When did the Internet game scene first start? Well not in the early 1990s when mainstream America started to get Internet connectivity in their homes at an amazingly slow dial up speed. Actually, Internet games started almost forty years ago in the late 1960s according to most games fanatics. And, not unlike most great creations, the game field really began to take off in educational institutions across America. Some of the first colleges to introduce games to the world were MIT and the University of Illinois.
A system known as Plato ran games that people could play that were developed for its capacity. These games of course became widely popular amongst students, ate tons of computer resources as usual, got a slap by the administration, and spawned a truly wild game craze. Other games were developed for the Plato system. Some of these games were multiplayer and some were not. Great games like Avatar and Aircraft, and early flight simulators were introduced to the world on Plato. Some trekkie type games were also developed on this early multi player capable platform.
Some other great game developments happened at an educational institution across the pond, in England, at Essex University, throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s. The most popular gaming phenomenon that came out of Essex was a Multi User Dungeon (Mud). People at the University loved this game, and its popularity began to spread across the world as users gained access to the source code and started sharing the application with every gamer they knew. Free gaming owes a lot to this wonderful early program.
In the early 1980s, corporations started to the see the possibilities of getting every teenager in the world addicted to their products. A corporation by the name of Kesmai developed games for Compuserve and together they began serving up great product like Islands of Kesmai and Megawars 1. A user basically had to pay by the hour to play some of these early games, and Compuserve was having a blast getting paid some pretty good rates exceeding ten dollars an hour for game play.
In the 1980s, after the success of Kesmai and Compuserve, the gaming industry was beginning to really take off. Companies like General Electric and Quantum Computer were starting to offer monthly subscription fees to access their gaming nirvana. Kesmai at this point really began to elevate the gaming scene when they began introducing the gaming community to Air Warrior. The company also brought gamers Stellar Warrior and Stellar Emperor. Quantaum introduced Rabbit Jack’s casino at this time.
The late eighties saw the introduction of the AppleLink by Quantum for Apple II computer users, and parents everywhere started screaming at their kids to get away from the games. And the parents were of course right, except if you went to go work in the gaming industry, and then you probably made more than your parents.