An electronic game is a game that employs electronics to create an
interactive system with which a player can play.
Video game is the
most common form today, and for this reason the two terms are often
mistakenly used synonymously. Other common forms of electronic game
include such products as handheld electronic games, standalone systems
(e.g. pinball, slot machines, or electro-mechanical arcade games), and
exclusively non-visual products (e.g. audio games).
1 Teletype games
2 Electronic handhelds
Pinball machines and similar devices
4 Redemption games and merchandisers
5 Slot machines
6 Audio games
7 Video games
7.1 Arcade games
Computer video games
7.3 Console games
8 Hybrid or Combined Games
9.2 Non-human games
10 Test Mode and Hidden Features
Main article: Text-based game
The earliest form of computer game to achieve any degree of mainstream
use was the text-based Teletype game. Teletype games lack video
display screens and instead present the game to the player by printing
a series of characters on paper which the player reads as it emerges
from the platen. Practically this means that each action taken will
require a line of paper and thus a hard-copy record of the game
remains after it has been played. This naturally tends to reduce the
size of the gaming universe or alternatively to require a great amount
of paper. As computer screens became standard during the rise of the
third generation computer, text-based command line-driven language
parsing Teletype games transitioned into visual interactive fiction
allowing for greater depth of gameplay and reduced paper requirements.
This transition was accompanied by a simultaneous shift from the
mainframe environment to the personal computer.
Examples of text-based Teletype games include:
The Oregon Trail (1971) - the earliest versions
Super Star Trek
Super Star Trek (1975)
Adventure (1976) - the earliest versions
Zork (1977) - the earliest versions
Main article: Handheld electronic game
The earliest form of dedicated console, handheld electronic games are
characterized by their size and portability. Used to play interactive
games, handheld electronic games are often miniaturized versions of
video games. The controls, display and speakers are all part of a
single unit, and rather than a general-purpose screen made up of a
grid of small pixels, they usually have custom displays designed to
play one game. This simplicity means they can be made as small as a
digital watch, which they sometimes are. The visual output of these
games can range from a few small light bulbs or LED lights to
calculator-like alphanumerical screens; later these were mostly
displaced by liquid crystal and
Vacuum fluorescent display
Vacuum fluorescent display screens
with detailed images and in the case of VFD games, color. Handhelds
were at their most popular from the late 1970s into the early 1990s.
They are both the precursors to and inexpensive alternatives to the
handheld game console.
Examples of handheld electronic games include:
Mattel Auto Race
Mattel Auto Race (1976)
Game & Watch (1979)
Bandai LCD Solarpower
Bandai LCD Solarpower (1982)
Entex Adventure Vision
Entex Adventure Vision (1982)
Lights Out (1995)
Pinball machines and similar devices
Pinball § Solid-state era
Since the introduction of electromechanics to the pinball machine in
1933's Contact, pinball has become increasingly dependent on
electronics as a means to keep score on the backglass and to provide
quick impulses on the playfield (as with bumpers and flippers) for
exciting gameplay. Unlike games with electronic visual displays,
pinball has retained a physical display that is viewed on a table
through glass. Similar forms of game such as pachinko have also become
increasingly dependent on electronics in modern times.
Examples of pinball games include:
The Addams Family (1991)
Indiana Jones: The
Pinball Adventure (1993)
Star Trek: The Next Generation (1993)
List of pinball machines
Redemption games and merchandisers
Main article: Redemption game
Redemption games such as
Skee Ball have been around since the days of
the carnival game - well earlier than the development of the
electronic game, however with modern advances many of these games have
been re-worked to employ electronic scoring and other game mechanics.
The use of electronic scoring mechanisms has allowed carnival or
arcade attendants to take a more passive role, simply exchanging
prizes for electronically dispensed coupons and occasionally emptying
out the coin boxes or banknote acceptors of the more popular games.
