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History of Game Design: Prehistory to the late 1980s

Discover how board and arcade games evolved into ground-breaking video game consoles.

History of Game Design: Prehistory to the late 1980s

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archived.
Starts Dec 1
Estimated 5 weeks
4–8 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

About this course

Skip About this course

Want to take a fascinating journey through the history of gaming? Then this course is for you.

Our journey begins with an exploration of how ancient board games evolved into modern board games and arcade games. Then we will explore the development of first- and second-generation video games, and finally, innovative third-generation game technology.

In this course, you will learn about the history of game design, features and applications of the earliest video games and the second-generation video game consoles developed in the 1970s and 1980s. You will also discover how the American video game industry crash of 1983 paved the way for game developers and game companies around the world—particularly Nintendo and Sega from Japan—to dominate the video game market of the late 1980s and develop the third generation of consoles.

Topics covered include:

  • Pre-electronic games
  • Birth of an industry
  • Explosion and crash
  • Rebirth of an industry

At a glance

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated programs:

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • The evolution of games from prehistory to the creation of the personal computer
  • The milestones that led to the development of first- and second-generation games
  • How the creation of third-generation consoles revitalized the video game industry after its crash
  • How to distinguish between the design, features and applications of video games developed from the 1970s to the late 1980s

Module 1: Pre-electronic games

  • Ancient games

  • Commercialization

  • The dawn of computers

Module 2: Birth of an industry

  • Early computer games

  • The Magnavox Odyssey

  • Atari

  • The Pong era

  • Computer games of the 1970s

Module 3: Explosion and crash

  • 1976-1983 in video games

  • Second-generation consoles and games

  • Arcade boom

  • The rise of the personal computer

  • The crash of 1983

Module 4: Rebirth

  • 1984-1989 in video games

  • Rumblings overseas

  • The 8-bit era

  • Ground-breaking console games

About the instructors

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