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It Takes All Kinds!

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Discover your new favorite videogame!

The first video game, Tennis for Two, was created to amuse people at a party at Brookhaven National Laboratory, on Long Island, NY in October 1958. The game was played on an oscilloscope, a scientific instrument, and looked a lot like Pong with blips of light that could be moved back and forth.

In the 1970s and 1980s, early video games anyone could play were found in arcades, large rooms with standalone games like Asteroids, Tetris, Donkey Kong, and many others. These video games looked like early mechanical pinball games with flippers you controlled to shoot small balls up and around a board to score points. Unlike modern games, early video games were either score-based or limited you to a small number of lives. You needed lots of change to keep playing when your character died or the game got too fast and you lost.

Modern video games have some similarities to early arcade games but the vast range of types of games is amazing. Plus you can play by yourself or with friends. And some games are immersive experiences, either puzzles like Myst where you wander around an empty world trying to figure out what happened or adventure games like Legend of Zelda. I remember being stunned watching my son’s game character sitting on a horse looking down on Jerusalem in the 1100s when he played an early Assassin’s Creed game on our large TV. It was extremely realistic and beautiful with air full of dust, the buildings, and people walking past.

Here are a few of the many types of games available. Maybe find a few you haven’t heard about and play with friends and family. The online version of this article has links to many more types of games.

Mario (Platformer)

Mario is a fun game with running, climbing, and jumping as you explore and work your way through many levels. Like early arcade games, your character can die and that sends you backwards in the game. But you also can learn how to beat each level. Other examples of platformers are Donkey Kong, Sonic, Crash Bandicoot, and Kirby.

Minecraft (Sandbox/Survival)

In Minecraft, players are dropped into a world they can explore, gathering resources to craft new things to survive in a sometimes hostile environment, especially at night or in dark places like caves. Players also can build houses and complicated structures for the joy of building. The key to sandbox/survival games is managing your resources.

Animal Crossing (Life Simulation)

The Animal Crossing game happens within a day with new people and content. Players return for short intervals over time to play and complete the game. Tamagotchi is similar because you feed your digital pet on a regular schedule. Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley are role playing games like Pokemon. In Harvest Moon, you take over a farm and gameplay happens around the farm. In Pokemon, you’re a 10 year old child collecting animals to engage in contests to earn badges.

Fortnite (Third Person/Battle Royale)

The Fortnite game drops players from the sky onto a map and the goal is to be the last one alive. You’re in an open world, like Minecraft, with resources to craft tools and shelter to survive as long as possible.

NBA (Sports)

Modern video games also provide sports experiences. You can play as your favorite teams and players. EA Sports has NBA, Madden, FIFA, NHL, PGA Tour, and F1 video games. There’s also an open source project that updates an early hockey video game no longer supported by its original creators. And, of course, sports video games are one way to get into esports.

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