How Video Games Changed the World

Synopsis: Charlie Brooker takes you on a journey through time to show the most influential video games on everyday life.
Genre: Documentary
120 min



for years the domain of outsiders

and geeks, and people who look

a bit like owls.

Somewhere down the line,

gaming went mainstream

and now everyone plays them

18 hours a day, even George Alagiah.

And while that is a lie, games have

infiltrated popular culture

and fundamentally changed the way we

interact with the world.

Yes, really.

Now, tonight, I'll share

my personal,

possibly bull-headed selection of

the 25 most significant games that

ever there were, and we'll be

hearing from videogame insiders,

videogame likers, and some

reassuring, friendly, familiar faces

so easily spooked viewers don't

shit their own kidneys out

with terrified indignation.

We'll show you games that broke

out of the pixelated ghetto

and romped across

mainstream culture.

We'll see games that will make you

feel guilty, or make you cry,

or even introduced you

to your soulmate.

In fact, we'll show you nothing

less than how videogames

changed the world...

because that is the title,

so we have to.

Today, in 2013, games are almost

as commonplace as shoes.

Practically everyone plays them

in some form.

Even bacon replicant David Cameron

was reportedly addicted to the

jolly food slash 'em up

Fruit Ninja on the iPad.

But games weren't always as

graphically staggering,

painstakingly realistic,

or conceptually sophisticated

as they tend to be today.

No, they had to start somewhere.

Gaming's Big Bang happened in 1972

with the release of a simple

looking tennis simulator,

a game called Pong.

Pong, of course, was very simple.

You know, it begins with a black

screen, as all great moments do.

It's meant to be kind of table tennis

but it was like a moving white bar

that would go up and down,

and you could bounce

a ball from side to side.

But it was so limited,

so kind of basic in its function,

and yet, curiously, satisfying.

Pong wasn't the first videogame

but it was the first truly

successful one, and it contains

much of the same basic DNA as almost

every game that followed.

It was co-created by Atari founder

Nolan Bushnell

and programmer Allan Alcorn.

Without these two legendary figures,

there would be no videogames

industry at all.

I had completed the design and

we said, "Well, it plays pretty good,

"let's put it in a box and see

if anybody plays it."

And all it had was the name

Pong on it. There's no instructions,

there's just a coinmach.

And Nolan and I carried it over to

Andy Capp's Tavern,

put it on a barrel, and within

a short time, within a week or

so, the thing stopped working,

and so I went over to fix it...

That became full of quarters.

Yeah, I opened it up

and the quarters just gushed out,

filled my pockets with quarters

and came in the next day and said,

"Nolan, I think we've got...

Something is going on here."

And you go, "Hmm."

Pong was incredibly simple.

Everybody knows how to play

ping-pong. It was a very stylised

version of ping-pong on a TV.

The controls were simple,

just a knob each to move the paddle.

There was also hidden depth.

The power allowed the ball to come

off the bats in different angles,

depending on where you hit it,

so it introduced this whole

idea of skill and strategy, which is

really, really important.

Yes, it's hard to remember now,

but in 1972 this was cutting edge.

You know, I found the graphics

on Pong,

the little players, the little lines,

they moved quite smoothly,

it was quite impressive,

and the ball moved smoothly.

By ball, I mean square!

We didn't make the ball square

because we thought that

a square ball was cool.

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Charlie Brooker

Charlton “Charlie” Brooker (born 3 March 1971) is an English humourist, critic, author, screenwriter, producer, and presenter. He is the creator of the anthology series Black Mirror. In addition to writing for programmes such as Black Mirror, Brass Eye, The 11 O'Clock Show and Nathan Barley, Brooker has presented a number of television shows, including Screenwipe, Gameswipe, Newswipe, Weekly Wipe, and 10 O'Clock Live. He also wrote a five-part horror drama, Dead Set. He has written comment pieces for The Guardian and is one of four creative directors of the production company Zeppotron. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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