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Novice Karate Group (ages 8 & up)

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A personal computer game, also known as computer game or PC game, describes a game played on a personal computer (PC). Its defining characteristics include: more diverse and user-determined gaming hardware and software; and generally greater capacity in input, processing, video and audio output. Computer games became a form of video games.


The uncoordinated nature of the PC game market make precisely assessing its size difficult.[1] PC remains the most important gaming platform with 60% of developers being most interested in developing a game for the platform and 66% of developers currently developing a game for PC.[3][unreliable source?] In 2018, the global PC games market was valued at about $27.7 billion.[4][unreliable source?] According to research data provided by Statista in 2020 there were an estimated 1.75 billion PC gamers worldwide, up from 1.5 billion PC gaming users in the previous year.[5][unreliable source?] Newzoo reports that the PC gaming sector is the third-largest category across all platforms as of 2016[update], with the console sector second-largest, and mobile gaming sector biggest. 2.2 billion video gamers generate US$101.1 billion in revenue, excluding hardware costs. "Digital game revenues will account for $94.4 billion or 87% of the global gaming market.[6][7] The APAC region was estimated to generate $46.6 billion in 2016, or 47% of total global video game revenues (note, not only "PC" games). China alone accounts for half of APAC's revenues (at $24.4 billion), cementing its place as the largest video game market in the world, ahead of the US's anticipated market size of $23.5 billion.[citation needed]

The first generation of computer games were often text-based adventures or interactive fiction, in which the player communicated with the computer by entering commands through a keyboard. An early text-adventure, Adventure, was developed for the PDP-11 minicomputer by Will Crowther in 1976, and expanded by Don Woods in 1977.[10] By the 1980s, personal computers had become powerful enough to run games like Adventure, but by this time, graphics were beginning to become an important factor in games. Later games combined textual commands with basic graphics, as seen in the SSI Gold Box games such as Pool of Radiance, or The Bard's Tale, for example.

By the late 1970s to early 1980s, games were developed and distributed through hobbyist groups and gaming magazines, such as Creative Computing and later Computer Gaming World. These publications provided game code that could be typed into a computer and played, encouraging readers to submit their own software to competitions.[11] Players could modify the BASIC source code of even commercial games.[12] Microchess was one of the first games for microcomputers which was sold to the public. First sold in 1977, Microchess eventually sold over 50,000 copies on cassette tape.

As with second-generation video game consoles at the time, early home computer game companies capitalized on successful arcade games at the time with ports or clones of popular arcade video games.[13][14] By 1982, the top-selling games for the Atari 400 and 800 were ports of Frogger and Centipede, while the top-selling game for the TI-99/4A was the Space Invaders clone TI Invaders.[13] That same year, Pac-Man was ported to the Atari 8-bit computers,[14] while Donkey Kong was licensed for the Coleco Adam.[15] In late 1981, Atari, Inc. attempted to take legal action against unauthorized Pac-Man clones, despite some of these predating Atari's exclusive rights to the home versions of Namco's game.[14]

As the video game market became flooded with poor-quality cartridge games created by numerous companies attempting to enter the market, and overproduction of high-profile releases such as the Atari 2600 adaptations of Pac-Man and E.T. grossly underperformed, the popularity of personal computers for education rose dramatically. In 1983, consumer interest in console video games dwindled to historical lows, as interest in games on personal computers rose.[16] The effects of the crash were largely limited to the console market, as established companies such as Atari posted record losses over subsequent years. Conversely, the home computer market boomed, as sales of low-cost color computers such as the Commodore 64 rose to record highs and developers such as Electronic Arts benefited from increasing interest in the platform.[16]

To enhance the immersive experience with their unrealistic graphics and electronic sound, early PC games included extras such as the peril-sensitive sunglasses that shipped with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or the science fiction novella included with Elite. These extras gradually became less common, but many games were still sold in the traditional oversized boxes that used to hold the extra "feelies". Today, such extras are usually found only in Special Edition versions of games, such as Battlechests from Blizzard.[19]

