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A personal computer game, also known as computer game or PC game, is a type of video game played on a personal computer (PC) rather than a console or arcade machine. Its defining characteristics include: more diverse and user-determined gaming hardware and software; and generally greater capacity in input, processing, video and audio output. The uncoordinated nature of the PC game market, and now its lack of physical media, make precisely assessing its size difficult.[1] In 2018, the global PC games market was valued at about $27.7 billion.[2]

Home computer games became popular following the video game crash of 1983, leading to the era of the "bedroom coder". In the 1990s, PC games lost mass market traction to console games on the fifth generation such as the Sega Saturn, Nintendo 64 and PlayStation, before enjoying a resurgence in the mid-2000s through digital distribution on online service providers such as Steam and GOG.com.[1][3]

Newzoo reports that the PC gaming sector is the third-largest category (and estimated in decline) across all platforms as of 2016, with the console sector second-largest, and mobile gaming sector biggest. 2.2 billion video gamers generate US$101.1 billion in revenue, excluding hardware costs. "Digital game revenues will account for $94.4 billion or 87% of the global market. Mobile gaming is the most lucrative segment, with smartphone and tablet gaming growing 19% year on year to $46.1 billion, claiming 42% of the market. In 2020, mobile gaming will represent just more than half of the total games market. [...] China expected to generate $27.5 billion, or one-quarter of all revenues in 2017."[4][5]

PC gaming is considered synonymous (by Newzoo and others) with IBM Personal Computer-compatible systems; while mobile devices – smartphones and tablets, such as those running on Android or iOS platforms – are also PCs in the general sense. The APAC region was estimated to generate $46.6 billion in 2016, or 47% of total global video game revenues (note, not only "PC" games). China alone accounts for half of APAC's revenues (at $24.4 billion), cementing its place as the largest video game market in the world, ahead of the US's anticipated market size of $23.5 billion. China is expected to have 53% of its video game revenues come from mobile gaming in 2017 (46% in 2016).

Discover more about PC game related topics

Arcade cabinet

Arcade cabinet

An arcade cabinet, also known as an arcade machine or a coin-op cabinet or coin-op machine, is the housing within which an arcade game's electronic hardware resides. Most cabinets designed since the mid-1980s conform to the Japanese Amusement Machine Manufacturers Association (JAMMA) wiring standard. Some include additional connectors for features not included in the standard.

Home computer

Home computer

Home computers were a class of microcomputers that entered the market in 1977 and became common during the 1980s. They were marketed to consumers as affordable and accessible computers that, for the first time, were intended for the use of a single nontechnical user. These computers were a distinct market segment that typically cost much less than business, scientific or engineering-oriented computers of the time such as those running CP/M or the IBM PC, and were generally less powerful in terms of memory and expandability. However, a home computer often had better graphics and sound than contemporary business computers. Their most common uses were playing video games, but they were also regularly used for word processing and programming.

Mass market

Mass market

The term "mass market" refers to a market for goods produced on a large scale for a significant number of end consumers. The mass market differs from the niche market in that the former focuses on consumers with a wide variety of backgrounds with no identifiable preferences and expectations in a large market segment. Traditionally, businesses reach out to the mass market with advertising messages through a variety of media including radio, TV, newspapers and the Web.

Console game

Console game

A console game is a type of video game consisting of images and often sounds generated by a video game console, which are displayed on a television or similar audio-video system, and that can be manipulated by a player. This manipulation usually takes place using a handheld device connected to the console, called a controller. The controller generally contains several buttons and directional controls such as analogue joysticks, each of which has been assigned a purpose for interacting with and controlling the images on the screen. The display, speakers, console, and controls of a console can also be incorporated into one small object known as a handheld game.

Fifth generation of video game consoles

Fifth generation of video game consoles

The fifth generation era refers to computer and video games, video game consoles, and handheld gaming consoles dating from approximately February 20, 1993 to March 23, 2006. For home consoles, the best-selling console was the Sony PlayStation, followed by the Nintendo 64, and then the Sega Saturn. The PlayStation also had a redesigned version, the PSone, which was launched on July 7, 2000.

Digital distribution

Digital distribution

Digital distribution, also referred to as content delivery, online distribution, or electronic software distribution, among others, is the delivery or distribution of digital media content such as audio, video, e-books, video games, and other software.

GOG.com

GOG.com

GOG.com is a digital distribution platform for video games and films. It is operated by GOG sp. z o.o., a wholly owned subsidiary of CD Projekt based in Warsaw, Poland. GOG.com delivers DRM-free video games through its digital platform for Microsoft Windows, macOS and Linux.

IBM Personal Computer

IBM Personal Computer

The IBM Personal Computer is the first microcomputer released in the IBM PC model line and the basis for the IBM PC compatible de facto standard. Released on August 12, 1981, it was created by a team of engineers and designers directed by Don Estridge in Boca Raton, Florida.

Android (operating system)

Android (operating system)

Android is a mobile operating system based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open-source software, designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Android is developed by a consortium of developers known as the Open Handset Alliance, though its most widely used version is primarily developed by Google. It was unveiled in November 2007, with the first commercial Android device, the HTC Dream, being launched in September 2008.

IOS

IOS

iOS is a mobile operating system developed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its hardware. It is the operating system that powers many of the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone; the term also includes the system software for iPads predating iPadOS—which was introduced in 2019—as well as on the iPod Touch devices—which were discontinued in mid-2022. It is the world's second-most widely installed mobile operating system, after Android. It is the basis for three other operating systems made by Apple: iPadOS, tvOS, and watchOS. It is proprietary software, although some parts of it are open source under the Apple Public Source License and other licenses.

Asia-Pacific

Asia-Pacific

Asia-Pacific (APAC) is the part of the world near the western Pacific Ocean. The Asia-Pacific region varies in area depending on the context, but it often includes countries in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania that border the Pacific Ocean. Afghanistan, the Indian subcontinent, Mongolia, Myanmar, and the Russian Far East are generally included in a wider Asia-Pacific region.

China

China

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population exceeding 1.4 billion, slightly ahead of India. China spans the equivalent of five time zones and borders fourteen countries by land, the most of any country in the world, tied with Russia. With an area of approximately 9.6 million square kilometres (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the world's third largest country by total land area. The country consists of 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four municipalities, and two special administrative regions. The national capital is Beijing, and the most populous city and financial center is Shanghai.

History

Mainframes and minicomputers

Spacewar!, developed for the PDP-1 in 1961, is often credited as being the second ever computer game. The game consisted of two player-controlled spaceships maneuvering around a central star, each attempting to destroy the other.
Spacewar!, developed for the PDP-1 in 1961, is often credited as being the second ever computer game. The game consisted of two player-controlled spaceships maneuvering around a central star, each attempting to destroy the other.

Bertie the Brain was one of the first game playing machines developed. It was built in 1950 by Josef Kates. It measured more than four meters tall, and was displayed at the Canadian National Exhibition that year.[6]

Although personal computers only became popular with the development of the microprocessor and microcomputer, computer gaming on mainframes and minicomputers had previously already existed. OXO, an adaptation of tic-tac-toe for the EDSAC, debuted in 1952. Another pioneer computer game was developed in 1961, when MIT students Martin Graetz and Alan Kotok, with MIT student Steve Russell, developed Spacewar! on a PDP-1 mainframe computer used for statistical calculations.[7]

The first generation of computer games were often text-based adventures or interactive fiction, in which the player communicated with the computer by entering commands through a keyboard. An early text-adventure, Adventure, was developed for the PDP-11 minicomputer by Will Crowther in 1976, and expanded by Don Woods in 1977.[8] By the 1980s, personal computers had become powerful enough to run games like Adventure, but by this time, graphics were beginning to become an important factor in games. Later games combined textual commands with basic graphics, as seen in the SSI Gold Box games such as Pool of Radiance, or The Bard's Tale, for example.

