Alternate History

No Video Games

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What if the world never had video games? Here we imagine an alternate world with No Video Games. We are not taking our world of today minus video games; this is not a scenario when all video games disappear tomorrow. Instead, we look back through time, and consider how the missing video games affect technology in the alternate world.

This is the method of alternate history. We have two timelines. OTL (our timeline) is our In ATL (alternate timeline), there are No Video Games, because no one has the idea to apply computer technology to games. The two timelines are identical, until the games appear in our timeline. At the POD (point of divergence), the only difference is that OTL has the games, and ATL has not. After the divergence, because of butterfly effect, the two timelines accumulate more differences.

Work in progress

I need to create the first wiki pages for the beginning of ATL. The wiki pages will have two groups.

  • Story pages will introduce the timeline through an ordered sequence of pages.
  • Directory pages will describe individual persons, places, et cetera in timeline.

The first story page might be Prologue (No Video Games) Beginning (No Video Games). (Prolog might be a programming language.)

Finding the point of divergence

Many millions of years ago, life evolved on our real Earth. Tectonic plates moved oceans and continents. Glaciers spread and melted. Sea levels rose and fell. Dinosaurs lived and became extinct. Mammals lived and begot humans, then humans migrated across the continents and islands of our real Earth.

Humans invented agriculture and settled cities. Civilizations met disease, famine, climate change and war. While centuries elapsed, civilizations grew and shrank. New technologies arrived and spread. Gunpowder. Oil wells. Aircraft carriers. Vacuum tubes. During the Second World War, a global alliance defeated the fascist axis. This same victorious alliance split itself and began the Cold War. They divided Korea and fought the Korean War.

Many millions of years ago, life evolved on their alternate Earth. Eventually, they divided Korea and fought the Korean War. The two timelines remain exactly identical, from prehistory through (at least) the Korean War. The two timelines are not diverging until later.

Our real timeline has video games. Their alternate timeline has No Video Games. One difference is that in our timeline, some of us can play the Wii and the Nintendo DS; but in the alternate timeline, no one has any Wii games, nor DS games, nor those game systems. Every video game system has the same difference: if this system exists in our timeline, then this system never exists in the alternate timeline.

So, if we identify the first video game system, then we might find the point of divergence, the earliest time when the two timelines are not identical, the first difference between the two timelines. In our timeline, the first Nintendo system was the original NES from 1983. So the timelines differ in 1983: we had the NES, they never had it. The NES connected to a television set, had cartridges for many games, output low-resolution color graphics, and made beeping tones for sound. The brain of the NES was a 6502 microprocessor. The NES was not the first video game system.

Atari was before Nintendo.

In our timeline, the first Atari system was the Atari 2600 from 1977. The Atari 2600 also connected to a television and also had a 6502 microprocessor. The Atari 2600 was the first system to allow the player to swap cartridges (of read-only memory), but was not the first video game system.

(TODO: continue backward through time...)

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