joystick, interchangeable cartridges, games in color, and switches for selecting games and setting difficulty levels, it makes millions of Americans home video game players.
A missing slice of pizza inspires Namco's Toru Iwatani to create Pac-Man, which goes on sale in July 1980. That year a version of Pac-Man for Atari 2600 becomes the first arcade hit to appear on a home console. Two years later, Ms. Pac-Man strikes a blow for gender equality by becoming the best-selling arcade game of all time.
Video game fans go ape over Nintendo's Donkey Kong, featuring a character that would become world-famous: Jumpman. Never heard of him? That's because he's better known as Mario—the name he took when his creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, makes him the star of a later game by Nintendo.
Nintendo's Game Boy popularizes handheld gaming. Game Boy is not the first handheld system with interchangeable cartridges Milton Bradley introduced Microvision 10 years earlier but it charms users with its good game play, ease of use, and long battery life.
Microsoft enters the video game market with Xbox and hit games like Halo: Combat Evolved. Four years later, Xbox 360 gains millions of fans with its advanced graphics and seamless online play. (Best game ever)
Microsoft's Xbox 360 brings high-definition realism to the game market, as well as even better multiplayer competitions on Xbox Live and popular titles such as Alan Wake.
The indie game movement comes of age with the tremendous popularity of Minecraft, the addictive brick-building game from Swedish developer Markus Persson.