Early personal computer games

By the late 1970s to early 1980s, games were developed and distributed through hobbyist groups and gaming magazines, such as Creative Computing and later Computer Gaming World. These publications provided game code that could be typed into a computer and played, encouraging readers to submit their own software to competitions.[9] Players could modify the BASIC source code of even commercial games.[10] Microchess was one of the first games for microcomputers which was sold to the public. First sold in 1977, Microchess eventually sold over 50,000 copies on cassette tape.

As with second-generation video game consoles at the time, early home computer game companies capitalized on successful arcade games at the time with ports or clones of popular arcade video games.[11][12] By 1982, the top-selling games for the Atari 400 and 800 were ports of Frogger and Centipede, while the top-selling game for the TI-99/4A was the Space Invaders clone TI Invaders.[11] That same year, Pac-Man was ported to the Atari 8-bit computers,[12] while Donkey Kong was licensed for the Coleco Adam.[13] In late 1981, Atari, Inc. attempted to take legal action against unauthorized Pac-Man clones, despite some of these predating Atari's exclusive rights to the home versions of Namco's game.[12]

Industry crash and aftermath

As the video game market became flooded with poor-quality cartridge games created by numerous companies attempting to enter the market, and overproduction of high-profile releases such as the Atari 2600 adaptations of Pac-Man and E.T. grossly underperformed, the popularity of personal computers for education rose dramatically. In 1983, consumer interest in console video games dwindled to historical lows, as interest in games on personal computers rose.[14] The effects of the crash were largely limited to the console market, as established companies such as Atari posted record losses over subsequent years. Conversely, the home computer market boomed, as sales of low-cost color computers such as the Commodore 64 rose to record highs and developers such as Electronic Arts benefited from increasing interest in the platform.[14]

Growth of home computer games

The North American console market experienced a resurgence in the United States with the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). In Europe, computer gaming continued to boom for many years after.[14] Computers such as the ZX Spectrum and BBC Micro were successful in the European market, where the NES was not as successful despite its monopoly in Japan and North America. The only 8-bit console to have any success in Europe would be the Master System.[15] Meanwhile, in Japan, both consoles and computers became major industries, with the console market dominated by Nintendo and the computer market dominated by NEC's PC-88 (1981) and PC-98 (1982). A key difference between Western and Japanese computers at the time was the display resolution, with Japanese systems using a higher resolution of 640x400 to accommodate Japanese text, which in turn affected video game design and allowed more detailed graphics. Japanese computers were also using Yamaha's FM synth sound boards from the early 1980s.[16]

To enhance the immersive experience with their unrealistic graphics and electronic sound, early PC games included extras such as the peril-sensitive sunglasses that shipped with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or the science fiction novella included with Elite. These extras gradually became less common, but many games were still sold in the traditional oversized boxes that used to hold the extra "feelies". Today, such extras are usually found only in Special Edition versions of games, such as Battlechests from Blizzard.[17]

During the 16-bit era, the Commodore Amiga and Atari ST became popular in Europe, while the PC-98, Sharp X68000, and FM Towns became popular in Japan. The Amiga, X68000 and FM Towns were capable of producing near arcade-quality hardware sprite graphics and sound quality when they first released in the mid-to-late 1980s.[16]

Growth of IBM PC compatible games

Among launch titles for the IBM Personal Computer (PC) in 1981 was Microsoft Adventure, which IBM described as bringing "players into a fantasy world of caves and treasures".[18] BYTE that year stated that the computer's speed and sophistication made it "an excellent gaming device", and IBM and others sold games like Microsoft Flight Simulator. The PC's CGA graphics and speaker sound were poor, however, and most customers bought the powerful but expensive computer for business.[19][20] One ComputerLand owner estimated in 1983 that a quarter of corporate executives with computers "have a game hidden somewhere in their drawers",[21] and InfoWorld in 1984 reported that "in offices all over America (more than anyone realizes) executives and managers are playing games on their computers",[22] but software companies found selling games for the PC difficult; an observer said that year that Flight Simulator had sold hundreds of thousands of copies because customers with corporate PCs could claim that it was a "simulation".[23]

From mid-1985, however, what Compute! described as a "wave" of inexpensive IBM PC clones from American and Asian companies, such as the Tandy 1000, caused prices to decline; by the end of 1986, the equivalent to a $1600 real IBM PC with 256K RAM and two disk drives cost as little as $600, lower than the price of the Apple IIc. Consumers began purchasing DOS computers for the home in large numbers. While often purchased to do work on evenings and weekends, clones' popularity caused consumer-software companies to increase the number of IBM-compatible products, including those developed specifically for the PC as opposed to porting from other computers. Bing Gordon of Electronic Arts reported that customers used computers for games more than one fifth of the time whether purchased for work or a hobby, with many who purchased computers for other reasons finding PC games "a pretty satisfying experience".[24]

By 1987, the PC market was growing so quickly that the formerly business-only computer had become the largest and fastest-growing, and most important platform for computer game companies. DOS computers dominated the home, supplanting Commodore and Apple. More than a third of games sold in North America were for the PC, twice as many as those for the Apple II and even outselling those for the Commodore 64.[25] With the EGA video card, an inexpensive clone had better graphics and more memory for games than the Commodore or Apple,[26][27] and the Tandy 1000's enhanced graphics, sound, and built-in joystick ports made it the best platform for IBM PC-compatible games before the VGA era.[20]

By 1988, the enormous popularity of the Nintendo Entertainment System had greatly affected the computer-game industry. A Koei executive claimed that "Nintendo's success has destroyed the [computer] software entertainment market". A Mindscape executive agreed, saying that "Unfortunately, its effect has been extremely negative. Without question, Nintendo's success has eroded software sales. There's been a much greater falling off of disk sales than anyone anticipated." A third attributed the end of growth in sales of the Commodore 64 to the console, and Trip Hawkins called Nintendo "the last hurrah of the 8-bit world". Experts were unsure whether it affected 16-bit computer games,[28] but Hawkins, in 1990, nonetheless had to deny rumors that Electronic Arts would withdraw from computers and only produce console games.[29] By 1993, ASCII Entertainment reported at a Software Publishers Association conference that the market for console games ($5.9 billion in revenue) was 12 times that of the computer-game market ($430 million).[30]

However, computer games did not disappear. By 1989, Computer Gaming World reported that "the industry is moving toward heavy use of VGA graphics".[31] While some games were advertised with VGA support at the start of the year, they usually supported EGA graphics through VGA cards. By the end of 1989, however, most publishers moved to at supporting at least 320x200 MCGA, a subset of VGA.[32] VGA gave the PC graphics that outmatched the Amiga. Increasing adoption of the computer mouse, driven partially by the success of adventure games such as the highly successful King's Quest series, and high resolution bitmap displays allowed the industry to include increasingly high-quality graphical interfaces in new releases.

