Computer Games

A computer game (in the colloquial language partly as designated by the English game for ' game ') is an interactive medium. a program on a machine that allows one or more users to play a game described by implemented rules. Colloquially, usually game software for personal computers is called with "Game" (PC games).

Other names / demarcation 

Video: Historic name of the first, to be connected to TV game computers (such as Pong).

Arcade game: Name of video game devices running as coin-operated machines. The term is derived from the vending machines in the United States in shopping malls. The name is transferred frequently as they are typical for arcade machines, to fast, action-packed games with a short season, also when run on other platforms.

Game: Name for games running on game consoles. Game consoles were the descendants of the audio, and offering software based in the early 1980s frequently to a large extent on implementation of games written for arcade machines. Since console games marketed for other platforms and vice versa offered games developed for consoles for other platforms, this subgroup of computer games is not outlined.

Video game: The name video game highlights the Visual output of the gameplay on a monitor. In this respect, almost all computer games are video games, although there are also audio games with purely acoustic output for some time, that can be played by blind and severely visually impaired. The term is colloquially known as often used as a synonym for console game, often to between "Computer games" (PC games are meant), and "Video games" (in this case so console games) to differentiate. Because in English, video game however is the General term for computer games of any kind, game is following it in the German game sometimes also used as a synonym for the generic term.

E game: (also: eGame or EGame as an abbreviation for "Electronic Game") is sometimes as a summary term used for console games and PC games, so as a synonym to video game.


The computer games developed in about 50 years of more technical attempts at universities to one of the most influential forms of leisure of the 21st century.

Already on the first computers there were attempts known games, such as about the game of draughts, to implement. As the first computer game, which offered new opportunities beyond familiar games in 1958 by the American William Higinbotham built tennis is often considered for two. The development was strongly depending on the technical progress of computer technology. The development played out initially only "part-time" on systems provided for other purposes at universities, it became possible to play games on electronic slot machines in the public in the 1970s by the combination of the now relatively inexpensive simple logic chips with the existing television technology. Such as the Pong of Nolan Bushnell was very successful. Companies such as Atari and Magnavox brought close the game in the form of video game consoles to the consumers. A rapidly growing mass market developed.

Through the introduction of home and personal computers (PCs) in the 1980s two evolved first technically considered each other separately covered types of computer game: to the one the video game (at that time "video"), which was based on special game consoles and the games for the home computer and later increasingly for the PC. In 1983 there was a crash in the video game market in particular by a flooding of the market with bad video games and the technical superiority of the home computer to the former game consoles. Japan, where the home computer were not so successful, Nintendo heralded a 1983 a new era of video games, which reached about two years later also North America and Europe.

Since the mid-1990s, the two fields for game consoles and PCs for marketing reasons are again increasingly merged. So make common storage media (like the CD or DVD) and a compatible hardware the ability to develop games for various consoles as well as PC parallel and thus less expensively, and for a wider mass market.

Computer games are a widespread and important form of entertainment today. An own industry to the development of computer games has developed in many countries, Umsätze sometimes exceed the respective film industry.

Social structure 

Computer games today shape our culture and they influence people of modern societies as well as other mass media. Especially for young people is to watch her daily life changed considerably by computer games. The importance and acceptance of a computer game is very different in the individual countries. In some countries games lead a niche existence socially and culturally, if also not necessarily economical. However, a major culture around game and players has made, for example, in South Korea. Computer games occupy an important place in the culture there.

The game is only reluctantly accepted as an art form in addition to film, music, Visual Arts, etc.. This may be in the short history and the often very technology-related and on mere entertainment content, and these also are often mere technically improved repetitions of older titles with little new content with new titles. On the other hand the name may be game responsible, judgmental from acting because he suggests a similarity to a toy with no entertainment value without content mediation. There are video game: arguments for the art form because the games on the PC or on the console is interactive, everyone makes his own art by applying his own style of play.


Computer games are played in all layers of the age. Some children already start at pre-school age with the video or computer game. In General interested in young men and male adolescents for computer games. The average gamers was between 18 and 23 years old in 2003.

A study of the game software company Electronic Arts has revealed that in Germany in about a third of all players over 30 years and almost every tenth is older than 50 years old. The entertainment software Association, the industry association, in which the most computer games publisher are engaged, assumes that every fourth American citizen at the age of over 50 years regularly plays on the computer. Female teenagers are not averse to computer games, spend but usually less time. The study "Typology of wish" to 38.8% of men and 22.3% of women computer or video games play in Germany. There are however just in the E-sports competition like playing computer or video games, several so-called "all female", so purely female clans who deny even their own tournaments.

