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martyg
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Joined: 06/06/2006
Explination

Bill, glad you liked the review, just a further explination though - my usage of the term is not based on Ralph's (actually Magnavox's) legal argument, but the actual history and etymology of the term. The term simply did not exist at the time of OXO, Tennis for Two, and Spacewar! for a very good reason - because it arose out of a very specific technological descriptive: describing games hooked up to a television (both home and arcade), which were referred for much of the 70's as "TV games", and used exclusively during that decade to describe these home and arcade TV based setups. In fact, even Nolan has claimed the term was coined by a reporter after seeing Pong at a trade show - it's not a Ralph Baer centric issue. Also, per your statement above - vector CRT's have no resolution, there are no rasters involved. Another problem with using the over generalized "changeable display" definition (and one we grappled with for a while at Wikipedia on the handheld games page) is that includes older handheld/tabletop games that should be clasified as "electronic games" or "electronic toys" (think Adventure Vision among others). It did not arise as a concept, but a descriptive. It's evolved in to a "concept" presentation via pop-culture influence during the 80's (when everything under the sun began being marketed under the banner), and some attempts at revisionist PR by places like Brookhaven, and earlier by Dave Ahl's '83 editorial (which even he revised in a 1987 presentation by correctly differentiating and referring to games like Tennis for Two and Spacewar as "computer games"). The term simply was not used in the manner you're proposing, before the 80's - a noted example are articles of the time such as this refered to these older games as computer games as well. My only gripe out of the entire book was that if you're going to use the over generalized pop-culture version of the term (and a space being present is irrelevant, the root "video" - who's definition is specific and clearly defined - is still there), you should really spell out and present your reasoning like you did very well with other definitions in the book. And you're certainly entitled to use your own belief of the definition - after all, it's your book - you just need to clarify that for the reader. It's a wonderful book, and I'm going to be recommending it to a few video game college programs as a potential course book.

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