The history of online games 1969 – 2004

The history of online games 1969 – 2004

This is a chronology of key events in the history of internet games. It includes significant developments in computer games, console games and Internet technologies. This is work in progress, so if you see a mistake or feel that something important has been overlooked, please do not hesitate to contact the details.


ARPANET, a network of nodes at UCLA, Stanford Research Institute, UC Santa Barbara and the University of Utah, has been commissioned by the Department of Defense for research purposes. Leonard Kleinrock of UCLA sends the first packets to the network while trying to log in to SRI remotely.


ARPANET grew to 15 nodes and an e-mail program for sending messages on a distributed network was invented by Ray Tomlinson. The possibilities for speeding up the games that are played by snail mail at that time are obvious.


Ray modified the email program for ARPANET, where it became a quick hit. The @ sign is used to specify a string as an email address.

Atari was founded by Nolan Bushnell.


Dave Arnesson and Gary Gigax are selling their first copywriters of Dungeons and Dragons , a game that continues to inspire both desktop and computer RPGs to date.

Will Crowther created a game called Adventure in FORTRAN on a PDP-1 computer. Don Woods later put Adventure on the PDP-10 a few years later and became the first widely used computer adventure game.


Telenet, the first public data package service, a commercial version of ARPANET, is making its debut.


Apple Computer was founded.


Radio Shack introduces the TRS-80.

Dave Lebling, Mark Blank, Tim Anderson and Bruce Daniels, a group of MIT students, write Zork for the PDP-10 mini-computer. Although as an Adventure, the game is only for one player, it is becoming quite popular on the ARPANET. A few years later, Blank and Joel Berez, with some help from Daniels, Lebling, and Scott Cutler, released a version for Infocom, which ran the TRS-80 and Apple II microcomputers.


Roy Trubshaw wrote the first MUD (multi-user dungeon) in MACRO-10 (the machine code for the DEC system-10). Although initially a little more than a series of places where you can move and chat, Richard Bartle is interested in the project and the game soon has a good combat system. About a year later, Roy and Richard, at the University of Essex in the UK, can connect with ARPANET in the US to host an international multiplayer game.


Kelton Flynn and John Taylor created Dungeons of Kesmai for Z-80 computers running CPM. The game uses ASCII graphics, supports 6 players and is slightly more action-oriented than early MUDs.


The first definitions of the term “Internet”.

Intel introduces the 80286 processor.

The Times magazine called 1982 the “Year of the Computer.”


Apple Computers reveals “Lisa”. This is the first personal computer sold with a graphical user interface (GUI). With a 5 MHz processor, 860 KB 5.25-inch floppy disk, 12-inch screen, keyboard and mouse, the system costs $ 9,995. Although Lisa came up with a staggering 1 megabyte of RAM, it was a financial disaster and the home computer didn’t revolutionize until Mac OS 1.0 was released about a year later.

The first Microsoft Mouse was introduced at the same time as Microsoft Word. About 100,000 units were built, but only 5,000 were sold.


CompuServe hosts the Kesmai Islands, rediscovering the Dungeons of Kesami, in its network. The participation fee is a whopping $ 12 per hour! The game continues, in various repetitions, until the end of the century.

MacroMind, the company that will eventually become Macromedia, was founded.


On March 15, became the first registered domain.

Microsoft Windows hit store shelves.

QuantumLink, AOL’s predecessor, launched in November.

Randy Farmer and Chip Morningstar at Lucasfilm are developing Habitat, a multiplayer online adventure game for QuantumLink. The client runs on a Commodore 64, but the game does not make it a beta in the US because it is too demanding for the time server technology.


The National Science Foundation created NSFNET at a speed of 56 Kbps. This allows a large number of institutions, especially universities, to connect.

Jessica Mulligan launches Rim Worlds War, the first email game on a commercial online server.


Internet Relay Chat (IRC) was introduced by Jarkko Oikarinen.

AberMUD was born at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth.

Club Caribe, a derivative of Habitat, has been released on QuantumLink.


James Aspnes writes TinyMUD as a simple, compact multiplayer adventure game and invites fellow CMU students to play it. TinyMUD adaptations remain in use on the Internet to this day.


Tim Berners-Lee depicts the World Wide Web, a system through which words, pictures, sounds, and hyperlinks can be combined and formatted across platforms to create digital pages similar to word processing documents. From CERN in Switzerland, he published the first HTML code in a discussion group called “alt.hypertext”.

Stormfront Studios ‘ Neverwinter Nights game , based on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, appears on America Online.

Sierra Network launches and offers online games such as chess, checkers and bridge. Bill Gates played bridge for the service.


Wolfenstein 3D by id The software took the computer game industry by storm on May 5th. Although it wasn’t actually 3D, by today’s standards, it’s a landmark in the first-person shooter genre.


Mosaic, the first graphical web browser developed by Mark Andreessen and a group of student programmers, has been released. Internet traffic is exploding at a growth rate of 341,634 percent per year.

Doom was released on December 10 and is becoming a moment of success.


Now Saturn and Sony PlayStation are launched in Japan. The PlayStation will later become Sony’s best-selling electronic product.

After 4 years as a dial-up game in the UK, Avalon MUD started offering a pay-to-play service online.


Sony is launching the PlayStation in the US for $ 299, $ 100 less than expected.

Nintendo 64 launched in Japan under close conditions of rebellion.

Windows 95 sells more than one million copies in four days.

Sun launches JAVA on May 23.


Id Software releases Quake on May 31, the game is truly three-dimensional and special attention is paid to multiplayer features. With the launch of a free program called QuakeWorld later in the year, Internet gaming has become much easier for modem users.

