Educational media is terrible. Let’s do better and save the world.          

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

A Timeline of Serious Games, Educational Simulations, and Online Learning (through 2019)

1910—The first flight simulator is patented.

1958—Physicist William Higinbotham creates Tennis for 2 on an oscilloscope.

In 1960, The Beer Game was invented by Jay Wright Forrester at the MIT Sloan School of Management, initially in board game form. 

1961—MIT student Steve Russell creates Spacewar, the first interactive computer game, which becomes popular on college campuses.

1963—Control Data and the University of Illinois, using a grant from the National Science Foundation, develop the technology and content for a computer-assisted instructional system that would become known as PLATO.

1971—Nutting manufactures the first arcade video game, called Computer Space. But the public finds it too difficult to play.

1972—Will Crowther writes Colossal Cave Adventure, the first interactive fiction computer game, on a Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-10.

1972—The first flight simulators to use computer-rendered scenes are built by General Electric for the U.S. Navy.

1972—Atari is launched.

1973—Pong is launched.

1973—Lemonade Stand (released on a mainframe initially, and later on the Apple II) 

1976—Atari is sold for over $25 million to Warner Communications.

1977—Atari branches out into the home video game arena and releases VCS (what would later be called the 2600).

1978—Atari releases the arcade game Football. The game features a revolutionary new controller called the trackball.

1978—Midway imports arcade game Space Invaders from Taito. Space Invaders displays the current high score, adding a sort of asynchronous multi-player aspect.

1978—The University of Phoenix is accredited; new university models will not be coming from Harvard or Wharton.

1979—Atari releases what was to be their best-selling arcade game, Asteroids.

1979—Roy Trubshaw and Richard Bartle create Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs), and the advent of online multi-player adventuring.

1980—Atari creates the arcade game Battlezone, the first three dimensional first-person game. The U.S. Army Tank Corps use a version in tank training.

1980—Namco releases Pac-Man, the most popular arcade game of all time. Pac-Man becomes the first video game to be popular with both males and females.

1980—Atari releases its exclusive home version of Space Invaders for the VCS. Sales of the VCS skyrocket.

1980—Mattel Electronics introduces the Intellivision game console. The first serious competition for the VCS, the Intellivision has better graphics and a steeper price—$299.

1980—Williams releases popular arcade game Defender, its first video game. Defender extends beyond the boundaries of the computer screen.

1980—Zork, a genre-defining text-based adventure game from Infocom, is released on the Apple II.

1981—Nintendo creates popular arcade game Donkey Kong.

1982—Atari releases the 2600 version of Pac-Man, which is so bad that it shakes public confidence in the company.

1982—Coleco releases the Colecovision, a cartridge-based game console.

1982 (1983)—Commodore releases the Commodore 64, an inexpensive but powerful computer that outperforms any video game console. It has a $600 price tag.

1982—ET is a spectacular failure as an Atari 2600 video game.

1983—Cinematronics releases Dragon’s Lair, the first arcade game to feature laser-disc technology.

1983—Computer game industry crashes under weight of hundreds of bad games.

1983—DataBeam is founded; real-time collaboration had started.

1983—Electronic Arts releases M.U.L.E. (Multiple-Use Labor Element) computer game for the Atari 2600. This pushes the multi-player capabilities of the Atari, allowing four players at once.

1984—CBT Systems (before it became SmartForce, later merging with SkillSoft) was founded, introducing and solidifying workbook-style content.

1985—Commodore launches the Amiga computer, with dedicated sound and graphics chips.

1985—Nintendo® test-markets its Nintendo® Entertainment System (NES) in New York. Nintendo® requires games to earn their seal of approval, avoiding earlier third-party quality control problems, and opening up avenue for hardware to be subsidized by software.

1985—Russian programmer Alex Pajitnov designs Tetris.

1985—Oregon Trail (Entertainment) 

1986—Apple includes hypercards with its MAC operating system, making authoring low-end e-learning easy for non-authors.

1986—Nintendo® releases 8-bit NES console worldwide. In the United States it retails at $199, including Super Mario Brothers game.

1988—Coleco files for bankruptcy.

1988—MIT’s People’s Express (Academic) 

1989—Maxis releases PC game SimCity™.

1989—Nintendo® releases its handheld Game Boy® ($109). The system comes with Tetris, and despite a tiny monochrome screen,it begins to build an historic sales record.

1989—SEGA® releases the 16-bit Genesis in the United States for retail price of $249.

1989—SimCity (Entertainment) 

1989—Authorware introduces as the first e-learning icon-based authoring system.

1989—Control Data spins off PLATO.

1991—Civilization is released.

