History of Game Design

Arising as a prominent branch of game development in the 1970s after the huge success of arcade video games, game designers as we know them today were tasked with designing the bulk of content for the game, including the rules, storyline, characters and overall appeal. Today, game designing is a multi-million dollar industry that’s only expected to grow larger as technology advances. Take a look at the timeline below to see how the industry has evolved and expanded over the years.

1952 – Willy Higinbotham creates what is commonly referred to as “the first video game.” Similar to table tennis, this 2 person game was played on an oscilloscope.


1961 – A MIT student, Steve Russell, creates the first interactive game, Spacewars, played on mainframe computers.

1971 – Computer Space, developed by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney (founders of Atari), becomes the first video arcade game released. Although it was instantly popular, many people found the game too difficult.

1972 – Realizing the potential of video games, Magnavox released Odyssey, the first home video gaming system. Most notably though, Atari is founded and quickly recognized as the leader in the video game industry. Their first released game, Pong, was wildly successful and soon became available as a home version.

1974 – Steve Jobs, one of Atari’s technicians and later a circuit board creator, presented an idea to the Atari founders for a personal computer system. Because funds were tied up in other projects, Bushnell referred a venture capitalist to Jobs for funding support. That personal computer, of course, was the beginning of Apple.