22 Fascinating Facts About Video Games | Including Statistics and Stories

It takes a tremendous amount of effort to make a game. A lot of things happen behind the curtains that we don’t get to know. If you see from programmers point of view, you’ve to create complex loops, select good graphics libraries, spend ridiculous amounts of time planning and drawing objects on the screen, especially for high graphics games.

In the development process, many accidents happen, glitches make it through, and sometimes the best things turn out to be the one that wasn’t even the part of the plan. Today, we are going to reveal some interesting stories, facts and stats about the video game industry that may surprise you a bit.

22. The First Video Games

It was 1960s when the first video games appeared. They were played on huge machines connected to vector displays. The first generation of video game consoles started in 1972, with Magnavox Odyssey that could be connected to a television set. These consoles were made of discrete transistors-based digital game logic, and objects on screen drawn with very basic dots and lines.

21. Fastest Record For Completing SuperMario

The fastest speedrun in Super Mario 64 (while collecting all 120 stars) is 1 hour 43 minutes and 54 seconds, which was completed by Nero, the same player who held the previous record of 1 hour 44 minutes and 1 second. He claimed that he practiced for at least 5000 hours before going for a record.

There is also a way to complete the game without collecting a single star. If you are fast enough, it would take mere 5 minutes.

Here’s a one more fun fact – Super Mario’s last name is also Mario, which makes this full name Mario Mario. Luigi’s full name is Luigi Mario.

20. South Korea Once Banned Midnight Gaming

In 2011, South Korea passed the Cinderella law that forbids the children under 16 to play online video game after midnight (from 12AM to 6AM). Mobiles games and consoles were not affected. The law could be lifted per request of the child’s parents. Some children even began stealing resident registration number to elude the law.

19. ‘StarCraft’ Is The First Video Game To Travel In Space

In a Space Shuttle mission (named STS-96) to the ISS (International Space Station), which was also the first shuttle flight to dock with the ISS, an astronaut Daniel T. Barry took his favorite game with him on 27th May, 1999. The Starcraft (a real time strategy game) CD traveled 3.5 million nautical miles and orbited the Earth 153 times. It now resides at headquarters of Blizzard in Irvine, California.

18. The Figure of Lara Croft Was An Accident

One of the most popular fictional characters, Lara Croft in Tomb Raider game, is known for her unrealistic figure. Lara’s notorious curves were the result of a programming error. In 1996, while adjusting her model, developers increased the breast size by 150%, rather than intended 50%.

17. Excessive Gaming Causes Series Problems

We all know playing video games increases focus and trains people to make the right decisions in less time without loosing preciousness. It is also true that regular players develop a heightened sensitivity to what’s going around them.

However, it all comes at a cost. A recent study reveals that players who use their brain’s autopilot and reward system to navigate, experience grey matter loss (responsible for spatial and episodic memory) in their hippocampus after playing action video games for 90 hours. It all depends on what kind of game you are playing. Yet another research shows that teenagers who play video game for more than 4 hours (on a daily basis) suffer from symptoms of depression.

16. The Maximum Score In Pac-Man Is 3,333,360

Pac-Man was very popular in 1980’s and 90’s, and is still played worldwide. By playing it perfectly, without loosing any life, and completing all 255 levels, one can achieve 3,333,360 points.

In 1999, Billy Mitchell became the first person to achieve this score by playing 6 hours straight. Since then, more than 20 people have done it, among which David Race holds the record of finishing it at 3 hours, 28 minutes and 49 seconds, in 2013.

15. ‘GTA’ Franchise Has Lawsuits of over $1 Billion

First appeared in 1997, Grand Theft Auto can’t seem to avoid controversies. Jack Thompson, a former lawyer has accused GTA for death of innocent people. One of such events happened in October 2003, when families of Kimberly Bede and Aaron Hamel, two young people shot by teens Josh Buckner and William. For this, Thompson filed $246 million lawsuit against the GTA publisher. He once referred to GTA as a “cop-killing simulator”.

In September 2006, Thompson again sued GTA publishers for 600 million for similar incidents. Overall, the combined GTA lawsuits reach over $1 billion. Eventually, Jack was disbarred for his lawsuits.

14. Charity Event For Speedrunning

There is an organization named Games Done Quick that organizes week-long charity events twice a year. They broadcast speedruns of famous video games on Twitch, and all the money raised from viewer donations goes to the relief efforts. Their summer events, known as Summer Games Done Quick are held between June and July, and winter events, known as Awesome Games Done Quick are held in early January.

13. The Average US Gamer is 35 years old

It turns out video games are not just enjoyed by teens and kids. According to a report from the Entertainment Software Association, more than 72% of United States gamers are aged 18 or older, 31% of which are women.