1991—Capcom releases Street Fighter II and brings new life to arcades.

1991—Neal Stephenson publishes cyber-punk classic novel Snow Crash.

1991—S3 introduces the first single-chip graphics accelerator for the PC.

1991—id releases Wolfenstein 3D that defines the first-person shooter and returns relevancy to PC computer gaming.

1992—Midway launches arcade game Mortal Kombat, with unprecedented graphic violence.

1993—id releases Doom, a groundbreaking and genre-defining PC-based first-person shooter.

1993—Westwood releases Dune II on the PC, a groundbreaking and genre-defining real-time strategy game.

1993—ILINC was founded, a significant virtual classroom company.

1993—PC game Myst was released, eventually selling over five million copies. It is one of the first games to take advantage of the extra capacity of CD-ROMs.

1993/1994—The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is established to rate video games.

1994—Maxis, the creators of SimCity™, publishes PC game SimHealth, challenging players to reform a city’s health care system.

1994—The SEGA® Saturn™ and Sony PlayStation® launch in Japan.

1995—Centra was founded, a significant virtual classroom company.

1995—Sony releases the PlayStation® in the United States for $299. (It was launched in Japan one year earlier.) PSX hardware brings 3D graphics cost-effectively to the home.

1996—GartnerGroup launches e-learning product: e-learning is a hot new market.

1996—Sony drops the price of the PlayStation® console to $199.

1996—Nintendo® 64 console launches, provides 64-bit processing to home console games.

1997—Arizona proposes a new bill that makes it a misdemeanor for retailers to display violent material.

1997—Theme Hospital is released.

1997—Docent and Saba are founded, defining the new LMS marketplace.

1997—Tamagotchi is introduced to the United States. Other electronic pets are subsequently introduced.

1997—Ultima Online officially opens its doors to players. This was the first huge MMORPG effort in 3D format.

1998—GartnerGroup gets out of e-learning: e-Learning is harder than it looks.

1998—Google is founded: e-Learning’s first killer application is not e-learning.

1998—KnowledgePlanet is formed from KnowledgeUniverse and KnowledgeSoft: Portals are hot.

1998—Nintendo® 64 console price is dropped to $129.95.

1998—Sony’s PlayStation® console price is dropped to $129.95.

1999—Roller Coaster Tycoon is launched by Infogrames/Chris Sawyer Productions

1999—Asymetrix become Click2Learn: Portals are hot.

1999—EverQuest® launches for the PC: Massively multi-player online role-playing games go big-time.

1999—Infogames releases PC game RollerCoaster Tycoon.

1999—Microsoft launches their competition to AOL’s Instant Messenger: e-Learning’s other killer application is also not e-learning.

1999—Ninth House launches: Many think that broadband will be widely available and change e-learning.

1999—SmartForce is the new name of CBT systems: CD-ROM is dead; online content is critical; the perception is that this is the right time for an all-in-one vendor.

2000—Accenture spins off Indeliq: Branching simulations are hot.

2000—Sony launches their 64-bit PlayStation® 2 (PS2).

2000—Columbia University launches for-profit e-Learning is seen as a growth opportunity.

2000—DigitalThink gets out of off-the-shelf content: They believe the market for libraries is sewn up.

2000—WBT Systems realizes that it is (and always had been) an LCMS vendor not an LMS vendor: Content management as a segment is born.

2001—Click2Learn divests custom content: The market is trifurcating into technology, services, and content.

2001—KnowledgePlanet acquires Peer3; Centra acquires MindLever; Docent acquires gForce. Saba launches authoring: Learning content management systems (LCMS) are critical, but can’t stand on their own.

2001—Macromedia launches the Flash MX Suite; content is getting better.

2001—Microsoft includes DirectX as part of XP operating system: 3D graphics and sound capabilities are built into every desktop computer.

2001—Microsoft officially launches the Xbox® console. Based on PC architecture, the $299 console comes equipped with a 733Mhz CPU, Nvidia GPU, 10GB hard drive, and built-in Ethernet port.

2001—NYU Online disappears: Can traditional universities make it in e-learning?

2001—Plateau 4 LMS is launched: J2EE/EJB architecture pushes e-learning into the portal world.

2001—Zoo Tycoon is launched by Microsoft Game Studios/Blue Fang Games

2001—Riverdeep acquires Broderbund: The early learning content market is consolidating.

2001—SmartForce and Centra to merge: The time might be right for an all-in-one vendor.

2001—SmartForce and Centra call it off: Services, technology, and content are still very different.

2001—Thomson acquires NETg and drops the NETg name; e-learning assets are more important then e-learning.

