The new millennium is the millennia of PC games. But before PCs became a household phenomenon, the only games of its kind that kids knew, and a whole generation of Americans have grown up playing, were arcade games.

Arcade games consist of a simple, yet bulky machine, with a colorful screen, and some sticks or buttons to play with, and a device to put coins in, which allows the game to be played for a particular period of time.

Today, you can find arcade games that run on computers, using emulators. But before that had happened, arcade games were typically found, apart from the especial entertainment centres and video arcades, in restaurants, malls and movie halls Arkadium Games . Kids and grown ups alike played mainly three types of arcade games: the famed pinball, video games or redemption games.

Yet, the ancestry of arcade games could be traced to the hugely popular games commonly known as the “amusement park midway games” like ball toss game and shooting galleries which were popular at the beginning of the 20th century.

The 1930s saw the first coin-operated pinball machines. Though being made of wood with all functions mechanical rather than electronic and being a far cry from the electronic ones that were to come much later, they were still quite a hit. The late seventies would see these mechanical pinballs being replaced by electronic games.

The change in fortunes of arcade games happened with the formation of a company called Atari in 1972. This company created the coin-operated machines, beginning with the electronic ping pong game, called Pong. Pong was a huge hit, and led to even more home video game systems being introduced onto the market.

Many games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Space Invaders became huge hits in the late seventies and early eighties, paving the way to a revolution. The last breath to the arcade games was provided by the emergence of two player fighting games like Street Fighter II , Mortal Kombat¸ Fatal Fury, King of fighters etc in the early 90s. However, this was not to redeem the fate of arcade games completely, as the growth in computers and video technology saw the emergence of new type of games, including PC games and games that ran on special consoles such as the Playstation, Game Boy and the X-box pushing arcade games into the sidelines, to almost the end of their existence.

Starting a career in the video game industry used to a difficult thing; there were very few options and very few schools that could teach the required cutting edge skills. If you wanted to choose this path you had to be self taught. Today this dilemma has been turned upside down. You now have a plethora of schools to choose from and lots of programs and specialties to decide amongst. Here is some advice on what the industry has to offer and what you can do to prepare yourself.

The video game industry has changed over the past ten years. It has matured and is now a full-fledged industry. This means that there are plenty of opportunities to find a rewarding career without being a hot-shot game programmer. As a matter of fact, the days of the hot shot developer are pretty much over. In today’s world the creation of a state of the art video game now requires a dedicated team of employees with a wide range of skills and interests.

What does this mean for you? It means opportunity in a lot of different disciplines and it means that you have to specialize within a subgenre of the big picture of “Making Video Games”. But before you pack off and go to a video game school or dish out the dollars for an online school there are some things you should do and some things you need to know.

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