As a rule, game consoles aimed mostly at a younger audience and therefore include more action. Computer games for the PC can generate more complex simulations by more powerful hardware and are therefore also in the elderly: not young, but young adults are the main purchaser, because young people have does not have the required money and that is why commercial software often copy. A similar problem knows the music industry. The use of computer games for the purpose of the training is possible. It is not the strict definition of a game as zweckfrei, but so that in such cases, one speaks mostly of simulations.

A movement of people who use not only games but also change these and it develop even new games is formed by the possibilities of digital media from the ranks of the players. So-called mods (short for modifications) are rare by professional game developers created changes or extensions of computer games mostly by the players. So errors or unwanted restrictions on commercial games be eliminated after a short time already improved graphics or incorporated additional features. The mods that extend the original game to new experiences are however much more important. The most famous modification has emerged as multiplayer expansion to the game half-life counter-strike, originally. The video game industry begins increasingly actively to support this scene because this is a cheap way to expand finished games and to make it even more attractive.


Excessive use of computer games and the associated sleep deprivation, it (such as when excessive computer use in General) may be sleep disorders, hallucinations, lack of concentration, postural (caused by lack of exercise), nerve damage (carpal tunnel syndrome), eye damage, power failure, and nervousness. Also the occurrence of gaming sickness (see also simulator sickness, motion sickness) is possible. In many game manual epilepsy warnings are pronounced in addition; These are required by law in some States. A study of the Charité in Berlin showed on November 10, 2005, that meets about every tenth gamers dependency criteria, which are comparable to those of other addicts such as, for example, alcohol abusers. It but there is no link has been established by aggression and game addict, however strongly discusses this topic in politics and in the media.

Computer Game industry


While in the early 1980s at the time of home computers and video game consoles still a single programmer could take care of almost all the tasks of production of a game, needed is now for commercial computer games due to the increased complexity (such as by technical progress or the higher demands on the finished product in General) team of specialists for each area.

Developer scene 

Computer games/video games are created by game developers. Although individuals may be, but most so-called Studios (developer), which are at least a game designer, producer, author, graphic designer, programmer, level designer, sound designer, musician and game tester in teams in the development of computer games work together. The most prominent developers include John Carmack, Sid Meier, Peter Molyneux, will Wright, Shigeru Miyamoto, Yu Suzuki, Richard Garriott, Hideo Kojima, American McGee, Markus Persson and Warren Spector. Most teams include 20 to 50 developers, it can be but also over 100.

The average number of developers and the development period have increased with the growing importance of the industry and the increasingly complex technology that is used. The production of a modern, commercial game takes about one to three years and costs about $ a to 15 million. The production costs are often worn by so-called publishers (similar to book publishers), which later sell the finished product and market.

Especially in Japan the gaming industry differs quite strongly from Europe and the United States. There other structures of the game development evolved through the history of arcade games and still higher popularity of console and arcade games to PC games in Japan. So many developers produce anonymously or under pseudonyms. Often the teams in Japan have a dedicated Designer (as Director) and are higher for similar games from other countries. Because it is harder, without producing Publisher games for consoles, as, for example, for PCs, there are hardly any independent production from Japan. Quite a few independent publishers studios have formed in Europe and the United States against it.


Almost all computer games define the object of the game through formalized criteria for success as a point count (high scores) or the achievement of predefined victory criteria. Some games also offer game modes, in which no goal has been defined and the game can be continued any or only by a failure exit is (continuous play). Examples of this are life simulations and non-games.


Modern computer games deal with very different content. There is also an Exchange with other media. Elements or whole worlds from well-known films are often so how about from Blade Runner, the James-Bond-acquired Star Trek and Star Wars series and increasingly from computer games to other media transfer - such as the films of Tomb Raider, resident evil and doom.


Although there are different types of computer games, no clearly defined categorization is possible within the scientific debate. Distinction is made between many genres, which on the one hand rather based on semiotic schemas (such as action-Adventures) on the other hand the mechanics and describe the used interface (such as the first-person shooter). There are quite a few games that can be mapped to multiple genres and where therefore difficult integration. Some genres are very, others less known.

