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Historical Games!~

Historical Games that influenced the game development world.

Han Liu, Blogger

September 5, 2012

6 Min Read

Games have evolved out of players imaginations in the past few hundred years. From the old fashion card and board games to the newest Kinect motion sensor and countless Apple iTouch phone game applications, they represent the growth of wild human imaginations and creativity.

In today’s world, technology has helped to improve the quality in games we play on our daily lives, such as the Kinect motion sensor video console games, players are now experiencing a whole new level of gameplay through full body movements. While many players prefer the newest video consoles and computer games, meanwhile, it is also important to remember what makes games interesting and fun to play is not only because they are the most current and up-to-date in the technology world, but their rules and gameplay that twist and stir your brain to provide you the most enjoyable experiences.

One of many historical games that require high sense of logical thinking and strategy planning is called the game of “Go” or “Wei-Chi.” It is first introduced by the Chinese hierarchies to make a good use of their time instead of sitting around all day. The game of “Go” is a very strategist and competitive game, and it is often challenged between different families to compare their intelligent and analytical skills, so it has not only become a popular game, but an important part of China’s history. Having being Chinese myself, I have spent much time in my childhood playing the game of Go with my siblings before computer games was first introduced in my family. The game is always played between two players and the goal of the game is to use one’s game pieces to conquer more territories than one’s opponent. Although, there is a list of rules that must be applied in order to play the game fairly and without running into dead ends.

“Go”, is a board game played between exactly two players. The game is played on a square board with crossing lines, and the board sizes are usually “9x9, 13x13, or 19x19” (GoBase.org, “http://gobase.org/studying/rules/?id=11&ln=uk”). To start a new game, players will decide whether they would like black or white pieces, and the one who chooses the black pieces will first start out the game by placing a piece on the board. One might think that the player who picked black will have a better advantage over his or her opponent, but that is when the rule of “Komi” comes in. Since the player who picked black pieces gets to go first, the player with the white pieces will get an additional five and a half points when calculating the final score.

Now, to earn points in the game, one must get a hold of intersections on the game board, and there are two methods of acquiring it. One, to put one’s pieces down on the board during his or her turn to gain territories, or second, taking over his or her opponent’s territory by surrounding the other color pieces with his or her pieces, which allows the player to remove the pieces that has left nowhere to go, which in Chinese it is called “Atari.” Another rule that also helps regulate the game is called the “Ko-Rule,” which limits the number of moves that players are allowed to put down pieces in the same position after being removed by his or her opponent (GoBase.org, “http://gobase.org/studying/rules/?id=11&ln=uk”). In the end, to calculate the final score, each point is award to a player for an intersection on the board that a player has conquered, and the one with the most points will win the game.

These rules are designed to ensure the fairness and continual of the game before a winner is determined. I still play “Go” once in a while to sharpen my analytical skills and to have quality time with my family. The game of “Go” might be an old fashioned board game in contrast to the video and computer games in our current age, but the elements of the gameplay such as strategically thinking and analyzing can be easily related to many current video games that require the player to solve mazes and puzzles.

Aside from the game of Go, another game that was introduced in the early game development ages was the game “Asteroids.” It was first introduced by the Atari Inc in 1979, and “conceived by Lyle Raines”. (The Atari Times, “http://www.ataritimes.com/article.php?showarti cle=174”). “Asteroids” is a pretty well programmed game during the late 1900’s, consider the physics motion laws that has to be scripted to be a part of the gameplay. It is one of my favorite mini video games that have brought pleasure to my childhood life. I first saw the video game in a video game store, and decide that I would get it on my own computer, and that is how I started playing.

“Asteroids” is a vector designed game that is first introduced to play on Arcade Cabinets, or “uprights game machines” in arcades. They are “cabinets which the player stood in front of while they played” (“Level UP: The Guide to Great Video Design”, pg 5, Scott Rogers). It was one of the earlier successful video games that are programmed to play on a computer system, but later on it becomes available even on personal computers. The game “Asteroids” is like any other third person shooter games, the player can see most of the game environment. The player is a spaceship in space, and the goal of the game is to destroy as many asteroids, and alien spaceships in the game to earn a high score while dodging the asteroids and missiles from the alien spaceship. The asteroids come in different of sizes and moves around the map, and it is important to note that bigger asteroids will split into smaller asteroids before they can be destroyed. Moreover, a physic law is applied to the game such that an object in space that is not moving stays motionless, and if it is in motion it will continue moving. The player’s spaceship will start out to be stationary, until the player decides to move to dodge the incoming asteroids or the alien spaceship.

The game of “Asteroids” might sound simple and easy to play, but the truth is, it takes a lot of practices and determination to stay alive while shooting down asteroids and dodging them at the same time. Moreover, the alien spaceships always come from different parts of the map, so it is not easy to keep on guard. These are the experiences I had when I used to play for hours. The biggest difference between “Asteroids” and most recent introduced games is that “Asteroids” have a much simpler graphics and originally comes in black and white; meanwhile, most current games come in beautiful colored graphics. However, it was the first of few shooting game that was introduced in the earlier time, and its popularity is what led to more game designers going towards the path of designing more exciting shooting games.


  1. George, Gregory D. "All About Asteroids." The Atari Times. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2012. .

  2. "GoBase.org - The Rules of Go - All Rules on One Page." GoBase.org - The Rules of Go - All Rules on One Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2012. .

  3. Rogers, Scott. Level Up!: The Guide to Great Video Game Design. Chichester: Wiley, 2012. Print. 

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