12. 80’s Gaming Machine

Today’s Consoles have surely come a long way. If you compare the best selling single computer model of early 1980s, the Commodore 64, it’s nothing in terms of performance. Even today’s TI-83 calculator has more graphical processing power than Commodore 64. In fact, one can code basic Commodore 64 games onto TI-83.

11. Sound Of Reaper In ‘Mass Effect 3’ Was Created From Trash Can

Developers often experiment with odd objects to get the perfect sound effect they are looking for. The sound of reaper in Mass Effect 3 was created from continually opening and closing a garbage can that happened to be a bear trapped protected.

10. ‘GTA V’ Map Is Bigger Than Manhattan

There is no surprising element in the fact that GTA V’s map is the biggest of any Rockstar games map so far. What might be more shocking is the map seems to actually be larger than the maps of some real-world locations, including Manhattan, San Francisco, Toronto and London.

9. Bill Clinton Rejected ‘Fallout 3’

America’s former president, Bill Clinton was asked several times to voice the game’s president John Eden. Lev Chapelsky of the Hollywood firm Blindlight, wanted to to snag Clinton for the very obvious role in Fallout 3, but he got a reply from Clinton’s attorneys, ‘The former president won’t participate in your game products, thank you very much’.

8. ‘Final Fantasy’ Was Almost The Last Game

College dropout Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy series, had made dozens of unsuccessful RPGs and racing games in the mid 1980s. This was his last-ditch effort – if the game flopped, he would have quit trying and gone back to complete his education. Luckily, it was a huge hit, and sold over 100 million units worldwide.

7. Most Expensive Game Ever Made

The title of most expensive video game goes to Grand Theft Auto V (2013). It took $137 million to develop the game and additional $128 for its marketing. The developer, Rockstar North made a huge profit as the game earned over $1 billion in its first three days alone.

The second spot is acquired by Call of Duty: Modern War Far 2 (2009). Although development cost was $50 million, they spent whopping $200 million alone on marketing and advertising.

6. Gandhi’s Dropping Nukes In ‘Civilization’

In Civilization series, India’s most peaceful leader Gandhi is famous for dropping nukes. In the entire series, instead of being epitome of peace, he drops nukes more than other civs.

That happened because of a programing error in the game. Each leader had assigned with an aggression rating, and Gandhi, to best reflect his real personality, was given the lowest score 1. However, selecting democracy would drop aggression by 2 points. The code didn’t recognize negative number, so instead of dropping Gandhi’s aggression to -1, it went to the next higher number in the loop, i.e. 255. On the other hand, the most aggressive leaders in the game were only 10.

In later Civilization versions, developers fixed the issue. But because it was so funny, they kept his nuke rating high.

5. ‘Pokemon’ Was Inspired By butterflies

The creator of Pokemon series, Satoshi Tajiri, a Japanese video game designer, used to collect caterpillars and watched them turn into butterflies, in his childhood days, which later inspired him to make Pokemon.

As a big fan of arcade game, Satoshi wrote and edited his own video gaming fanzine Game Freak. He joined two Game Boys using a cable, which inspired him to build a game that embodied collection of his childhood interest. The game later became Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green, which reinvigorated handheld gaming worldwide.

4. A Player Solved 15-Year-Old Biochemical Mystery

In 2011, an online puzzle game player decoded the crystal structure of AIDS, which had been unsolved for 15 years. While the puzzle was available on Foldit game for 3 weeks, player generated an accurate 3d model of the enzyme in just 10 days.

Read: 13 Most Influential and Famous Video Game Designers

3. Console Gaming Market

The console gaming segment is growing significantly. In 2017, Sony and Microsoft generated more than $14 billion in combined revenues from subscription, first-party games and third party game fees. The PS4 was responsible for 51% share of the total console hardware market, while Xbox holds 26% share.

2. Chinese Video Game Market Generates The Most Revenue

As of June 2016, China is the largest video game market that generated more than $27 billion.

When it comes to revenue generated by pay-to-play (P2P) and free-to-play(P2P) massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, Asia is the leader. As of June 2016, P2P MMO games generated over $1.4 billion and F2P generated over 11.2 billion in Asia. Europe generated the second largest revenue for both types, whilst North America lagged behind in third position.

1. Revenue of Global Gaming Industry

Image source: SuperData

According to SuperData Research, the worldwide game industry crossed  $91 billion in revenues in 2016. The mobile platform contributed the most – $41 billion (18% increase than last year), followed by $26 billion for retail games and $19 billion for free online games.

Read: 22 Scary Games To Play With The Lights Off

Although, new platforms such as virtual reality and eSports were small in volume, they are increasing at a very fast rate and holding promise for upcoming years.

Written by
Varun Kumar

Varun Kumar is a professional science and technology journalist and a big fan of AI, machines, and space exploration. He received a Master's degree in computer science from Indraprastha University. To find out about his latest projects, feel free to directly email him at [email protected] 

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