Among the most popular genres since the mid-1990's the first-person shooter or first-person shooter, in which the virtual world from the perspective of I is represented and which has mostly the responsive shooting virtual opponents to content (see Frag). Other important genres are the adventure, where often puzzles in the history are enclosed, and the responsiveness to the reflection in the background is; Strategy games where it comes, to build a base, to collect raw materials, set up an army or similar and strategically so to proceed against his opponent; Role-playing games where it is above all to the specific development of the skills of the virtual character and jump-'n'-run games, in which moves the character continuously and jumping on and precise jumping represents a substantial part of the playful action. An another genre that is closely connected with the development of computers, various simulations, such as flight simulators, partly also professionally used. These include also economic simulations where a possible high profit must be achieved. In sports games, a virtual sports situation must be mastered by skill at the interface.


The user interacts with other players or artificial characters by mouse, keyboard or gamepad input via a computer and gets reactions typically across a screen. The player controls a virtual character through a predefined world as often. He can move freely in the given world, depending on the game, to varying degrees. The game developer has previously defined rules and objectives. The player must comply with these rules (see also: cheat), to achieve the goal. A quality feature for video games is often the freedom of action.

The reciprocal each other action of the player to the computer in single player mode or via a computer with other players in multiplayer mode is fundamental to the game, which is why unlike can be described it as such as the television, the film or the book as an interactive medium.

Single player 

Computer games are played mainly in so-called single-player mode. Here, the situation is affected only by the player and the computer. The actions and reactions of the opponents, often bots called, are calculated by the computer. Quality criterion is often the level of artificial intelligence of the non-player characters in games with single player mode and with the development of computer technology it progresses further. Scores can be stored as savegames, it later to resume or to send to others.


Many games support the so-called multi player mode, where several human players against or with each other can play (such as co-op). Is played either on the same computer (often with the split screen technique for simultaneous playing or alternating via hot-seat system) or through networked devices: over the Internet or a local area network (on a larger scale to LAN parties, where many like-minded people together link their computers). The multiplayer mode allows for a direct comparison of the game skills and so sporting measurement of benefits. These athletic competition with computer games is called E-sports. Examples of such games include: Quake III Arena, Unreal Tournament, Warcraft 3, and counter-strike.

Online games with high number of players (MMO or MMORPG) 

Over the Internet, it is possible to participate in many players a game. It is calculated the actual game on a server and each user can participate in the action from a networked computer. The most important form of these online games are massively multiplayer online role-playing game, or MMORPGs, where several thousand players play a role-playing game. This ongoing cost of using the server often apply in addition to the purchase price for the game. These regular costs are a major source of revenue for the operator of such games. MMORPGs have a certain addiction potential, according to a study for the German-speaking countries, because the player can determine the pace of his game not more even. This often leads to a huge time for the development of the virtual character. The most successful MMORPG is world of Warcraft, which exceeded the 12-million account mark worldwide in September 2010.


Computer games are controlled via input devices. The computer processes this data and calculates reactions that are issued from output devices using the so-called game engine.


Game console Nintendo Entertainment System

A platform is the hardware that serves as the basis for the respective game. You can distinguish between static platforms such as extra developed game consoles such as the Nintendo Entertainment System and the PlayStation generic platforms such as PCs and mobile phones, which are sometimes greatly changing. Most successful game console of ever measured is the PlayStation 2 from Sony on sales figures currently. More current game consoles are the PlayStation 3 from Sony, the Xbox 360 from Microsoft and the Wii by Nintendo. There is a market for portable devices such as the game boy series and the Nintendo DS by Nintendo and the PSP from Sony. The mobile game was once exclusively the domain of this handheld game consoles, it is today more and more PDAs and mobile phones, which have a game support in addition to their actual functions. The personal computer is very popular especially in Germany as a platform for computer games.


Game engines (known as game engines) are programs that provide frequently used tools to game developers and technical core of a computer game understood as can be. You enable effects such as explosions and reflections, the calculation of physical behavior of objects in the game, access to input devices such as mouse and keyboard, and the playing of music, the appearance of 3D objects.

In the production of a computer game is either a new game engine programmed - until the mid-1990s, this was almost always the case - or licensed but an already existing and used may be modified, making the production time can be reduced. Known commercial engines are the Unreal engine from Epic Games, the of the German Development Studio Crytek CryEngine and the source engine by valve, known free engines are the quake engine by id Software and their descendants. There are also almost always editors - programs, with which you can create your own levels without professional programming skills to the game engines. These are used mainly for the expansion and modification of commercial games, see mods.


