In the past in 1961, a competent team of programmers led by Steve "Slug" Russell developed the world's first video game: Spacewar. A lot has changed since then, but the fundamentals of what
constitutes a good video game are still the same now as they were back in the 1960s. History of video games
Needless to say, since it ran over a DEC PDP-1 computer, very few people got a chance to play Spacewar. For most people, myself included, their first review of the idea of video games was Space Invaders, which was introduced in 1978.
Space invaders was designed and created by Toshihiro Nishikado, when he was working for the Japanese company Taito Corporation. Although Space Invaders was a simple game with simple graphics, it was a massive success. The explanation for this was 'game play', which is likely the single most important part of any computer game. Without them, a video game rarely is in successful. Even now (2012), the incredible video sophistication available to games developers isn't any alternative to good old-fashioned gameplay.
An interesting point to note about Space Invaders is that Nishikado had originally planned to use tanks or airplanes as the attacking force, but the computers of the time were too slow to let the tanks turn and move smoothly, so the familiar aliens were used instead. Nishikado could have used humans instead of aliens, but he felt that this would have been morally wrong.
During the 1980s, arcade games became very popular in establishments such as pubs, bars, hotels, and so on. These games were not, on the whole, free to play and I can remember spending additional money playing the games than on beer! Companies such as Atari had been dominant in the games market since the late 1970s, and initially the 1980s were a boom period for businesses mixed up in industry. Throughout the last decade though, the market became flooded, quite often with low quality games, and by no more the decade the industry had largely crashed.
There was, however, a fresh emergence to the picture - small hand held devices such as Nintendo's GameBoy started to become popular, and would go on to play a major role in the games industry even today.
Attempt This Web-Site History of video games