Tracing the Origins of Some of the First Ever Online Games

Pioneering the Virtual World: Tracing the Origins of Some of the First Ever Online Games

The world of online gaming has evolved dramatically since its first establishment, and today’s innovation and progressive technology has allowed for increasingly complex and immersive gaming experiences.

The older online games created in the 20th century, marked an incredibly important point in the history of digital entertainment. But there were some games in particular that really took the world by storm and attracted international attention.

In this article, we’re going to look at some of the first ever online games that laid the foundation for the incredible gaming industry we know so well today.

ARPANET’s Spacewar! – 1972

The original version of the Spacewar! was actually created and released ten years earlier than the version that the public came to know and love, 1962 – before the Internet. The original game was created by Steve Russel, and it was a two-player space combat game.

In 1972, the game was adapted for ARPANET and re-released. The new version of the game allowed players on different ARPANET-connected computers to be able to participate in multiplayer space battles. Thus, this was actually one of the earliest instances of networked gaming.

Island of Kesmai – 1985

Island of Kesmai was an early graphical multiplayer roleplaying game (RPG) that was created by John Taylor and Kelton Flinn in 1985. Players can explore a fantasy world, battle with monsters, and interact with each other.

At the time of its release, Islands of Kesmai demonstrated the potential for online role-playing experiences, and eventually ended up leading the MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) genre.

Habitat – 1986

Launched in 1986 by Lucasfilm Games, Habitat was a pioneering virtual world that offered players a shared online environment where they’d be able to socialize, interact and engage in a form of commerce (using in-game currency).

These days, many experts view Habitat as being way ahead of its time, and it’s frequently seen as a predecessor to other modern virtual games such as Second Life.

MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) – 1978

Many people often credit MUD as one of the earliest forms of online gaming; it’s easy to understand why. The game was created by Richard Bartle and Roy Trubshaw in 1978, and like the pokies we enjoy that span back to the 1800s, it went on to have major success around the world.

MUD was a text-based adventure game that allowed players to explore virtual worlds, interact with other players, and embark on quests.

Today, MUD is viewed as the ancestor of modern MMORPG, and MUD set the stage for the social and collaborative nature of online gaming, as it later evolved into.

Netrek – 1988

Released in 1988, Netrek was, and still is, considered by many as one of the first ever multiplayer online games. The game managed to combine elements of team strategy, space warfare and real-time gameplay, leading to an experience that would become a staple in the online gaming community. Players were able to join factions, coordinate their tactics, strategize and engage in starship battles.

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