On August 24, the first version of Team Fortress became available – an add-on for Quake. Within a year, over 40% of the servers running Quake will be dedicated to Team Fortress .

Meridian 59 goes online and becomes one of the first highly graphical multiplayer games played in a permanent online world, although there is a limit of 35 simultaneous players. It was conceived by a small company called Archetype Interactive, and then sold to 3DO, which published the game. It uses a 2.5D engine similar to that of Doom, and although it has changed ownership again, it is still available and still loved by many RPG players. Meridian 59 may have been the first online game to charge a fixed monthly access fee instead of an hourly fee.

Macromedia shifts its focus from multimedia creation software to CDs to create web multimedia software and launches Shockwave 1.0.

Brad McQueed and Steve Claffer were hired by John Smedley at Sony’s 989 Studios to begin work on EverQuest .


Sony is selling its 20 million PlayStation, which easily makes it the most popular gaming console of its time.

Ultima Online has been released. Developed by Origin and based on the hugely successful Ultima franchise, many of the pioneers in online gaming are involved in this project, including Richard Garriott, Raph Koster and Rich Vogel. It uses a top-down 2D graphics module and eventually reaches over 200,000 subscribers.

Macromedia acquires the company that makes FutureSplash, which becomes the first version of Flash.


NCsoft, a small Korean software company, is launching Lineage, which will become one of the most popular MMORPGs with more than 4 million subscribers.

Starsiege: Tribes debuted as an online first action game online. Fans love the combination of team play, expansive outdoor terrain, multiple game modes, adaptive characters and controllable cars.

On August 1, Sierra launches Half-Life, a game built around the Quake 2 engine.

Sega Dreamcast was released in Japan on November 25. Although it launched an unstable start, it was the first console to be sold with a modem, and gave console users their first taste of online gaming.


Dreamcast was released in the United States.

On March 1, Sony released EverQuest, a fully 3D MMORPG . The game was a huge success and in the following years it saw many expansions and attracted more than half a million subscribers.

In early April, Sierra released Team Fortress Classic, a modification for Half-Life, based on the hugely popular Quake Team Fortress mod.

On June 19, Minh “Gooseman” Le and Jess Cliffe released beta 1 on Counter-Strike, another modification for Half-Life. The free mod continues to record the largest footprint of any game on the Internet, with 35,000 servers generating over 4.5 billion minutes of player per month.

Microsoft issued an invitation to Asheron on November 2.

Quake 3 Arena appears on store shelves just in time for the hind.

Billy Mitchell scored the highest possible score for Pac-Man when he finished each board and finished with a score of 3,333,360.


Sony launches the PlayStation 2 in Japan on March 4. Two days later, the company sold 1 million consoles, placing a new record. Japanese gamers start lining up outside stores two days in advance. Unfortunately, demand exceeds supply, and not everyone gets a console, including those who have agreed in advance.


Sega is launching Phantasy Star Online for Dreamcast, making it the first online console RPG. Icons and preselected text are translated between languages.

World War II began online in June.

Microsoft enters the console in November with the release of the Xbox. Although there was no network connection available at the time, the Xbox is equipped with a network interface card that will include a high-speed Internet connection.

Anarchy Online started rough with a storm of technical problems, but the game overcame this and attracted a solid base for players. This was the first game I knew of using “initialization” where parts of the world were duplicated for exclusive use on demand.

Dark Age of Camelot started with a warm welcome from the players and the media. The game grew at a remarkable rate and quickly surpassed Asheron’s Invitation to become one of the three largest MMORPGs in North America.

3DO publishes Jumpgate, an online space simulation game.

Blizzard starts talking about World of Warcraft – MMORPG, based on the popular RTS series.


On September 10, the release of Battlefield 1942 launched an extremely successful franchise of multiplayer combat themed shooters.

Electronic Arts and Westwood Studios are releasing Earth & Beyond, a space-based multiplayer MMORPG. The title went to less than 40,000 subscribers, and approximately two years later, on September 22, 2004, it closed its doors.

Asheron’s Call 2 launches on November 22nd. The game is never as popular as its predecessor, and about three years later, Jeffrey Anderson, CEO of Turbine Entertainment, announced that the game would be completed by the end of 2005.

The Sims Online came out live in December, adapting the world’s best-selling computer game to the Internet. Despite optimistic forecasts from analysts, the title does not meet sales expectations.

Between August and December, the Playstation 2, Xbox and GameCube all introduce some sort of online capability for their consoles.


On June 26, LucasArts and SOE launch Star Wars Galaxies – MMORPG, based on the Star Wars universe. Sony also brings EverQuest to the PlayStation 2 as EverQuest Online Adventures, which uses a world separate from that of the PC version.

The Entropia project, MMORPG, developed in Sweden, started with a secondary revenue model on the market, where gaming currency can be bought and sold in real currency.

Square Enix releases a computer version of Final Fantasy XI in the United States on October 28. It later became available for the PlayStation 2 and allowed computer users and console users to participate in the same world. The PS2 version of the game comes with a hard drive.

Other significant versions of MMORPG include Eve Online and Shadowbane, both of which have open PvP systems.


Halo 2 arrives with unprecedented hysteria and manages to use the Xbox Live online service four times .

NCSoft is making significant strides in the North American MMORPG market with the release of Lineage 2 and City of Heroes.

Doom 3 and Half-Life 2, which include a retail version of Counter-Strike, are on store shelves.

SOE launched EverQuest 2, a sequel to EverQuest, which still has about 500,000 subscribers at the time.

World of Warcraft was released in North America on November 23, and despite doubling its server capacity within weeks of the game’s release, the game is making it harder to meet demand. At the same time, Blizzard’s first MMORPG disrupted US player sales, subscribers and companion records, with similar results in the game in Europe and China next year.


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