The Discovery Channel will examine the history and impact of videogames with a five-part special mini-series called Rise of the Videogame, premiering November 21.
Beginning with the early 1970s and carrying through to today, the series will look at how videogames are created, produced, marketed and distributed, along with the evolution of the industry from the earliest days of Atari’s empire to the three-way console war being waged today. The first episode, titled Level One, will start with the infancy of the industry, which began “not with a bag but with a ping,” focusing on the perseverance of early pioneers who believed videogames could become a dominant form of entertainment despite the doubts and misgivings of the public.
Following weekly, Level Two will pick up in the late 1970s and early 1980s when Japanese designers like Shigeru Miyamoto used the advent of recognizable characters and increased complexity in games to give us Super Mario, Luigi and Zelda. Level Three will look at the rise in realism and violence in early 3-D games like Wolfenstein and Doom, when the industry first came under fire for its potentially harmful and addictive effects on children. In Level Four, the increasing power of game systems that have allowed the development of both complex “God games” as well as tools for improved teaching techniques and creative expression will be looked at. Finally, in Level Five, online worlds will be the subject, as players escape the mundane banality of the real world to make emotional connections in the virtual.
Rise of the Videogame debuts at 8:00 p.m. EST on the Discovery Channel, with subsequent episodes appearing weekly. More information is available at the Discovery Channel’s Rise of the Videogame website.