Typically is entered by hand with the keyboard or the mouse, especially in the PC, or the game pad in game consoles. Other input devices such as joysticks and paddles were more common in the 1980s. Games with voice control have not prevailed so far due to the possibility of errors of speech recognition. The feet are only rarely used especially in car racing games to control of gas and brake with the pedals. In addition, some less common devices such as the PC are usable dash and the Strategic Commander. There have been various attempts to market games that respond to the movement of the body of the player - for example by pressure sensors in rubber mats or by evaluating a camera image. These games represented for a long time but to a niche product. Only with the wide distribution of the Wii console from Nintendo established this type of control. The controller has a motion sensor of the position and movement in the area registered, so a character can be controlled by arm movements.

Optical output 

You can distinguish roughly between machine text in text mode, 2D and 3D computer graphics. It has an own aesthetics of computer games evolved, its own language, image. The first games were monochrome and marked by text or block graphics. With the availability of increasingly better GPUs, the imagery were always colored and complex.

The typical gaming display today showing the player as avatar in the image, or directly his own vision, the first-person view (ego perspective), for example, in the first-person shooter, the subjective camera like in the film. All possible, scores, messages such as health or mission objectives in the image (usually in the form of head-up display/HUD) will appear. The Visual information output can be done via monitor, display or TV and even a three-dimensional experience can be produced in conjunction with a 3D glasses.

Acoustic output 

Audible alarms, effects and narration are used in increasing volume and increasingly scarcer quality games. Of the formerly mainly atmospheric importance they have become an important source for the player (for example, to the spatial positioning and orientation within the game). Acoustic information gain by the use of headsets, allowing a quick and easy communication between team members, becoming increasingly important especially in multiplayer games. In Germany, Narrator of imported games is always more similar to professionally synchronized as in movies. Partially used the localization also speaker voices known from other media.

Special importance has the music in games: initially introduced as pure music of the scene, the game music occupies today a similar role like in movies: is used to increase the dramatic and scenic to do the action. These are often short, catchy melody records to the application that are not boring even after frequent listening to. The bandwidth on the quality claim is doing great: professional game developers employ today own composers, which are focused on the creation of the music. It is added to today simply as audio track in the usual data formats finished the project. PC games offer the opportunity to Exchange unwanted pieces of music or sounds and to adapt the own taste the user or the user freely accessible data folders. This is only possible when in standard data formats such as wave, play MP3, MIDI or other are used and collected the game into a single executable not by programmers page.

At the first Telegames of 1980s music developers had to have extensive programming of technical expertise, to integrate their score in the program.

Mechanical output 

In addition to the optical and acoustic output the mechanical provides a more interaction. The so-called force feedback technology enables the output of mechanical effects in response to forces that have an impact on the character. This technique is used especially in wheels for driving games, joysticks for Flight Sims and gamepad and mouse buttons. If, for example, the player with the car against a barrier, he senses a backlash on the steering wheel.

Comparison with other media, art forms 

The computer game characterized by significant differences, but also by substantial similarities compared to other media and art forms. The image and interactivity are the two essential elements of a computer game. The first is in the film, as well as in painting and drawing, the second in experimental theater.

More and more, the international networking of computer games is one of its essential characteristics. Often borrowed from the computer game more elements other media and it develops in the own, about the history, borrowed from the drama, the film and literature or music and, if in a completely new way and the play itself. Approaches to do this can be found around in black & white, Deus Ex, world of Warcraft, the Sims, Dungeon Keeper, Baldur's Gate 2, Fahrenheit, monkey Iceland 3 etc.

In February 2008 OLAF Zimmermann of the German Cultural Council spoke out for it, that also computer games developer as an artist to recognize would be. Hans-Joachim Otto, Chairman of the Committee on culture and the media of the German Bundestag, agreed with Carpenter in an interview and said that the game development requires a high degree of creative and artistic work.


Social impact 

The impact of violence in computer games are the subject of controversial discussions. This is essentially a matter, as violence in games and shows their effects on the personal development of computer-playing children and young people, and a possible link between virtual and real violence, i.e., whether violence in computer games makes more aggressive and/or violent people with a susceptible for personality in real life.

Various studies, which takes place in part already since the 1980s, researchers are trying to show whether the excessive use of violence containing computer games can have effect on the violence of the consumers. While other issues play into such as the support in the social environment and the quality of the environment. Recent analysis using functional MRI suggest that brain activity shows decreased response in the left lower frontal lobe even after a week in the Stroop test for violence. A group of 14 men and an equally large control group has been tested. Also pointed out by scientists the addiction when excessive computer games. Certain types of games apparently have a significantly higher addictive potential than others, especially online role-playing games.

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