Many modern online games are so complex, and their open-world settings so expansive, that it can take the best part of a decade for them to fully come to fruition. This can leave many gaming fans and Esports followers frustrated by the rate of progress, especially when such a game then flops on release despite a developer’s best efforts.
However, all that time spent waiting for a game to be perfected is nothing when compared to the centuries or millennia that it has taken to fine-tune some of the most popular online games in the world.
Here we take a look at those classic games and in some instances ancient games, of the past which have since made the seamless transition over into online gaming lobbies, resulting in the culmination of a gaming journey akin to the evolution of a species or civilization.
Classic Card Games
It is generally accepted that the very first playing cards were produced by gamers from the Mamlūk dynasty, which was in existence in the 12th and 13th centuries and centered around what is known today as Egypt. From there the concept of playing cards bestowed with royal and numerical values was taken up by gamers in Europe.
One of the first card games to take flight in Europe was that of 21, mention of which was first found in the writings of the great Spanish author Cervantes. Poker began to show signs of coming to life in 17th century France and Germany, where games such as “Poque” and “Pochen” were starting to take hold in their respective countries. The history and evolution of this classic card game actually started outside of Europe though, in the 16th century Persian souks whose market sellers and patrons all played the game that spawned poker; it goes by the name of As-Nas. Almost all classic card games of the past have now been taken online by developers or gaming apps and sites, so that even the likes of Go Fish can be played against other card aficionados around the globe.
While card games have certainly captured the hearts and imaginations of gamers everywhere so too have board games like chess, backgammon, and chequers.
Chess in particular has been a massive success online, its popularity boosted by grandmasters who have taken to live streaming their gaming exploits on platforms such as Twitch and Facebook. The game has come a long way since it first started life in India some time in the 6th century. From there it made its way to Persia – Persians being the clever folk who invented the notion of “check” and “check mate” – and only then was it commandeered by Europeans.
If you think chess is a game with longevity, then you will be seriously impressed by the staying power of backgammon, whose earliest iterations date all the way back to 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia, or what is now known as Iraq. The game has not quite taken off online like chess and poker have, but diehard players still have access to several sites and apps that keep this truly ancient game alive and kicking.
Of course, there are plenty of games online today that did not breathe their first breath hundreds or thousands of years ago but were instead developed during the naissance of the computer game revolution.
Such games include arcade classics like Pac-Man and Space Invaders. Pac-Man was created by Japanese game designer Toru Iwatani, whose aim back in the 1970s was to create a title that was devoid of violence and that appealed especially to women. And so a gaming legend was brought to life, which still to this day is being remade and reimagined for devices like the Nintendo Switch.