Further improvements to game artwork and audio were made possible with the introduction of FM synthesis sound. Yamaha began manufacturing FM synth boards for computers in the early-mid-1980s, and by 1985, the NEC and FM-7 computers had built-in FM sound.[16] The first PC sound cards, such as AdLib's Music Synthesizer Card, soon appeared in 1987. These cards allowed IBM PC compatible computers to produce complex sounds using FM synthesis, where they had previously been limited to simple tones and beeps. However, the rise of the Creative Labs Sound Blaster card, released in 1989, which featured much higher sound quality due to the inclusion of a PCM channel and digital signal processor, led AdLib to file for bankruptcy by 1992. Also in 1989, the FM Towns computer included built-in PCM sound, in addition to a CD-ROM drive and 24-bit color graphics.[16]

By 1990, DOS was 65% of the computer-game market, with the Amiga at 10%; all other computers, including the Apple Macintosh, were below 10% and declining. Although both Apple and IBM tried to avoid customers associating their products with "game machines", the latter acknowledged that VGA, audio, and joystick options for its PS/1 computer were popular.[33] In 1991, id Software produced an early first-person shooter, Hovertank 3D, which was the company's first in their line of highly influential games in the genre. There were also several other companies that produced early first-person shooters, such as Arsys Software's Star Cruiser,[34] which featured fully 3D polygonal graphics in 1988,[35] and Accolade's Day of the Viper in 1989. Id Software went on to develop Wolfenstein 3D in 1992, which helped to popularize the genre, kick-starting a genre that would become one of the highest-selling in modern times.[36] The game was originally distributed through the shareware distribution model, allowing players to try a limited part of the game for free but requiring payment to play the rest, and represented one of the first uses of texture mapping graphics in a popular game, along with Ultima Underworld.[37]

In December 1992, Computer Gaming World reported that DOS accounted for 82% of computer-game sales in 1991, compared to Macintosh's 8% and Amiga's 5%. In response to a reader's challenge to find a DOS game that played better than the Amiga version the magazine cited Wing Commander and Civilization, and added that "The heavy MS-DOS emphasis in CGW merely reflects the realities of the market".[38] A self-reported Computer Gaming World survey in April 1993 similarly found that 91% of readers primarily used IBM PCs and compatibles for gaming, compared to 6% for Amiga, 3% for Macintosh, and 1% for Atari ST,[39] while a Software Publishers Association study found that 74% of personal computers were IBMs or compatible, 10% Macintosh, 7% Apple II, and 8% other. 51% of IBM or compatible had 386 or faster CPUs.[30]

By 1992, DOS games such as Links 386 Pro supported Super VGA graphics.[40] While leading Sega and Nintendo console systems kept their CPU speed at 3–7 MHz, the 486 PC processor ran much faster, allowing it to perform many more calculations per second. The 1993 release of Doom on the PC was a breakthrough in 3D graphics, and was soon ported to various game consoles in a general shift toward greater realism.[41] Computer Gaming World reiterated in 1994, "we have to advise readers who want a machine that will play most of the games to purchase high-end MS-DOS machines".[42]

By 1993, PC floppy disk games had a sales volume equivalent to about one-quarter that of console game ROM cartridge sales. A hit PC game typically sold about 250,000 disks at the time, while a hit console game typically sold about 1 million cartridges.[43]

By spring 1994, an estimated 24 million US homes (27% of households) had a personal computer. 48% played games on their computer; 40% had the 486 CPU or higher; 35% had CD-ROM drives; and 20% had a sound card.[44] Another survey found that an estimated 2.46 million multimedia computers had internal CD-ROM drives by the end of 1993, an increase of almost 2,000%. Computer Gaming World reported in April 1994 that some software publishers planned to only distribute on CD as of 1995.[45] CD-ROM had much larger storage capacity than floppies, helped reduce software piracy, and was less expensive to produce. Chris Crawford warned that it was "a data-intensive technology, not a process-intensive one", tempting developers to emphasize the quantity of digital assets like art and music over the quality of gameplay; Computer Gaming World wrote in 1993 that "publishers may be losing their focus". While many companies used the additional storage to release poor-quality shovelware collections of older software, or "enhanced" versions of existing ones[46]—often with what the magazine mocked as "amateur acting" in the added audio and video[45]—new games such as Myst included many more assets for a richer game experience.

Many companies sold "multimedia upgrade kits" that bundled CD drives, sound cards, and software during the mid-1990s, but device drivers for the new peripherals further depleted scarce RAM.[47] By 1993, PC games required much more memory than other software, often consuming all of conventional memory, while device drivers could go into upper memory with DOS memory managers. Players found modifying CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files for memory management cumbersome and confusing, and each game needed a different configuration. (The game Les Manley in: Lost in L.A. satirizes this by depicting two beautiful women exhaust the hero in bed, by requesting that he again explain the difference between extended and expanded memory.) Computer Gaming World provided technical assistance to its writers to help install games for review,[48] and published sample configuration files.[49] The magazine advised non-technical gamers to purchase commercial memory managers like QEMM and 386MAX[47] and criticized nonstandard software like Origin Systems's "infamous late and unlamented Voodoo Memory Manager",[50] which used unreal mode.

Contemporary PC gaming

Logo used by majority of PC games sold in a DVD format
Logo used by majority of PC games sold in a DVD format
PC Game logo found on most contemporary box arts and trailers
PC Game logo found on most contemporary box arts and trailers

By 1996, the growing popularity of Microsoft Windows simplified device driver and memory management. The success of 3D console titles such as Super Mario 64 and Tomb Raider increased interest in hardware accelerated 3D graphics on PCs, and soon resulted in attempts to produce affordable solutions with the ATI Rage, Matrox Mystique, S3 ViRGE, and Rendition Vérité.[51] As 3D graphics libraries such as DirectX and OpenGL matured and knocked proprietary interfaces out of the market, these platforms gained greater acceptance in the market, particularly with their demonstrated benefits in games such as Unreal.[52] However, major changes to the Microsoft Windows operating system, by then the market leader, made many older DOS-based games unplayable on Windows NT, and later, Windows XP (without using an emulator, such as DOSBox).[53][54]

The faster graphics accelerators and improving CPU technology resulted in increasing levels of realism in computer games. During this time, the improvements introduced with products such as ATI's Radeon R300 and NVidia's GeForce 6 Series have allowed developers to increase the complexity of modern game engines. PC gaming currently tends strongly toward improvements in 3D graphics.[55]

Unlike the generally accepted push for improved graphical performance, the use of physics engines in computer games has become a matter of debate since announcement and 2005 release of the nVidia PhysX PPU, ostensibly competing with middleware such as the Havok physics engine. Issues such as difficulty in ensuring consistent experiences for all players,[56] and the uncertain benefit of first generation PhysX cards in games such as Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and City of Villains, prompted arguments over the value of such technology.[57][58]

Similarly, many game publishers began to experiment with new forms of marketing. Chief among these alternative strategies is episodic gaming, an adaptation of the older concept of expansion packs, in which game content is provided in smaller quantities but for a proportionally lower price. Titles such as Half-Life 2: Episode One took advantage of the idea, with mixed results rising from concerns for the amount of content provided for the price.[59]

Discover more about History related topics

History of video games

History of video games

The history of video games began in the 1950s and 1960s as computer scientists began designing simple games and simulations on minicomputers and mainframes. Spacewar! was developed by MIT student hobbyists in 1962 as one of the first such games on a video display. The first consumer video game hardware was released in the early 1970s. The first home video game console is the Magnavox Odyssey, and the first arcade video games are Computer Space and Pong. After its home console conversions, numerous companies sprang up to capture Pong's success in both the arcade and the home by cloning the game, causing a series of boom and bust cycles due to oversaturation and lack of innovation.

