This is a golden era for gamers, a time where the choice of themes seems almost infinite. No matter what the genre might be, whether it’s fantasy, sport, combat or something else, the range of titles has risen exponentially over the last 30 years or so.

It’s possible, as a modern consumer, to get a little complacent at times and to take this kind of choice for granted so perhaps it’s a good time to recap and take a look at how the gaming industry has evolved.

Not Spoilt for Choice

If we look at the evolution of video games across the last 30 years, it provides something of a time machine for those of us that are old enough to remember. Going back even further, there was the classic Pong, a game where the word ‘basic’ doesn’t really provide justice. Evolution, as far as Pong was concerned, involved turning the game into a doubles version.

Twice the excitement wasn’t quite enough for gamers of the 1970s but fortunately, the landscape was about to improve. Throughout the 1980s and beyond, characters such as Super Mario emerged and our favourite plumber was about to provide access to some of the most successful games of all time including the stellar Mario Kart. 

Further heroes including Sonic the Hedgehog and Donkey Kong began to emerge while we could still enjoy old arcade favourites such as PacMan and Tekken. It would all provide a good grounding for the industry but from 2000 onwards, the gaming sector was ready to explode.

Fantasy World

Perhaps the biggest beneficiaries of the new digital age were the fantasy and action genres. One of the main reasons for this is the development of technology which improved the graphics beyond recognition. There are lots of positive examples including Crash Bandicoot and Call of Duty but perhaps the biggest change came with Final Fantasy. Look at the crude graphics of 1987 before comparing them to 2016’s version and it looks to be a completely different game.

That ability to create new and exciting themes leads to a host of new titles being released every year. For 2019, the fantasy genre has brought us some thrilling new entries including Ashen, Dragon Marked for Death, Persona 5 and many more. If we look at the action and war themes, we could add Gates of Hell, Terminal Conflict, Valor and Victory plus a host of other titles to the list.

Spin Those Reels

Another revolution has been seen in the world of games relating to card and casino play. Rewind some twenty years and many of us will remember the classic, if basic versions of solitaire and other solo games but that was largely where the entertainment ended.

From there, basic card options have progressed to include all of the popular variants of poker plus, on the tables, we have all standard versions of roulette. Games such as Baccarat and Craps have also crossed to gaming consoles and mobile phones while the development of slot play has also underlined how games have changed in recent years.

Slot producers have a free license to employ themes from an almost infinite number of genres. It could be set against an ancient Egypt backdrop, a sports stadium, a fantasy world, a classic horror movie and many more. It all adds up to an impressive range of online slots and the choice is made possible thanks to the ability to adapt that seemingly endless list of themes.

When we talk about improvements in choice, the area of casino and card games is, perhaps, the greatest example of how matters have improved so dramatically.

Sport for All

When reading through our lists of early video games, many players are likely to get a retro feel. It’s all part of old school gaming and it sums up perfectly how the industry has evolved over the years. Take Sensible Soccer as a prime example: First appearing in 1992 for the Amiga and the

Atari, the title retains a cult following even though it was very basic indeed.

Bad graphics, names deliberately spelt incorrectly, Sensible Soccer was typical of the sports-themed games of its day but how things have changed. Walk in to a store that’s displaying the latest FIFA title and, from a brief distance, you may be forgiven for thinking this is live soccer in the physical world. 

The same principle applies to soccer management games and other titles relating to sports such as golf, cricket, basketball and many others. As for tennis, current issues are worlds apart from those early versions of Pong.

Booming Industry

The last set of available figures show that the gaming industry was worth close to $135 billion in 2018. It’s a staggering sum and one that just backs up the huge choice that is available to consumers in the modern day. 

We can easily look back and see just how fast it is growing: Going back just one year to 2017, statistics indicated that the value of the gaming industry fell just short of $109 billion. That’s an increase of over $26 billion in just one year and it highlights the capacity of the sector to build even further.

The concept of choice is behind these impressive numbers. We’ve seen how certain themes have benefitted from the revolution in technology that has allowed them to grow and introduce a host of new titles. As that technology builds, that choice will continue to expand, and the figures will hit even greater heights in the years that lie ahead.

Old School Gamer Old School Gamer (262 Posts)

This is the general editors account for Old School Gamer Magazine. Press releases and other general information sent to Old School Gamer are often posted here.