The Evolution of Gaming: From Reality and Back Again

The Evolution of Gaming has taken us well away from the days of Monopoly

Monopoly” (CC BY 2.0) by Mike_fleming

 Games have always been an integral part of our lives. Whether it’s dicing with the odds in a casino, thinking through a series of complex moves in a game like chess or simply putting on a show in charades, games have kept us entertained for centuries.

According to historians, Senet is the oldest board game we know of. Dating back to 3,500 B.C., the game featured a board that was three squares wide and ten squares long with players having control of five to seven counters. Using sticks (instead of dice), players would try to cross the board before their opponent in order to win the game.

As you can see, that early premise is one that’s resonated throughout time and many of the board games we love today follow a similar pattern. Whether it’s a classic game of Snakes and Ladders or modern marvels such as Ravensburger Labyrinth or the Game of Life, board games are still extremely popular. Let’s look closer at the evolution of gaming in the paragraphs below…

From Offline Games to Online Options

Angry Birds” (CC BY 2.0) by Johan Larsson

However, as is often the case in modern life, many of our favorite board games are now available online and, more interestingly, on mobile. Visit the Google Play store or Apple’s iOS app store and you’ll see thousands of games from Monopoly to Snakes & Ladders, Agricola and Fingle. In fact, such is the popularity of mobile games that the market is now worth $20 billion.

Of course, it’s not just board games that have captured our imagination throughout history. Gambling games like blackjack, roulette and keno have been played in Europe and China since the 15th century, and today they’re just as popular thanks to the Internet.

Indeed, while places like Las Vegas still attract more than 42 million visitors each year, the Internet is now a multi-billion industry. According to the latest stats, online casinos now generate more than $41 billion in revenue each year by offering virtual incarnations of blackjack, roulette, slots and more. Why are these games so popular? Affordability, accessibility and efficiency.

For example, Betway.be not only offers upwards of 300 casino games, but its interface is designed to welcome players of all skill levels. Take blackjack for instance: the game itself is more than 400 years old, but inside Betway players can enjoy multiple variants. From Multi-Hand Blackjack to Vegas Strip and Atlantic City versions of the game, Betway has something for everyone and that’s what makes it appealing.

However, the times are changing. As we’ve already shown, the nature of games has evolved over the last few decades. From simple board games or gambling games using plastic 

counters, the bulk of our gaming now takes place online. Whether it’s a mobile board game or an online casino, there are thousands of ways for us to play and have some fun on the Internet.

Things Are About to Get a Whole Lot More Exciting

Virtual Reality Demonstrations” (CC BY 2.0) by UTKnightCenter

But as we move forward, things are about to get a whole lot more immersive. Virtual reality (VR) has been quietly bubbling away in the background of the tech world since the 1950s. Ever since Morton Heilig’s Experience Theatre, developers have been working on ways to make the virtual world more interactive.

In the last few years the industry has really started to boom thanks to innovations and investments. Palmer Luckey’s Oculus Rift essentially broke the VR mold and once Facebook acquired the company for $2 billion it became a phenomenon. At the start of 2016 the first commercial version of Oculus Rift went out for distribution followed by other products such as Samsung Gear and HTC’s Vive. The release of these headsets has, if you’ll excuse the pun, changed the game.

Within the next ten years the games that we know and love will become infinitely more engaging. Of course, replacing the touch and feel of a real board game is extremely tricky, but VR certainly has the power to make things more interesting. For example, instead of five people huddling around the dining room table to play Monopoly, everyone could be connected via their VR headsets and compete against each other from remote locations. Taking things a step further, a VR version of Monopoly could have some extra spice added to it by being set in the middle of the ocean or on a rollercoaster.

The possibilities for VR are almost endless and for gamers that’s an exciting prospect. Our love of games is one that will never die, but as we move forward the ways in which we experience these games will continue to evolve. Whether they become more bizarre, more complex or more fantastical, there’s no doubt VR will make gaming more entertaining and that’s something we should all be looking forward to.

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