Early mainframe games

Early mainframe games

Mainframe computers are computers used primarily by businesses and academic institutions for large-scale processes. Before personal computers, first termed microcomputers, became widely available to the general public in the 1970s, the computing industry was composed of mainframe computers and the relatively smaller and cheaper minicomputer variant. During the mid to late 1960s, many early video games were programmed on these computers. Developed prior to the rise of the commercial video game industry in the early 1970s, these early mainframe games were generally written by students or employees at large corporations in a machine or assembly language that could only be understood by the specific machine or computer type they were developed on. While many of these games were lost as older computers were discontinued, some of them were ported to high-level computer languages like BASIC, had expanded versions later released for personal computers, or were recreated for bulletin board systems years later, thus influencing future games and developers.

Bertie the Brain

Bertie the Brain

Bertie the Brain was an early computer game, and one of the first games developed in the early history of video games. It was built in Toronto by Josef Kates for the 1950 Canadian National Exhibition. The four meter tall computer allowed exhibition attendees to play a game of tic-tac-toe against an artificial intelligence. The player entered a move on a keypad in the form of a three-by-three grid, and the game played out on a grid of lights overhead. The machine had an adjustable difficulty level. After two weeks on display by Rogers Majestic, the machine was disassembled at the end of the exhibition and largely forgotten as a curiosity.

Josef Kates

Josef Kates

Josef Kates, born Josef Katz, was a Canadian engineer whose achievements include designing the first digital game-playing machine, and the world's first automated traffic signalling system.

Canadian National Exhibition

Canadian National Exhibition

The Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), also known as The Exhibition or The Ex, is an annual event that takes place at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on the third Friday of August leading up to and including Canadian Labour Day, the first Monday in September. With approximately 1.5 million visitors each year, the CNE is Canada's largest annual fair and the sixth largest in North America. The first Canadian National Exhibition took place in 1879, largely to promote agriculture and technology in Canada. Agriculturists, engineers, and scientists exhibited their discoveries and inventions at the CNE to showcase the work and talent of the nation. As Canada has grown as a nation, the CNE has reflected the growth in diversity and innovation, though agriculture and technology remain a large part of the CNE. For many people in the Greater Toronto Area and the surrounding communities, the CNE is an annual family tradition.

Microprocessor

Microprocessor

A microprocessor is a computer processor where the data processing logic and control is included on a single integrated circuit, or a small number of integrated circuits. The microprocessor contains the arithmetic, logic, and control circuitry required to perform the functions of a computer's central processing unit. The integrated circuit is capable of interpreting and executing program instructions and performing arithmetic operations. The microprocessor is a multipurpose, clock-driven, register-based, digital integrated circuit that accepts binary data as input, processes it according to instructions stored in its memory, and provides results as output. Microprocessors contain both combinational logic and sequential digital logic, and operate on numbers and symbols represented in the binary number system.

Microcomputer

Microcomputer

A microcomputer is a small, relatively inexpensive computer having a central processing unit (CPU) made out of a microprocessor. The computer also includes memory and input/output (I/O) circuitry together mounted on a printed circuit board (PCB). Microcomputers became popular in the 1970s and 1980s with the advent of increasingly powerful microprocessors. The predecessors to these computers, mainframes and minicomputers, were comparatively much larger and more expensive. Many microcomputers are also personal computers. An early use of the term personal computer in 1962 predates microprocessor-based designs. (See "Personal Computer: Computers at Companies" reference below). A microcomputer used as an embedded control system may have no human-readable input and output devices. "Personal computer" may be used generically or may denote an IBM PC compatible machine.

Mainframe computer

Mainframe computer

A mainframe computer, informally called a mainframe or big iron, is a computer used primarily by large organizations for critical applications like bulk data processing for tasks such as censuses, industry and consumer statistics, enterprise resource planning, and large-scale transaction processing. A mainframe computer is large but not as large as a supercomputer and has more processing power than some other classes of computers, such as minicomputers, servers, workstations, and personal computers. Most large-scale computer-system architectures were established in the 1960s, but they continue to evolve. Mainframe computers are often used as servers.

Minicomputer

Minicomputer

A minicomputer, or colloquially mini, is a class of smaller general purpose computers that developed in the mid-1960s and sold at a much lower price than mainframe and mid-size computers from IBM and its direct competitors. In a 1970 survey, The New York Times suggested a consensus definition of a minicomputer as a machine costing less than US$25,000, with an input-output device such as a teleprinter and at least four thousand words of memory, that is capable of running programs in a higher level language, such as Fortran or BASIC.

EDSAC

EDSAC

The Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC) was an early British computer. Inspired by John von Neumann's seminal First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC, the machine was constructed by Maurice Wilkes and his team at the University of Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory in England. EDSAC was the second electronic digital stored-program computer to go into regular service.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a private land-grant research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Established in 1861, MIT has played a key role in the development of modern technology and science, and is one of the most prestigious and highly ranked academic institutions in the world.

Alan Kotok

Alan Kotok

Alan Kotok was an American computer scientist known for his work at Digital Equipment Corporation and at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Steven Levy, in his book Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, describes Kotok and his classmates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as the first true hackers.

Polish PC games

During the 1980s, the cheap and talented workforce of the Polish People's Republic began producing video games with Warsaw company Karen, founded by enterprising emigrant Lucjan Wencel, developing many hits that were released in the United States.[60] The 1991 strategy game "Solidarność" by Przemysław Rokita, where players led a trade union to political victory, was the symbolic beginning of a new trend where interactive works applied video game conventions to local Polish culture and history,[60] and through a distorting mirror portrayed the Eastern Bloc, local villages, and the mentality of citizens.[61] Developers in this age struggled with minimal profits, working after hours, harsh working conditions, older computers, and an ignorance of foreign languages and sentiments.[60] The country saw its own text based games – e.g. Mózgprocesor (1989), arcade games – e.g. Robbo (1989), football manager – Polish League (1995), Doom-clone – Cytadela (1995), and The Settlers-clone – Polanie (1995), however the adventure game genre was the "most significant species in the 90s", a genre which was finally cracked with Tajemnica Statuetki.[60]

Tajemnica Statuetki was the first commercially released Polish adventure game,[62][63] one of the first Polish and Polish-language video games ever,[64] and Chmielarz's first game that he had developed from start to finish[65] – the first officially sold program that he wrote.[66] It is sometimes erroneously considered the first Polish computer game, a distinction held by Witold Podgórski's 1961 mainframe game Marienbad, inspired by a Chinese puzzle called "Nim", and released on the Odra 1003.[67] (Meanwhile, Polygamia writes that 1986's text-based Puszka Pandory is the first game written by a Pole, sold in Poland, and reviewed in Polish press).[68] Despite this, Onet wrote in 2013 about a common misconception that the game marks the point where the history of digital entertainment in Poland begins.[69]

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Polish People's Republic

Polish People's Republic

The Polish People's Republic was a country in Central Europe that existed from 1947 to 1989 as the predecessor of the modern Republic of Poland. With a population of approximately 37.9 million near the end of its existence, it was the second-most populous communist and Eastern Bloc country in Europe. It was also one of the main signatories of the Warsaw Pact alliance. The largest city and official capital since 1947 was Warsaw, followed by the industrial city of Łódź and cultural city of Kraków. The country was bordered by the Baltic Sea to the north, the Soviet Union to the east, Czechoslovakia to the south, and East Germany to the west.