Among launch titles for the IBM Personal Computer (PC) in 1981 was Microsoft Adventure, which IBM described as bringing "players into a fantasy world of caves and treasures".[20] BYTE that year stated that the computer's speed and sophistication made it "an excellent gaming device", and IBM and others sold games like Microsoft Flight Simulator. The PC's CGA graphics and speaker sound were poor, however, and most customers bought the powerful but expensive computer for business.[21][22] One ComputerLand owner estimated in 1983 that a quarter of corporate executives with computers "have a game hidden somewhere in their drawers",[23] and InfoWorld in 1984 reported that "in offices all over America (more than anyone realizes) executives and managers are playing games on their computers",[24] but software companies found selling games for the PC difficult; an observer said that year that Flight Simulator had sold hundreds of thousands of copies because customers with corporate PCs could claim that it was a "simulation".[25]

From mid-1985, however, what Compute! described as a "wave" of inexpensive IBM PC clones from American and Asian companies, such as the Tandy 1000, caused prices to decline; by the end of 1986, the equivalent to a $1600 real IBM PC with 256K RAM and two disk drives cost as little as $600, lower than the price of the Apple IIc. Consumers began purchasing DOS computers for the home in large numbers. While often purchased to do work on evenings and weekends, clones' popularity caused consumer-software companies to increase the number of IBM-compatible products, including those developed specifically for the PC as opposed to porting from other computers. Bing Gordon of Electronic Arts reported that customers used computers for games more than one fifth of the time whether purchased for work or a hobby, with many who purchased computers for other reasons finding PC games "a pretty satisfying experience".[26]

By 1987, the PC market was growing so quickly that the formerly business-only computer had become the largest and fastest-growing, and most important platform for computer game companies. DOS computers dominated the home, supplanting Commodore and Apple. More than a third of games sold in North America were for the PC, twice as many as those for the Apple II and even outselling those for the Commodore 64.[27] With the EGA video card, an inexpensive clone had better graphics and more memory for games than the Commodore or Apple,[28][29] and the Tandy 1000's enhanced graphics, sound, and built-in joystick ports made it the best platform for IBM PC-compatible games before the VGA era.[22]

By 1988, the enormous popularity of the Nintendo Entertainment System had greatly affected the computer-game industry. A Koei executive claimed that "Nintendo's success has destroyed the [computer] software entertainment market". A Mindscape executive agreed, saying that "Unfortunately, its effect has been extremely negative. Without question, Nintendo's success has eroded software sales. There's been a much greater falling off of disk sales than anyone anticipated." A third attributed the end of growth in sales of the Commodore 64 to the console, and Trip Hawkins called Nintendo "the last hurrah of the 8-bit world". Experts were unsure whether it affected 16-bit computer games,[30] but Hawkins, in 1990, nonetheless had to deny rumors that Electronic Arts would withdraw from computers and only produce console games.[31] By 1993, ASCII Entertainment reported at a Software Publishers Association conference that the market for console games ($5.9 billion in revenue) was 12 times that of the computer-game market ($430 million).[32]

However, computer games did not disappear. By 1989, Computer Gaming World reported that "the industry is moving toward heavy use of VGA graphics".[33] While some games were advertised with VGA support at the start of the year, they usually supported EGA graphics through VGA cards. By the end of 1989, however, most publishers moved to at supporting at least 320x200 MCGA, a subset of VGA.[34] VGA gave the PC graphics that outmatched the Amiga. Increasing adoption of the computer mouse, driven partially by the success of adventure games such as the highly successful King's Quest series, and high resolution bitmap displays allowed the industry to include increasingly high-quality graphical interfaces in new releases.

By 1990, DOS was 65% of the computer-game market, with the Amiga at 10%; all other computers, including the Apple Macintosh, were below 10% and declining. Although both Apple and IBM tried to avoid customers associating their products with "game machines", the latter acknowledged that VGA, audio, and joystick options for its PS/1 computer were popular.[35] In 1991, id Software produced an early first-person shooter, Hovertank 3D, which was the company's first in their line of highly influential games in the genre. There were also several other companies that produced early first-person shooters, such as Arsys Software's Star Cruiser,[36] which featured fully 3D polygonal graphics in 1988,[37] and Accolade's Day of the Viper in 1989. Id Software went on to develop Wolfenstein 3D in 1992, which helped to popularize the genre, kick-starting a genre that would become one of the highest-selling in modern times.[38] The game was originally distributed through the shareware distribution model, allowing players to try a limited part of the game for free but requiring payment to play the rest, and represented one of the first uses of texture mapping graphics in a popular game, along with Ultima Underworld.[39] 041b061a72


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