The Technology that Shaped the Poker and Console Entertainment Industry

Super Mario had a strong influence on the gaming industry.

Advertisement

Retro games aren’t only popular in the modern gaming industry because they evoke feelings of nostalgia, they are prevalent due to the fact that they serve as a reminder of where it all began. Without the rudimentary games of old, the sprawling, immersive and lucrative gaming industry of today wouldn’t exist. Developers have taken elements of the older games, and over many years have been able to refine and enhance them. Early offerings like Super Mario for consoles and simple poker games for PC acted as the foundations for the gaming industry which has become Eiffel Tower-like in stature. But while the French landmark is finished and will remain as it is, there is still a lot of growth to come in gaming.

Advertisement

What were the games that started it all?

Advertisement

Super Mario Bros kickstarted the console gaming industry

Advertisement

When it comes to thinking about the games which helped kickstart the sprawling entertainment industry of today, it is difficult to pinpoint an exact starting point. There were many developers and games that contributed, but it could be argued that the creation of Pong was the seed that caused everything else to sprout up. The Atari game was released in 1972, and the premise was for two players to hit a ball from one side to the other, like a game of tennis.

Advertisement

After the release of Pong, a vast arcade industry emerged throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s. But developers soon realized that the clunky machines were not practical in the long run, and that downsizing was essential. This is why consoles came about. While Pong may have laid the foundations for what followed, it didn’t shape the industry we know today because modern arcade games are few and far between.

Advertisement

Early console offerings, on the other hand, did wonders for the industry which exists now. The release of Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985 is one of the most important landmarks in the gaming timeline. It could be argued that this title singlehandedly brought home gaming to the mainstream, and its success led the industry to snowball from there. This simple two-dimensional platformer went on to inspire the epic adventure games of the modern age. Nintendo has gone on to become one of the most important gaming companies, and now the Japanese company is worth more than $40 billion.

Advertisement

A similar thing happened in the online poker sector. When the first online poker sites emerged in the late 1990s, they were simplistic and the animations were jerky. There were clearly a number of issues which needed ironing out, because the online poker boom didn’t occur until around 2003. But as internet speeds increased and a collection of developers made progress in ironing out the kinks, online poker became even more popular than the live version.

Advertisement

Modern poker is worlds apart from its early days

When poker first came to PC, it was similar to the card games like hearts and solitaire which could be found on the early versions of Windows. These games functioned properly in digital form and had all the same elements of the real-world offerings, but they lacked any kind of panache or charm. There were also precious few variants of the game on offer. Players who went online to play poker could usually find the Texas Hold’em variant, with the option to participate in tournaments or cash games.

Advertisement

The fierce competition in the online poker industry helped shape the detailed, rich, and exciting modern games found today. Providers realized that they needed to innovate in order to stand out from the competition and attract players. For this reason, improvements within the sector were swift, and online poker became a global phenomenon.

Advertisement

Texas Hold’em made poker famous all over the world, but now there are a number of other variants available to play online. These include options like Omaha and Stud, which give players a chance to mix things up a bit. Sites like 888poker have gone even further with their poker options, and have come out with some advanced options for the modern player. Games like Blast and Snap poker, for instance, are faster-paced than traditional games. These are designed to appeal to the growing mobile audience.

In addition to the wealth of offerings online, the graphics and gameplay have evolved greatly since the early days. Now the range of colors, animations, and the seamless way in-game actions are performed makes for an immersive and highly enjoyable poker experience.

The impact has been astonishing – What could the future hold?

The impact that the early offerings in both the console and poker industries had on the complex entertainment on offer today is truly astonishing. What’s most interesting is the way that the path from the embryonic stages of the gaming industry to the sprawling world we know today can be tracked in the same way Homo sapiens can be traced back to Homo erectus. Just as the human race is not yet fully evolved and is continuing to develop, so too is the gaming industry. The exciting thing, though, is that the gaming industry is moving forward at a much faster rate.

Knowing what we know now about the staggering exponential growth of the gaming industry, we can confidently say that someone looking at the games of today in 30 years’ time will consider them to be rudimentar. It is hard to imagine what players will be doing three decades into the future, but there is a strong possibility that it will involve virtual reality. Perhaps players will be able to enter virtual worlds and feel as though they are actually there, playing the games in person.

It is always good to pay homage to the first games which broke the mold and shaped the thriving entertainment industry we know today. The amazing thing is that games haven’t even reached their endpoint. In the next generation there will be even more advancements, and the epic games we play right now will be considered retro.

Emma C
Freelance Writer