Solidarność (video game)

Solidarność (video game)

Solidarność is a 1991 Polish strategy computer game developed by P.Z.Karen Co. under the direction of Przemysław Rokita and published by California Dreams. It was created by Polish programmers specifically for an American audience in order to support a Hollywood film about the life of Lech Wałęsa, which was never actualised. The game never gained popularity and remains virtually unknown to this day.

Eastern Bloc

Eastern Bloc

The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America under the influence of the Soviet Union that existed during the Cold War (1947–1991). These states followed the ideology of Marxism–Leninism, in opposition to the capitalist Western Bloc. The Eastern Bloc was often called the Second World, whereas the term "First World" referred to the Western Bloc and "Third World" referred to the non-aligned countries that were mainly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America but notably also included former pre-1948 Soviet ally Yugoslavia, which was located in Europe.

Mózgprocesor

Mózgprocesor

Mózgprocesor is a Polish video game created in 1989, and published in 1990 by Computer Adventure Studio for ZX Spectrum and the Atari 8-bit family (1991). It was Computer Adventure Studio's first and last game. It was created by ex-Atari alumni Piotr Kucharski, Krzysztof Piwowarski and Wiesław Florek. The team had previously created Smok Wawelski in 1987. The script was created within an hour and the whole game was ready after six weeks, without professional graphic programs or documentation. Reviews of the title were featured in Bajtek 10/1998 and Top Secret 1/1990, Top Secret 2/1990 also included an interview with the developers, which at the time was unprecedented for a Polish game.

Robbo (video game)

Robbo (video game)

Robbo is a puzzle video game designed by Janusz Pelc and published by LK Avalon in 1989 for the Atari 8-bit family. A success on the Polish domestic market, it was later ported to other computer platforms and released in the United States as The Adventures of Robbo.

Polanie (video game)

Polanie (video game)

Polanie is a historical real-time strategy video game developed by MDF and published by USER for DOS and Microsoft Windows in 1996. An enhanced CD version was released the following year.

Early mainframe games

Early mainframe games

Mainframe computers are computers used primarily by businesses and academic institutions for large-scale processes. Before personal computers, first termed microcomputers, became widely available to the general public in the 1970s, the computing industry was composed of mainframe computers and the relatively smaller and cheaper minicomputer variant. During the mid to late 1960s, many early video games were programmed on these computers. Developed prior to the rise of the commercial video game industry in the early 1970s, these early mainframe games were generally written by students or employees at large corporations in a machine or assembly language that could only be understood by the specific machine or computer type they were developed on. While many of these games were lost as older computers were discontinued, some of them were ported to high-level computer languages like BASIC, had expanded versions later released for personal computers, or were recreated for bulletin board systems years later, thus influencing future games and developers.

Marienbad (video game)

Marienbad (video game)

Marienbad was a 1962 Polish puzzle mainframe game created by Elwro engineer Witold Podgórski in Wrocław, Poland for its Odra 1003. It was an adaption of the logic game nim. Inspired by the discussion in the magazine Przekrój of a variant of nim in the 1961 film Last Year at Marienbad, named "Marienbad" by the magazine, Podgórski programmed the game for the in-development 1003 mainframe, released in 1963. The game had players opposing the computer in alternating rounds of removing matches from a set, with the last player to take a match the loser. As the computer always played the optimal moves, it was essentially unbeatable.

Nim

Nim

Nim is a mathematical game of strategy in which two players take turns removing objects from distinct heaps or piles. On each turn, a player must remove at least one object, and may remove any number of objects provided they all come from the same heap or pile. Depending on the version being played, the goal of the game is either to avoid taking the last object or to take the last object.

Odra (computer)

Odra (computer)

Odra was a line of computers manufactured in Wrocław, Poland. The name comes from the Odra river that flows through the city of Wrocław.

Puszka Pandory

Puszka Pandory

Puszka Pandory is a Polish computer text game created in 1986 by pl:Marcin Borkowski for the ZX Spectrum computer. The game achieved popularity after trading on the Grzybowska Commodity Exchange.

List of common misconceptions

List of common misconceptions

Each entry on this list of common misconceptions is worded as a correction; the misconceptions themselves are implied rather than stated. These entries are concise summaries of the main subject articles, which can be consulted for more detail.

Platform characteristics

Fidelity

In high-end PC gaming, a PC will generally have far more processing resources at its disposal than other gaming systems.[70] Game developers can use this to improve the visual fidelity of their game relative to other platforms, but even if they do not, games running on PC are likely to benefit from higher screen resolution, higher framerate,[71] and anti-aliasing. Increased draw distance is also common in open world games.[72]

Better hardware also increases the potential fidelity of a PC game's rules and simulation. PC games often support more players or NPCs than equivalents on other platforms[73] and game designs which depend on the simulation of large numbers of tokens (e.g. Guild Wars 2, World of Warcraft) are rarely seen anywhere else.

The PC also supports greater input fidelity thanks to its compatibility with a wide array of peripherals. The most common forms of input are the mouse/keyboard combination and gamepads, though touchscreens and motion controllers are also available. The mouse in particular lends players of first-person shooter and real-time strategy games on PC great speed and accuracy.[74]

Openness

The defining characteristic of the PC platform is the absence of centralized control; all other gaming platforms (except Android devices, to an extent) are owned and administered by a single group.

The advantages of openness include:

Reduced software cost
Prices are kept down by competition and the absence of platform-holder fees. Games and services are cheaper at every level, and many are free.[75][76]
Increased flexibility
PC games decades old can be played on modern systems, through emulation software if need be.[77] Conversely, newer games can often be run on older systems by reducing the games' fidelity and/or scale.
Increased innovation
One does not need to ask for permission to release or update a PC game or to modify an existing one, and the platform's hardware and software are constantly evolving. These factors make PC the centre of both hardware and software innovation. By comparison, closed platforms tend to remain much the same throughout their lifespan.[3][78]

There are also disadvantages, including:

Increased complexity
A PC is a general-purpose tool. Its inner workings are exposed to the owner, and misconfiguration can create enormous problems. Hardware compatibility issues are also possible. Game development is complicated by the wide variety of hardware configurations; developers may be forced to limit their design to run with sub-optimum PC hardware in order to reach a larger PC market, or add a range graphical and other settings to adjust for playability on individual machines, requiring increased development, test, and customer support resources.
Increased hardware cost
PC components are generally sold individually for profit (even if one buys a pre-built machine), whereas the hardware of closed platforms is mass-produced as a single unit and often sold at a smaller profit, or even a loss (with the intention of making profit instead in online service fees and developer kit profits).[76]
Reduced security
It is difficult, and in most situations ultimately impossible, to control the way in which PC hardware and software is used. This leads to far more software piracy and cheating than closed platforms suffer from.[79]

Modifications

The openness of the PC platform allows players to edit or modify their games and distribute the results over the Internet as "mods". A healthy mod community greatly increases a game's longevity and the most popular mods have driven purchases of their parent game to record heights.[80] It is common for professional developers to release the tools they use to create their games (and sometimes even source code[81][82]) in order to encourage modding,[83] but if a game is popular enough mods generally arise even without official support.[84]

Mods can compete with official downloadable content however, or even outright redistribute it, and their ability to extend the lifespan of a game can work against its developers' plans for regular sequels. As game technology has become more complex, it has also become harder to distribute development tools to the public.[85]

Modding has a different connotation on consoles which are typically restricted much more heavily. As publicly released development tools are rare, console mods usually refer to hardware alterations designed to remove restrictions.[86]

Dominant software

Although the PC platform is almost completely decentralized at a hardware level, there are two dominant software forces: the Microsoft Windows operating system and the Steam distribution service.

