When you look back to the early days of gaming, i.e., the early 1980s, gaming was a casual pastime for a minority. Most gamers would play their favorite games at arcades, with video games regarded as a novelty. 30 years later, and gaming has taken over the world. The rate of the cultural and technological changes taking place in the gaming world is accelerating. Today, gamers fill stadiums to cheer on their favorite League of Legends of Fortnite players. So, how did gaming culture evolve from the days of the arcade to the modern era?
From a Simple Part Time Hobby to a Social Nuisance
The gaming culture did not change a lot in the 1980s because it was still a niche activity, although many of the gaming franchises we love today were started in this era. Things started to change in the 1990s as the content of video games became more realistic and graphic. The mental health effects of video games were questioned – and are still being questioned to this day – with many people seeing games as a public safety issue. Fortunately, numerous studies have debunked these myths and ways of thinking.
LAN gaming became quite prominent in the 2000s as more people began understanding the power of networking and how to connect more than one computer together to form a Local Area Network. There was no shortage of games that players could play with each other, and the concept of LAN gaming was the first glimpse that people had of what e-sports and video game tournaments could look like.
Although many people have since switched to online gaming through online multiplayer games, smaller LAM gaming parties are still a viable option, especially in cases where the owner of the main computer only wants to invite a select number of people to the party. For this, they would need a VPN that allows them total control over their network.
Although built for business environments, a service like Barracuda VPN is a great option for LAN gaming, with much of the setup and usage being comparable to that of a business environment. Administrators can decide who to let into their gaming sessions, while privacy and security are assured because of the client-less nature of such a VPN connection. To see how the Barracuda VPN can benefit your LAN gaming and business use cases, you can read a detailed Barracuda review on the product’s review page via the Top10 site.
Explosion of Online Gaming
At the time LAN gaming was gaining popularity, the internet was too. The problem is that a lot of people still had slow internet connections, and so many still played alone or in a LAN setting. However, as the internet evolved and internet speeds improved, online gaming started taking off. Instead of gaming worlds built on computers, games like World of Warcraft and EverQuest built their gaming worlds online. Millions of players joined in on the fun as internet speeds, and computer capabilities increased.
In addition to this, we saw many classic games, typically played in person, develop online. Microsoft Solitaire is the most notable example, but other games were also introduced online like Cribbage and Hearts. Now these games are played more online than they were in person, and you can play and connect with people around the world.
Even with this increase in internet speeds, precise play was still challenging due to the lack of high-speed internet. Competitive and online gaming would explode again in the 2010s as new internet speed milestones were hit and more game developers embraced online gaming. At the same time, gaming communities on forums such as Reddit and 4Chan were up and coming. People would come together in these spaces to discuss their favorite games and find information on new games or games in the pipeline.
The Rise of Esports and Social Issues
Gaming went mainstream in the 2010s, with esports tournaments arranged for top professional players. A career in gaming became a viable option, but this brought some issues. A glaring issue is that over 60% of all gamers and gaming professionals are male. This statistic is not surprising, considering that male players have dominated gaming for more than 30 years. However, the perceived toxic nature of gaming as a whole and provocative marketing that uses female characters are going away, with issues of female players and those in the LGBTQIA community being addressed.
Massive Online Superstars
Once gaming went online, gamers started posting their gameplay online and streaming live. Both these options helped them build massive audiences. Platforms like Twitch took advantage of this, offering players an audience and a way to make some money from gaming. These online gaming superstars are a critical part of the gaming world as they are the bridge between players and game developers. Many of these gamers have millions of adoring fans, with many seeing great success in their streaming and gaming endeavors.
Gaming has come a long way, evolving from the days of simple 2D sprites to allowing people to make money streaming gameplay online. There is no telling where the gaming culture will go next, but it is bound to go somewhere exciting.