Merchandisers such as the Claw Crane are more recent electronic games
in which the player must accomplish a seemingly simple task (e.g.
remotely controlling a mechanical arm) with sufficient ability to earn
Examples of redemption games include:
Skee Ball - modern electric versions
Examples or merchandisers include:
Claw crane (1980)
Main article: Slot machine
The slot machine is a casino gambling machine with three or more reels
which spin when a button is pushed. Though slot machines were
originally operated mechanically by a lever on the side of the machine
(the one arm) instead of an electronic button on the front panel as
used on today's models, many modern machines still have a "legacy
lever" in addition to the button on the front. Slot machines include a
currency detector that validates the coin or money inserted to play.
The machine pays off based on patterns of symbols visible on the front
of the machine when it stops. Modern computer technology has resulted
in many variations on the slot machine concept.
Main article: Audio game
An audio game is a game played on an electronic device such as—but
not limited to—a personal computer. It is similar to a video game
save that the only feedback device is audible rather than visual.
Audio games originally started out as 'blind accessible'-games, but
recent interest in audio games has come from sound artists, game
accessibility researchers, mobile game developers, and mainstream
video gamers. Most audio games run on a computer platform, although
there are a few audio games for handhelds and video game consoles.
Audio games feature the same variety of genres as video games, such as
adventure games, racing games, etc.
Examples of audio games include:
Real Sound: Kaze no Regret (1997)
Main article: Video game
A video game is a game that involves interaction with a user interface
to generate visual feedback on a video device. The word video in video
game traditionally referred to a raster display device. However,
with the popular use of the term "video game", it now implies any type
of display device.
Main article: Arcade game
See also: Golden age of arcade video games
Electronic video arcade games make extensive use of solid state
electronics and integrated circuits. In the past coin-operated arcade
video games generally used custom per-game hardware often with
multiple CPUs, highly specialized sound and graphics chips and/or
boards, and the latest in computer graphics display technology. Recent
arcade game hardware is often based on modified video game console
hardware or high end pc components. Arcade games may feature
specialized ambiance or control accessories, including fully enclosed
dynamic cabinets with force feedback controls, dedicated lightguns,
rear-projection displays, reproductions of car or plane cockpits and
even motorcycle or horse-shaped controllers, or even highly dedicated
controllers such as dancing mats and fishing rods. These accessories
are usually what set modern arcade games apart from PC or console
games, and they provide an experience that some gamers consider more
immersing and realistic.
Examples of arcade games include:
Space Invaders (1978)
Donkey Kong (1981)
Street Fighter II
Street Fighter II (1991)
Mortal Kombat (1992)
Fatal Fury (1992)
Killer Instinct (1994)
King of Fighters
King of Fighters (1994–2005)
Time Crisis (1995)
Dance Dance Revolution
Dance Dance Revolution (1998)
House of the Dead (1998)
Computer video games
Main article: PC game
A personal computer video game (also known as a computer game or
simply PC game) is a video game played on a personal computer, rather
than on a video game console or arcade machine. The vast majority of
computer games today are video games, and since the earliest days of
the medium, visual displays such as the cathode ray tube have been
used to relay game information.
Main article: Console game
Video game console
A console game is a form of interactive multimedia used for
entertainment. The game consists of manipulable images (and usually
sounds) generated by a video game console, and displayed on a
television or similar audio-video system. The game itself is usually
controlled and manipulated using a handheld device connected to the
console called a controller. The controller generally contains a
number of buttons and directional controls (such as analog joysticks)
each of which has been assigned a purpose for interacting with and
controlling the images on the screen. The display, speakers, console,
and controls of a console can also be incorporated into one small
object known as a handheld game console.
Console games are most frequently differentiated between by their
compatibility with consoles belonging in the following categories:
Traditional console, also called "home console" - A multi-game system
that uses the screen of a television to produce graphics.
Handheld game console
Handheld game console - A multi-game system the screen and controls of
which are compacted into a single handheld device.