Microsoft introduced an operating environment named Windows on November 20, 1985, as an add-on to DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs).[87] Microsoft Windows came to dominate the world's personal computer market with over 90% market share, overtaking Mac OS, which had been introduced in 1984.

Valve does not release any sales figures on its Steam service, instead it only provides the data to companies with games on Steam,[88][89] which they cannot release without permission due to signing a non-disclosure agreement with Valve.[90][91] However, Stardock, the previous owner of competing platform Impulse, estimated that, as of 2009, Steam had a 70% share of the digital distribution market for video games.[92] In early 2011, Forbes reported that Steam sales constituted 50–70% of the $4 billion market for downloaded PC games and that Steam offered game producers gross margins of 70% of purchase price, compared with 30% at retail.[93] In 2011, Steam served over 780 petabytes of information, double what it had delivered in 2010.[94]

Digital distribution services

PC games are sold predominantly through the Internet, with buyers downloading their new purchase directly to their computer.[3][95] This approach allows smaller independent developers to compete with large publisher-backed games[1][96] and avoids the speed and capacity limits of the optical discs which most other gaming platforms rely on.[97][98]

Valve released the Steam platform for Windows computers in 2003 as a means to distribute Valve-developed video games such as Half-Life 2. It would later see release on the Mac OS X operating system in 2010 and was released on Linux in 2012 as well. By 2011, it controlled 70% of the market for downloadable PC games, with a userbase of about 40 million accounts.[99][100] Origin, a new version of the Electronic Arts online store, was released in 2011 in order to compete with Steam and other digital distribution platforms on the PC.[101] The period between 2004 and now saw the rise of many digital distribution services on PC, such as Amazon Digital Services, GameStop, GFWL, EA Store, Direct2Drive, GOG.com, and GamersGate.

Digital distribution also slashes the cost of circulation, eliminates stock shortages, allows games to be released worldwide at no additional cost, and allows niche audiences to be reached with ease.[102] However, most digital distribution systems create ownership and customer rights issues by storing access rights on distributor-owned computers. Games confer with these computers over the Internet before launching. This raises the prospect of purchases being lost if the distributor goes out of business or chooses to lock the buyer's account, and prevents resale (the ethics of which are a matter of debate).

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Draw distance

Draw distance

In computer graphics, draw distance is the maximum distance of objects in a three-dimensional scene that are drawn by the rendering engine. Polygons that lie beyond the draw distance will not be drawn to the screen.

Open world

Open world

In video games, an open world is a virtual world in which the player can approach objectives freely, as opposed to a world with more linear and structured gameplay. While games have used open-world designs since the 1980s, the implementation in Grand Theft Auto III (2001) set a standard for the concept which has been used since.

Non-player character

Non-player character

A non-player character (NPC), or non-playable character, is any character in a game that is not controlled by a player. The term originated in traditional tabletop role-playing games where it applies to characters controlled by the gamemaster or referee rather than by another player. In video games, this usually means a character controlled by the computer that has a predetermined set of behaviors that potentially will impact gameplay, but will not necessarily be the product of true artificial intelligence.

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars 2 is a free-to-play, massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed by ArenaNet and published by NCSoft. Set in the fantasy world of Tyria, the core game follows the re-emergence of Destiny's Edge, a disbanded guild dedicated to fighting Elder Dragons, colossal Lovecraftian-esque entities that have seized control of Tyria in the time since the original Guild Wars (2005), a plot line that was concluded in the latest expansion End of Dragons (2022). The game takes place in a persistent world with a story that progresses in instanced environments.

Input device

Input device

In computing, an input device is a piece of equipment used to provide data and control signals to an information processing system, such as a computer or information appliance. Examples of input devices include keyboards, mouse, scanners, cameras, joysticks, and microphones.

Computer keyboard

Computer keyboard

A computer keyboard is a peripheral input device modeled after the typewriter keyboard which uses an arrangement of buttons or keys to act as mechanical levers or electronic switches. Replacing early punched cards and paper tape technology, interaction via teleprinter-style keyboards have been the main input method for computers since the 1970s, supplemented by the computer mouse since the 1980s.

Gamepad

Gamepad

A gamepad is a type of video game controller held in two hands, where the fingers are used to provide input. They are typically the main input device for video game consoles.

First-person shooter

First-person shooter

First-person shooter (FPS) is a sub-genre of shooter video games centered on gun and other weapon-based combat in a first-person perspective, with the player experiencing the action through the eyes of the protagonist and controlling the player character in a three-dimensional space. The genre shares common traits with other shooter games, and in turn falls under the action game genre. Since the genre's inception, advanced 3D and pseudo-3D graphics have challenged hardware development, and multiplayer gaming has been integral.

Real-time strategy

Real-time strategy

Real-time strategy (RTS) is a subgenre of strategy video games that do not progress incrementally in turns, but allow all players to play simultaneously, in "real time". By contrast, in turn-based strategy (TBS) games, players take turns to play. The term "real-time strategy" was coined by Brett Sperry to market Dune II in the early 1990s.

Android (operating system)

Android (operating system)

Android is a mobile operating system based on a modified version of the Linux kernel and other open-source software, designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Android is developed by a consortium of developers known as the Open Handset Alliance, though its most widely used version is primarily developed by Google. It was unveiled in November 2007, with the first commercial Android device, the HTC Dream, being launched in September 2008.

Emulator

Emulator

In computing, an emulator is hardware or software that enables one computer system to behave like another computer system. An emulator typically enables the host system to run software or use peripheral devices designed for the guest system. Emulation refers to the ability of a computer program in an electronic device to emulate another program or device.

Cheating in online games

Cheating in online games

Cheating in online games is the subversion of the rules or mechanics of online video games to gain an unfair advantage over other players, generally with the use of third-party software. What constitutes cheating is dependent on the game in question, its rules, and consensus opinion as to whether a particular activity is considered to be cheating.

PC gaming technology

Hardware

Modern computer games place great demand on the computer's hardware, often requiring a fast central processing unit (CPU) to function properly. CPU manufacturers historically relied mainly on increasing clock rates to improve the performance of their processors, but had begun to move steadily towards multi-core CPUs by 2005. These processors allow the computer to simultaneously process multiple tasks, called threads, allowing the use of more complex graphics, artificial intelligence and in-game physics.[55][103]

Similarly, 3D games often rely on a powerful graphics processing unit (GPU), which accelerates the process of drawing complex scenes in realtime. GPUs may be an integrated part of the computer's motherboard, the most common solution in laptops,[104] or come packaged with a discrete graphics card with a supply of dedicated Video RAM, connected to the motherboard through either an AGP or PCI-Express port. It is also possible to use multiple GPUs in a single computer, using technologies such as NVidia's Scalable Link Interface and ATI's CrossFire.

