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How Video Games Have Evolved with Technology for the Better!

by Ann Ferguson

Remember when we used to play games on bulky TVs and pixelated screens? Fast forward to today, and it's all about 4K graphics, surround sound, and massive flat screens. It's incredible how far we've come, right?

And with National Video Games Day coming up next week (Sept. 12), what better time to take a trip down memory lane? So, grab your controller, and let's dive into the epic journey of how our favorite video games have leveled up with technology!

The Early Days of Video Games

Kid playing old-school 8-bit gaming system on small TV

The late 70s and early 80s marked the beginning of a new era in entertainment — the birth of video games. The Atari console and arcade games like Space Invaders were the talk of the town. And who could forget the excitement of rescuing the princess in Super Mario Bros on the Nintendo Entertainment System? With their pixelated graphics and simple sound effects, these games were the stepping stones to today's immersive gaming world.

Sure, compared to the high-definition, 3D graphics we're used to now, these early games might seem basic. But back then, they were nothing short of revolutionary. They sparked a love for gaming in millions of people and set the stage for future technological advancements.

However, they were also limited by the technology of the time. The TVs and monitors they were played on could only display so much detail, and the sound systems of the time couldn't deliver the immersive audio experiences we have today.

TVs and Video Games: A Match Made in Pixel Heaven

Comparison between old-school pixelated game and a modern-day Fortnite

As our TVs got better, so did our video games. It's like they were in a race to outdo each other! Let's take a trip down memory lane and see how each leap in TV technology gave us a new era of gaming:

  • Color TVs: When TVs went from black-and-white to color, suddenly, games like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong were bursting with vibrant hues, making our favorite pixelated characters come to life.
  • The High-Definition Revolution: With their crisp resolution, games like Call of Duty and Assassin's Creed could offer detailed environments and lifelike characters. It was like being inside the game!
  • 4K and 8K TVs: The level of detail and clarity these bad boys offer is mind-blowing, with games looking more and more realistic.

But it wasn't just the picture quality that changed the game; the upgraded screen sizes also had something to do with it!

The Bigger, The Better: Screen Size and Video Games

Closeup of someone playing on a large flatscreen TV

As TVs grew in size, so did our gaming experiences. A 20-inch TV was considered big and game-worthy when video games first became popular. Now, we're gaming on screens that are 55 inches and beyond! And it's interesting to see how the increasing screen size has changed our gaming:

  • Larger TVs in the '90s: We went from playing Tetris on a small screen to immersive games like Super Mario 64 on larger screens. Even if the bit rate still had a long way to go.
  • Flatscreen TVs: When they hit the market, they helped make games like Halo and Grand Theft Auto playable without distortion, making the gaming experience more immersive and visually stunning.
  • Modern Large-Screen TVs: Playing games on 55-inch (and larger) TVs is the standard now, where these massive screens allow for incredibly detailed graphics closer to a cinema than a traditional gaming setup.

So, as our TVs have grown, our games have grown with them, offering more detailed graphics, more immersive gameplay, and a more cinematic experience!

What's That Sound? Changing Audio in Video Games

Sound and music have always been crucial to video games, adding to the overall experience and immersion. As technology has advanced, so has the audio in our games:

  • 8-bit Era: In the early days of gaming, we had simple beeps and boops. Games like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda had memorable, catchy tunes, but they were limited by the technology of the time.
  • 16-bit and CD-ROM Era: With the advent of the 16-bit era and CD-ROMs, video game audio could now include recorded dialogue and high-quality music. Games like Final Fantasy VI and Chrono Trigger are still remembered for their incredible soundtracks.
  • Modern Era: Today, video games feature fully orchestrated soundtracks, realistic sound effects, and high-quality voice acting. For instance, games like The Last of Us Part II and God of War provide cinematic audio experiences that rival Hollywood productions.

Just as with the visuals, the audio in our games has become more detailed and immersive, enhancing our gaming experiences!

The Evolution of Speakers and Sound Systems in Gaming

Kid playing video games with high-quality headphones, with a speaker system in the background as an alternative

As video game audio has improved, so too have the speakers and sound systems we use to listen to them — which only amped up the fun!

  • Mono Sound: In the early days of gaming, mono sound was the standard where the same audio signal was sent to every speaker, resulting in a lack of depth and directionality.
  • Stereo Sound: With the advent of stereo sound, audio could be split between two speakers, which allows for a sense of directionality and makes the audio experience more immersive.
  • Surround Sound: These systems use multiple speakers to create a 360-degree audio experience, letting gamers hear sounds from specific directions, adding another layer of immersion and realism to games (especially the quiet, thriller ones!).
  • Soundbars and High-End Speakers: These devices offer superior sound quality and can make a big difference in games where audio is a crucial part of the experience.
  • High-Quality Headphones: provide immersive sound, often with features like noise-cancellation and surround sound capabilities, making them a popular choice for gamers.

By investing in high-quality speakers and sound systems, gamers can fully appreciate the advanced audio of modern video games.

Internet Connectivity: A New Era of Gaming

While the evolution of TVs and speakers certainly left its mark on gaming, the internet has made an even more significant impact. It's not just about solo play anymore. With the advent of online gaming, we can now connect with friends and players worldwide.

Massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) have created vast digital universes, and digital distribution has made acquiring new games as easy as a few clicks. And the latest trend? Cloud gaming, which allows us to play high-quality games on almost any device. Thanks to the internet, gaming has become a global, round-the-clock phenomenon!

Ready. Start. Play!

Start menu on old-school video game

From pixelated '70s games to today's hyper-realistic ones, tech has leveled up gaming. High-res TVs, immersive audio, and speedy internet have made gaming more engaging. So, as National Video Games Day approaches, why not level up your gaming setup too? At Toton’s TV, we have high-resolution TVs and audio to make gaming feel like a whole new world!

And if you have any questions, please give us a call or stop by!