Weekly Game Review: “12 chairs”

By the late 1970s to early 1980s, games were developed and distributed through hobbyist groups and gaming magazines, such as Creative Computing and later Computer Gaming World. PC games, also known as computer games or personal computer games, are video games played on a personal computer rather than a dedicated video game console or arcade machine. IBM, the world's largest computer company, introduced the IBM Personal Computer (PC) in 1981. Later games combined textual commands with basic graphics, as seen in the SSI Gold Box games such as Pool of Radiance, or Bard's Tale for example. As 3D graphics libraries such as DirectX and OpenGL matured and knocked proprietary interfaces out of the market, these platforms gained greater acceptance in the market, particularly with their demonstrated benefits in games such as Unreal.[33] However, major changes to the Microsoft Windows operating system, by then the market leader, made many older DOS-based games unplayable on Windows NT, and later, Windows XP (without using an emulator, such as DOSbox).

Experts were unsure whether it affected 16-bit computer games,[17] but Hawkins in 1990 nonetheless had to deny rumors that Electronic Arts would withdraw from computers and only produce console games.[18] By 1993 ASCII Entertainment reported at a Software Publishing Association conference that the market for console games ($5.9 billion in revenue) was 12 times that of the computer-game market ($430 million). Although personal computers only became popular with the development of the microprocessor and microcomputer, computer gaming on mainframes and minicomputers had previously already existed. By 1990 DOS comprised 65% of the computer-game market, with the Amiga at 10%; all other computers, including the Apple Macintosh, were below 10% and declining.

51% of IBM or compatible had 386 or faster CPUs.[19] By 1992 DOS games such as Links supported Super VGA graphics.[29] While leading Sega and Nintendo console systems kept their CPU speed at 3–7 MHz, the 486 PC processor ran much faster, allowing it to perform many more calculations per second. An early text-adventure, Adventure, was developed for the PDP-11 minicomputer by Will Crowther in 1976, and expanded by Don Woods in 1977.[4] By the 1980s, personal computers had become powerful enough to run games like Adventure, but by this time, graphics were beginning to become an important factor in games. PC gaming currently tends strongly toward improvements in 3D graphics.. Chris Crawford warned that it was "a data-intensive technology, not a process-intensive one", tempting developers to emphasize the quantity of digital assets like art and music over the quality of gameplay; Computer Gaming World wrote in 1993 that "publishers may be losing their focus". Although personal computers only became popular with the development of the microprocessor and microcomputer, computer gaming on mainframes and minicomputers had previously already existed. To enhance the immersive experience with their unrealistic graphics and electronic sound, early PC games included extras such as the peril-sensitive sunglasses that shipped with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or the science fiction novella included with Elite. Without question, Nintendo's success has eroded software sales. In response to a reader's challenge to find a DOS game that played better than the Amiga version the magazine cited Wing Commander and Civilization, and added that "The heavy MS-DOS emphasis in CGW merely reflects the realities of the market".[27] A self-reported Computer Gaming World survey in April 1993 similarly found that 91% of readers primarily used IBM PCs and compatibles for gaming, compared to 6% for Amiga, 3% for Macintosh, and 1% for Atari ST,[28] while a Software Publishing Association study found that 74% of personal computers were IBMs or compatible, 10% Macintosh, 7% Apple II, and 8% other. As 3D graphics libraries such as DirectX and OpenGL matured and knocked proprietary interfaces out of the market, these platforms gained greater acceptance in the market, particularly with their demonstrated benefits in games such as Unreal.[33] However, major changes to the Microsoft Windows operating system, by then the market leader, made many older DOS-based games unplayable on Windows NT, and later, Windows XP (without using an emulator, such as DOSbox).