Sound cards are also available to provide improved audio in computer games. These cards provide improved 3D audio and provide audio enhancement that is generally not available with integrated alternatives, at the cost of marginally lower overall performance.[105] The Creative Labs SoundBlaster line was for many years the de facto standard for sound cards, although its popularity dwindled as PC audio became a commodity on modern motherboards.

Physics processing units (PPUs), such as the Nvidia PhysX (formerly AGEIA PhysX) card, are also available to accelerate physics simulations in modern computer games. PPUs allow the computer to process more complex interactions among objects than is achievable using only the CPU, potentially allowing players a much greater degree of control over the world in games designed to use the card.[104]

Virtually all personal computers use a keyboard and mouse for user input, but there are exceptions. During the 1990s, before the keyboard and mouse combination had become the method of choice for PC gaming input peripherals, there were other types of peripherals such as the Mad Catz Panther XL, the First-Person Gaming Assassin 3D, and the Mad Catz Panther, which combined a trackball for looking / aiming, and a joystick for movement. Other common gaming peripherals are a headset for faster communication in online games, joysticks for flight simulators, steering wheels for driving games and gamepads for console-style games.

Software

Computer games also rely on third-party software such as an operating system (OS), device drivers, libraries and more to run. Today, the vast majority of computer games are designed to run on the Microsoft Windows family of operating systems. Whereas earlier games written for DOS would include code to communicate directly with hardware, today application programming interfaces (APIs) provide an interface between the game and the OS, simplifying game design. Microsoft's DirectX is an API that is widely used by today's computer games to communicate with sound and graphics hardware. OpenGL is a cross-platform API for graphics rendering that is also used. The version of the graphics card's driver installed can often affect game performance and gameplay. In late 2013, AMD announced Mantle, a low-level API for certain models of AMD graphics cards, allowing for greater performance compared to software-level APIs such as DirectX, as well as simplifying porting to and from the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, which are both built upon AMD hardware.[106] It is not unusual for a game company to use a third-party game engine, or third-party libraries for a game's AI or physics.

Multiplayer

Local area network gaming

Multiplayer gaming was largely limited to local area networks (LANs) before cost-effective broadband Internet access became available, due to their typically higher bandwidth and lower latency than the dial-up services of the time. These advantages allowed more players to join any given computer game, but have persisted today because of the higher latency of most Internet connections and the costs associated with broadband Internet.

LAN gaming typically requires two or more personal computers, a router and sufficient networking cables to connect every computer on the network. Additionally, each computer must have its own copy (or spawn copy) of the game in order to play. Optionally, any LAN may include an external connection to the Internet.

Online games

Online multiplayer games have achieved popularity largely as a result of increasing broadband adoption among consumers. Affordable high-bandwidth Internet connections allow large numbers of players to play together, and thus have found particular use in massively multiplayer online role-playing games, Tanarus and persistent online games such as World War II Online.

Although it is possible to participate in online computer games using dial-up modems, broadband Internet connections are generally considered necessary in order to reduce the latency or "lag" between players. Such connections require a broadband-compatible modem connected to the personal computer through a network interface card (generally integrated onto the computer's motherboard), optionally separated by a router. Online games require a virtual environment, generally called a "game server". These virtual servers inter-connect gamers, allowing real time, and often fast-paced action. To meet this subsequent need, Game Server Providers (GSP) have become increasingly more popular over the last half decade. While not required for all gamers, these servers provide a unique "home", fully customizable, such as additional modifications, settings, etc., giving the end gamers the experience they desire. Today there are over 510,000 game servers hosted in North America alone.[107]

Emulation

Emulation software, used to run software without the original hardware, are popular for their ability to play legacy video games without the platform for which they were designed. The operating system emulators include DOSBox, a DOS emulator which allows playing games developed originally for this operating system and thus not compatible with a modern-day OS. Console emulators such as Nestopia and MAME are relatively commonplace, although the complexity of modern consoles such as the Xbox or PlayStation makes them far more difficult to emulate, even for the original manufacturers.[108] The most technically advanced consoles that can currently be successfully emulated for commercial games on PC are the PlayStation 2 using PCSX2, and the Nintendo Wii U using the Cemu emulator. A PlayStation 3 emulator named RPCS3 is in development, although it can currently only run small Homebrew games and certain old arcade titles that were originally ported to the PS3 from older platforms.[109] Most emulation software mimics a particular hardware architecture, often to an extremely high degree of accuracy. This is particularly the case with classic home computers such as the Commodore 64, whose software often depends on highly sophisticated low-level programming tricks invented by game programmers and the demoscene.

Other projects aim to bring compatibility of older games and its features back to modern platforms such as WineVDM (for running 16-bit games on 64-bit Windows), nGlide (for enabling Glide (API) to other video cards), IPXWrapper (for enabling IPX/SPX based LAN play).

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Personal computer

Personal computer

A personal computer (PC) is a multi-purpose microcomputer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use. Personal computers are intended to be operated directly by an end user, rather than by a computer expert or technician. Unlike large, costly minicomputers and mainframes, time-sharing by many people at the same time is not used with personal computers. Primarily in the late 1970s and 1980s, the term home computer was also used.

Gaming computer

Gaming computer

A gaming computer, also known as a gaming PC, is a specialized personal computer designed for playing video games at high standards. Gaming PCs typically differ from mainstream personal computers by using high-performance video cards, a high core-count central processing units with raw performance and higher-performance RAM. Gaming PCs are also used for other demanding tasks such as video editing. Gamers and computer enthusiasts may choose to overclock their CPUs and GPUs in order to gain extra performance. The added power draw needed to overclock either processing units often requires additional cooling, usually by air cooling or water cooling.

Motherboard

Motherboard

A motherboard is the main printed circuit board (PCB) in general-purpose computers and other expandable systems. It holds and allows communication between many of the crucial electronic components of a system, such as the central processing unit (CPU) and memory, and provides connectors for other peripherals. Unlike a backplane, a motherboard usually contains significant sub-systems, such as the central processor, the chipset's input/output and memory controllers, interface connectors, and other components integrated for general use.

Central processing unit

Central processing unit

A central processing unit (CPU), also called a central processor, main processor or just processor, is the electronic circuitry that executes instructions comprising a computer program. The CPU performs basic arithmetic, logic, controlling, and input/output (I/O) operations specified by the instructions in the program. This contrasts with external components such as main memory and I/O circuitry, and specialized processors such as graphics processing units (GPUs).

Microprocessor

Microprocessor

A microprocessor is a computer processor where the data processing logic and control is included on a single integrated circuit, or a small number of integrated circuits. The microprocessor contains the arithmetic, logic, and control circuitry required to perform the functions of a computer's central processing unit. The integrated circuit is capable of interpreting and executing program instructions and performing arithmetic operations. The microprocessor is a multipurpose, clock-driven, register-based, digital integrated circuit that accepts binary data as input, processes it according to instructions stored in its memory, and provides results as output. Microprocessors contain both combinational logic and sequential digital logic, and operate on numbers and symbols represented in the binary number system.

