Thunken Philosofers

Game systems on entertainment center with Thunken Philosofers logo
Episode 4 - Gaming

In Episode 4 of Thunken Philosofers, we have a conversation about video games.  We go over what video games have meant to us, their role in society, and where we think they might be going.

Show Notes:


  • Brief History of Video Games

    • The first game system designed for commercial home use – the “Brown Box,” in 1967. The “Brown Box” was a vacuum tube-circuit that could be connected to a television set and allowed two users to control cubes that chased each other on the screen. The “Brown Box” could be programmed to play a variety of games, including ping pong, checkers and four sports games.

    • The “Brown Box” was licensed to Magnavox, which released the system as the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972. It preceded Atari by a few months, which is often mistakenly thought of as the first games console.

    • 1970s – Roots of multiplayer in chain restaurants around the US. The first example of players competing on separate screens came in 1973 with “Empire” — a strategic turn-based game for up to eight players — which was created for the PLATO network system. (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operation)

    • Too many gaming consoles, and too few interesting, engaging new games to play on them, eventually led to the 1983 North American video games crash

    • Fifth generation game consoles began bringing back popularity in the 90’s with The Playstation (1995) and the Nintendo 64 (1996)

    • Multiplayer gaming over networks “LAN Parties” took over in the 90’s with Pathway to Darkness (1993). LAN – Local Area Network

    • Microsoft entered industry in 2001 with the release of the Xbox and exclusive games such as Halo: Combat Evolved

    • Online video gaming became possible with the internet by the late 90’s and common features by the early 2000’s

    • 2003 – Valve launches their PC gaming service called Steam as a digital video game distribution service

    • 2007 – Smartphones and app stores hit the market – gaming goes mobile

    • 2016 – At least 230 companies are developing Virtual Reality related products and VR games are already on the market

  • Future of Gaming

    • Are VR games the future of the industry or just a part of the pie?

    • Where are consoles going to go from here?

      • They won’t ever be able to keep up with PC’s but will they still be a vital part of the industry?

    • What’s the future look like for narrative driven games when free to play games are becoming more popular?