When I’m working on a book project, I always do more research than I actually have space to include in the text itself. In general, this is a great strategy, because it helps me be confident that I’ve found and selected the facts kids will love the most. But it does mean that sometimes – especially in the cases of my new technology books, which are less than 600 words each – there’s a lot of cool stuff that just won’t fit.
So here are some of the most interesting video game facts that didn’t quite make it into How Do Video Games Work?.
- 7% of American kids do not have a computer at home, but do have a video game console.
- The number of game-playing kids between the ages of 2 and 5 increased 17% between 2009 and 2011.
- In 1975, Atari introduced Pong, a game console that only played one game (surprise – it was Pong!). Pong was the #1 gift that Christmas.
- Game objects are characters that respond to the actions of the player (by attacking, for example). They are controlled by a basic form of artificial intelligence, so they can alter their response to fit the situation. AI also prevents the objects from accidentally walking into walls within the game.
- Blockbuster games, like Grand Theft Auto or Disney’s Infinity, take teams of 40-100 developers several years to design, code, and test before sale to the public.
- The original video games were stored on cartridges that had 2-6 kb of memory. Today’s games require dozens to hundreds of Gb of storage.
- When the first game consoles were released, designers didn’t realize that people would buy EVERY game for their new console – the games quickly sold out, and it took more than 3 months for new shipments to arrive in stores.
What about you? Do you remember early video games? Remember having to blow into the cartridge to get the dust and hair out before your console would play it properly? Are video games part of your everyday entertainment, or your least favourite thing to do?