Dedicated console - A (typically) single game system of either the
Plug and play
Plug and play variety or the LCD game.
Educational console - A multi-game console supporting primarily
educational games. These consoles are often simplified for use by
Within these categories the systems are differentiated between by
their manufacturer and generation (corresponding to the year of their
release). Console games are also often differentiated by game genre.
Hybrid or Combined Games
Game hybridization refers to the integration of an interactive,
electronic component into a game. A "hybrid" or "combined game" is any
tabletop game where an electronic device and/or application is an
element crucial to the gameplay. These games are a catalyst for
creating new game mechanics. Important consequences of this technology
are: the possible substitution of the gamemaster or person who leads a
game for an application or device, which can be more fair, with less
room for bias, cheating or favouritism, and can be intelligently
randomised; the possibility of using artificial intelligence and
machine learning in games; greater randomisation of events;
possibility of conducting fast and advanced mathematical calculations,
making some complex games easier or available to a wider group of
consumers; and enhanced player immersion with the aid of various
stimuli like sound or animation.
One may categorize hybrid games as follows:
Purpose-built devices: Where the game uses a device that has certain
functions (like an electronic dice or spinner) to play out the game.
An example would be "Monopoly: Electronic Banking" (2007) by Hasbro,
 where all players have an electronic card which carries virtual
Monopoly currency, and use a machine to increase and deduct their
Beacon technology games are mobile, digital games that employ BLE
(Bluetooth Low Energy) Beacons to track and control players movements
and actions. An example: Artifact Technologies created a mobile,
digital board game, called BattleKasters  where players physically
walk around to cast spells or unlock cards.
Augmented Reality: board games that interact with a mobile device and
immerse the player in the virtual environment through animation, sound
and/or vibrations. Example: Roar! by Trefl, which utilises sound as
part of the gameplay.
Electronics have been adapted for use in a wide range of applications.
Board games such as Dark Tower, for instance, rely heavily upon
electronics. Non-traditional electronic games such as Rubik's
Revolution or electronic toys which blur the boundaries between games
and toys such as the Electronic
Magic 8 Ball
Magic 8 Ball Date Ball or the
Ouija Board are often considered electronic games as
Main article: Arcade game:
These were types of arcade games similar to arcade video games but
relying on electro-mechanical components to produce sounds or images
rather than a cathode ray tube screen. These were popular during
the 1960s and 1970s, but video games eventually overtook them in
popularity during the golden age of video arcade games that began in
A popular early example was Sega's Periscope in 1966. It was an
early submarine simulator and light gun shooter, which used lights
and plastic waves to simulate sinking ships from a submarine. Sega
later produced gun games which resemble first-person shooter video
games, but were in fact electro-mechanical games that used rear image
projection in a manner similar to the ancient zoetrope to produce
moving animations on a screen. An early example of this was the
light gun game Duck Hunt, which
Sega released in 1969; it
featured animated moving targets on a screen, printed out the player's
score on a ticket, and had sound effects that were volume
With the development of technology geared toward electronic
entertainment of animals (typically pets), video games for pets have
also been created. Since the majority of animals lack opposable
thumbs, the fine motor skills required for use in most gaming is
unavailable to these animals. Furthermore, the visual perception of
many animals is influenced by a different visible spectrum than
humans. Techniques that de-emphasize manual control and visual
components have been developed to circumvent these problems beginning
with the development of television for pets. From this point,
developers have branched out into the realm of electronic games with
such products as Mice Arena (for mice), Chicken Petman, and
Cyberpounce (for cats).
Test Mode and Hidden Features
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To ensure that an electronic game is working correctly, the programmer
adds a hidden mode in the game. The job of the hidden mode is to make
sure that everything is functioning correctly and all the sound files
exist. Some electronic games do not play all the sound files in their
hidden test modes. Sometimes they would loop the same sound a few
times. Some electronic games require inserting a hidden try me tab to
access the sound testing mode and pressing a combination of buttons.
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