2001—Thomson brings back the NETg name; e-learning is critical to content.

2001 (2002)—Nintendo®’s GameCube™ console is released. Nintendo® reports that $98 million worth of systems, games, and accessories were sold in the United States on launch day.

2002—Indeliq is absorbed back into Accenture: Branching simulations still have major market issues.

2002—MIT makes its university course content open and free to the public: Has content been Napstered?

2002—The United State’s Army releases a free first-person shooter PC game called America’s Army, as either a high-level training simulation or a recruiting game.

2002—SmartForce and SkillSoft merge: Content libraries are mature enough for consolidation.

2002—The price of the PS2 console in Japan falls twice in 2001, from a starting price of $320 to $281.70 to $240.

2002—The price of the SEGA® Dreamcast® console begins the year at $149.99 but has its price reduced to $99.95, $79.95, and finally $49.95 at the end of November.

2002—PeopleSoft acquires Teamscape: The enterprise players blur the line between human resources systems and learning systems.

2003—Columbia University closes for-profit e-Learning is seen as a high risk.

2003—Google acquires Weblogs go mainstream.

2003—Microsoft acquired Placeware: Line between e-learning and infrastructure continues to blur.

2003—NIIT acquires CognitiveArts: India increases influence and brand awareness in U.S. e-learning.

2003—Second Life launches. Their EULA will assign property rights to the creators of in-word objects, not the game creators, Linden Lab.

2003— launches.

2004—SimuLearn’s Virtual Leader wins “Best Online Training Product of the Year” by Training Media Review/American Society for Training and Development, the first time a simulation wins against more traditional e-learning content.

2004—Learning management system pioneers Docent and Click2Learn merge to form SumTotal Systems: More mergers to stabilize marketplace and compete with growing threat from ERPsystems.

2004—Full Spectrum Warrior™ is launched: Xbox® console is used as an e-learning platform; the U.S. military invests in soft-skills simulations; commercial game version becomes a big hit.

2005— Food Force serous game from World Food Program (WFP), downloaded from the internet three million times in six months.

2006— ReMission game for Cancer Patients

2006—WolfQuest: Survival of the Pack, Minnesota Zoo (Game-like) 

2007—ICS: Call to Action - Simulation for Department of Homeland Security, Center for Domestic Preparedness, Visual Purple (Game-like) 

2008—INNOV8 2.0, IBM (Single player B-school) 

2008—Sharkworld, OTIB (Single player B-school) 

2008—Lunar Quest, National Science Foundation (Single player B-school) 

2009—Project Management, Harvard Business School Publishing  (B-school) 

2010—Project Integration Management Simulation, Double Masters (Single player B-school) 

2011—Alaskan Recovery Series, Project Management Institute  (PMI) (Single player B-school) 

2011—Everest Leadership and Teamwork, Harvard Business School Publishing (B-school) 

2011—McGraw-Hill Practice Marketing, McGraw-Hill (Virtual world B-school) 

2012—CollectionLab, BankersLab (Single player B-school) 

2012—On Call, Becker College’s Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (Mass DiGi), University of Massachusetts Medical School (Game-like) 

2012—Cruise Ship Evacuation Simulation (Virtual world) 

2012—Emergency Management Staff Trainer, National Guard Bureau (Game-like) 

2012—vMedic (Game-like) 

2012—Management Challenge, Enspire Learning (B-school) 

2012—EconU (Single player B-school) 

2013—Virtual Geology - Skiddaw, Open University (Virtual world) 

2013—Plan it green! The big switch, National Geographic, GE Center for Science (Game-like) 

2015—Together Strong, Kognito (Military mental health) 

2015—Water Bears, Schell Games (K-12 STEM) 

2015—Red Robin’s Guest Central, SweetRush Inc. and Red Robin (Corporate strategy) 

2016—SimScientists Food Web Game, WestEd and Intelligent Automation (STEM) 

2016—Sales Command, Deloitte Center for Immersive Learning (Corporate Strategy) 

2017—Sim Cell, Strange Loop Games for Touch Press Games (7-12 STEM) 

2017—Cloud Defense: A Cyber Security Game, the Gronstedt Group for Intuit (Corporate Strategy) 

2017—Crash Cart, created for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Simulation Learning Education and Research Network by Engineering & Computer Simulations (Military mental health) 

2018—Silobuster, Lead Learning Games and Nykredit for Atlas Bank (Corporate strategy) 

2018—Space Advisors, Gronstedt Group for KPMG (Corporate strategy) 

2019—Community Health Nursing, BreakAway Games (Medical) 

2019—NATO Children of Armed Conflict, C2 Technologies, Inc (Military Mental health) 

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