Expansion card

Expansion card

In computing, an expansion card is a printed circuit board that can be inserted into an electrical connector, or expansion slot on a computer's motherboard to add functionality to a computer system. Sometimes the design of the computer's case and motherboard involves placing most of these slots onto a separate, removable card. Typically such cards are referred to as a riser card in part because they project upward from the board and allow expansion cards to be placed above and parallel to the motherboard.

Graphics card

Graphics card

A graphics card is a computer expansion card that generates a feed of graphics output to a display device such as a monitor. Graphics cards are sometimes called discrete or dedicated graphics cards to emphasize their distinction to integrated graphics processor on the motherboard or the CPU. A graphics processing unit (GPU) that performs the necessary computations is the main component in a graphics card, but the acronym "GPU" is sometimes also used to refer to the graphics card as a whole.

Power supply unit (computer)

Power supply unit (computer)

A power supply unit (PSU) converts mains AC to low-voltage regulated DC power for the internal components of a computer. Modern personal computers universally use switched-mode power supplies. Some power supplies have a manual switch for selecting input voltage, while others automatically adapt to the mains voltage.

Optical disc drive

Optical disc drive

In computing, an optical disc drive is a disc drive that uses laser light or electromagnetic waves within or near the visible light spectrum as part of the process of reading or writing data to or from optical discs. Some drives can only read from certain discs, but recent drives can both read and record, also called burners or writers. Compact discs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs are common types of optical media which can be read and recorded by such drives.

Computer keyboard

Computer keyboard

A computer keyboard is a peripheral input device modeled after the typewriter keyboard which uses an arrangement of buttons or keys to act as mechanical levers or electronic switches. Replacing early punched cards and paper tape technology, interaction via teleprinter-style keyboards have been the main input method for computers since the 1970s, supplemented by the computer mouse since the 1980s.

Computer mouse

Computer mouse

A computer mouse is a hand-held pointing device that detects two-dimensional motion relative to a surface. This motion is typically translated into the motion of a pointer on a display, which allows a smooth control of the graphical user interface of a computer.

Clock rate

Clock rate

In computing, the clock rate or clock speed typically refers to the frequency at which the clock generator of a processor can generate pulses, which are used to synchronize the operations of its components, and is used as an indicator of the processor's speed. It is measured in the SI unit of frequency hertz (Hz).

Controversy

PC games have long been a source of controversy, largely due to the depictions of violence that has become commonly associated with video games in general, with much of the criticism stemming from the fact that the PC gaming industry isn't as regulated as on other platforms. The debate surrounds the influence of objectionable content on the social development of minors, with organizations such as the American Psychological Association concluding that video game violence increases children's aggression,[110] a concern that prompted a further investigation by the Centers for Disease Control in September 2006.[111] Industry groups have responded by noting the responsibility of parents in governing their children's activities, while attempts in the United States to control the sale of objectionable games have generally been found unconstitutional.[112]

Video game addiction is another cultural aspect of gaming to draw criticism as it can have a negative influence on health and on social relations. The problem of addiction and its health risks seems to have grown with the rise of massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs).[113] Alongside the social and health problems associated with computer game addiction have grown similar worries about the effect of computer games on education.[114]

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Minor (law)

Minor (law)

In law, a minor is someone under a certain age, usually the age of majority, which demarcates an underage individual from legal adulthood. The age of majority depends upon jurisdiction and application, but it is commonly 18. Minor may also be used in contexts that are unconnected to the overall age of majority. For example, the smoking and drinking age in the United States is 21, and younger people below this age are sometimes called minors in the context of tobacco and alcohol law, even if they are at least 18. The terms underage or minor often refer to those under the age of majority, but may also refer to a person under other legal age limits, such as the age of consent, marriageable age, driving age, voting age, etc. Such age limits are often different from the age of majority.

American Psychological Association

American Psychological Association

The American Psychological Association (APA) is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States, with over 133,000 members, including scientists, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students. It has 54 divisions—interest groups for different subspecialties of psychology or topical areas. The APA has an annual budget of around $115 million.

Video game addiction

Video game addiction

Video game addiction (VGA), also known as gaming disorder or internet gaming disorder, is generally defined as a psychological addiction that is problematic, compulsive use of video games that results in significant impairment to an individual's ability to function in various life domains over a prolonged period of time. This and associated concepts have been the subject of considerable research, debate, and discussion among experts in several disciplines and has generated controversy within the medical, scientific, and gaming communities. Such disorders can be diagnosed when an individual engages in gaming activities at the cost of fulfilling daily responsibilities or pursuing other interests without regard for the negative consequences. As defined by the ICD-11, the main criterion for this disorder is a lack of self control over gaming.

Computer games museums

There are several computer games museums around the world. In 2011 one opened in Berlin, a computer game museum that documents computer games from the 1970s until today. The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, in Oakland, California also exhibits PC games in its general collection. The Video Game Museum in Rome is dedicated to the preservation of videogames, and includes Pss games in its collection. The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California holds a collection of PC games, and allows visitors to play Spacewar!, the first computer game, on a restored original DEC PDP-1.

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Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment

Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment

The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment is an Oakland, California, museum dedicated to digital art and gaming, with fully playable gaming exhibits. Its mission is to collect and curate video games, digital media concept art, and gaming systems, to teach the public about digital art and the process of gaming creation.

Oakland, California

Oakland, California

Oakland is the largest city and the county seat of Alameda County, California, United States. A major West Coast port, Oakland is the largest city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, the third largest city overall in the Bay Area and the eighth most populated city in California. With a population of 440,646 in 2020, it serves as the Bay Area's trade center and economic engine: the Port of Oakland is the busiest port in Northern California, and the fifth busiest in the United States of America. The city was incorporated on May 4, 1852. Oakland is a charter city.

Computer History Museum

Computer History Museum

The Computer History Museum (CHM) is a museum of computer history, located in Mountain View, California. The museum presents stories and artifacts of Silicon Valley and the information age, and explores the computing revolution and its impact on society.

Mountain View, California

Mountain View, California

Mountain View is a city in Santa Clara County, California, United States. Named for its views of the Santa Cruz Mountains, it has a population of 82,376.

Spacewar!

Spacewar!

Spacewar! is a space combat video game developed in 1962 by Steve Russell in collaboration with Martin Graetz, Wayne Wiitanen, Bob Saunders, Steve Piner, and others. It was written for the newly installed DEC PDP-1 minicomputer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After its initial creation, Spacewar! was expanded further by other students and employees of universities in the area, including Dan Edwards and Peter Samson. It was also spread to many of the few dozen installations of the PDP-1 computer, making Spacewar! the first known video game to be played at multiple computer installations.

PDP-1

PDP-1

The PDP-1 is the first computer in Digital Equipment Corporation's PDP series and was first produced in 1959. It is famous for being the computer most important in the creation of hacker culture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, BBN and elsewhere. The PDP-1 is the original hardware for playing history's first game on a minicomputer, Steve Russell's Spacewar!

Source: "PC game", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PC_game.

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See also
References
  1. ^ a b c Stuart, Keith (January 27, 2010). "Back to the bedroom: how indie gaming is reviving the Britsoft spirit". The Guardian. Retrieved November 8, 2012.
  2. ^ "Global PC Games Market Analysis 2015-2019 with Forecasting to 2030: Revenue Breakdowns for Shooter, Action, Sport Games, Role-Playing, Adventure, Racing, Fighting, Strategy & Other Genres - ResearchAndMarkets.com". www.businesswire.com. November 7, 2019.
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