Monday, January 26, 2009

Rise of the Video Game: Level I, Level II




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I watched these this entire series last week. It's a 5 part series with the first episodes being the most enjoyable since they focus on a historical perspective.


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LEVEL ONE
Premiere: Wednesday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m. ET/PT
In the 1950s, the Cold War quickly evolved between the world superpowers of the United States and the Soviet Union. Mutually assured destruction enforced an uneasy stalemate, yet also drove computer technology to create missile simulations to predict the results of a nuclear war. This same computer technology was used to develop the first computer game in 1958 — Tennis for Two. The Space Race and the Vietnam war coincided with Steve Russell's game Space War! and the emergence of the first true giants in the video game business — Nolan Bushnell and Atari. In post-World War II Japan, electronics and computer technology emerged to rebuild a land and economy devastated by the atomic bomb. Space Invaders and Pac-Man soon followed, and the golden age of video games was born. Among others, individuals featured in this episode include Steve Russell, Nolan Bushnell, Ralph Baer (considered by many to be the inventor of the video game) and Toru Iwatani (Pac-Man designer). Video games emerged as a form of entertainment where the player was in control, as opposed to the more passive diversion of watching television.



LEVEL TWO
Premiere: Wednesday, Nov. 28, at 8 p.m. ET/PT
In the late 1970s and 1980s, instead of controlling "things" like spaceships and tennis rackets, videogame technology let players command recognizable characters with real faces and back stories. Game developers were liberated to create more complex video games with heroic journeys — and Japanese creators like Shigeru Miyamoto rose to prominence with star characters Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda. But in the 1990s, Generation X emerged and the games of their childhood couldn't satisfy the new teen angst that now permeated pop culture. With Sega's Genesis and Sony's PlayStation, gamers dismissed cutesy cartoon characters in favor of grittier heroes like Sonic the Hedgehog and anti-heroes in games like Grand Theft Auto III. As players grew up, their youthful idealism was replaced with a warier view of the world and a yearning for photorealistic, angry anti-heroes. This episode features interviews with Trip Hawkins (Silicon Valley entrepreneur and co-founder of Electronic Arts), Al Lowe (creator of Leisure Suit Larry), Tim Schafer (creator of Full Throttle) and other notable figures in the gaming industry.


Rise of the Video Game: Level 1 - Part I



Rise of the Video Game: Level 1 - Part II
Rise of the Video Game: Level 1 - Part III
Rise of the Video Game: Level 1 - Part IV
Rise of the Video Game: Level 1 - Part V
Rise of the Video Game: Level 2 - Part I
Rise of the Video Game: Level 2 - Part II
Rise of the Video Game: Level 2 - Part III
Rise of the Video Game: Level 2 - Part IV
Rise of the Video Game: Level 2 - Part V

Other Episodes Available:
Rise of the Video Game: Level 3 - Part I
Rise of the Video Game: Level 3 - Part II
Rise of the Video Game: Level 3 - Part III
Rise of the Video Game: Level 3 - Part IV
Rise of the Video Game: Level 3 - Part V
Rise of the Video Game: Level 4 - Part I
Rise of the Video Game: Level 4 - Part II
Rise of the Video Game: Level 4 - Part III
Rise of the Video Game: Level 4 - Part IV
Rise of the Video Game: Level 4 - Part V
Rise of the Video Game: Level 5 - Part I
Rise of the Video Game: Level 5 - Part II
Rise of the Video Game: Level 5 - Part III
Rise of the Video Game: Level 5 - Part IV
Rise of the Video Game: Level 5 - Part V

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