The first video game ever created was Pong. It was supposed to be the animated equivalent of ping pong. However, graphics were limited to a pair of very crude rectangles (ping pong paddles) and a white square (the ping pong ball). Pong, was in fact, the very first sports game of the video era. Decades have passed since the age of sports games went electronic and the dramatic improvements in graphics, detail, and capability have made them more popular than ever.
Sports games, be they on video games or in real life, have always been a popular attraction for people because they involve competition. Adrenaline begins to pump and that primal desire to vanquish an enemy at some contest is what draws people to sports games. This is precisely what makes these video games so popular amongst gamers to this day.
Sports games always feature a competition--either against another player or against the computer. As with most sports games in real life, there is generally a time limit and some sort of scoring system. A set of rules governs play and the object is usually to score more points than the opponent in a given time period. Sometimes, the point is to reach a certain number of points or attain a specified level.
What has really taken sports games to the next level where video games are concerned are the graphics. Systems today have memories and graphics cards that make Pong look like the sad by-product of a caveman. 3-D graphics, 360 degree angle rotation, slow-motion, and a number of advancements in graphics have made the sports games of today look closer to the real thing than we could have ever imagined possible 20 years ago. Gone are the flat, 2-D players and graphics of the Atari era. In today's games, animated representations of actual professional athletes look lifelike and bring an added element of realism.
The continued evolution of computer and gaming systems has elevated the realism and entertainment value of sports games to unprecedented levels. The next evolutionary step for sports games in the video game realm may very well involve virtual reality applications that thrust players into the heart of the game itself. While sports games of today may not be able to put you on center court at Wimbledon yet, they may be able to do so in the not-so-distant future!
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