A Look Back on How Poker Has Influenced the World of Gaming

It’s always quite hard to remember what the early days of gaming were like back in the 90s. Most of the younger gamers wouldn’t know because they weren’t alive and have been born into a world of Nvidia Super RTX graphics cards, but the fact of the matter is that the struggle was real back then. Taking a walk down memory lane is always quite intriguing though, especially when you think back on the late 80s and then map your way through the years and end up back in 2020. 

For instance, where did it all begin? How did we get to this stage and what games can we thank for being the early pioneers that have transformed the gaming world we live in today?

In the beginning…

It’s worth mentioning that you can go a lot further back than the early 90s when looking at the gaming culture and how it has evolved. This is true because you could play Sopwith on an MS-DOS operating system, which at the time felt like we had all arrived and that this would never be topped. Times have moved on, but how did they?

Well, you probably have to go back to Solitaire, which sure, wasn’t a heart-stopping rush but was still strangely engaging regardless. It was this game as well as other card games on the early PC that is the correct place to start if we are to properly retrace our steps. These were ultimately the first options we had to enjoy a game on a computer. Indeed, from Solitaire it got a bit more interesting when poker was introduced, which, it has to be said, was good fun. Gone were the days you had to sit down with strangers to play Texas Hold‘em; you could now enjoy a straight flush from the comfort of your own home office. 

But like anything that you enjoy in life, there is always a need for more once you get a taste of it. Well, the same was true for gaming, and just because playing poker was a fun release, there was a sense that the next level would eventually arrive. It did, thanks to the folks at Microsoft. 

1993 and the start of it all

The world of gaming changed forever in July 1993 after Microsoft released the Windows NT 3.1 operating system which supported 32-bit programs. Less than five months later, Doom was released by id Software, and a new era of gaming was ushered in.

Now, nostalgia is often misunderstood, and as humans, we have a weird obsession with the past given that things weren’t necessarily better or even how we remembered. However, when it comes to Doom, I’m afraid to say playing as an armed space marine fighting off demons is as good as it will ever get.

DOOM_20170406010514 by Anton.Fenix, on Flickr

Doom has come a long way since 1993

(“DOOM_20170406010514” (Public Domain) by Anton.Fenix)

On top of that, it was genuinely quite scary at times. Maybe that’s because survival games are often quite gory, but man alive was it fun. The history of Doom up until the present day is actually a fascinating read and provides a lot of answers about the games we play and love today.

Meanwhile, game creators were busy at work during this time now that they had a blank canvas to work with, in the shape of Windows’ NT 3.1 Operating System. So, it was no surprise when the original Warcraft was released less than a year later; the ball was rolling now and picking up speed.

Fast forward to 2020 and that ball is going at the speed of light in terms of development and it’s not just these legendary action and adventure games that have been transformed. The simple poker game from yesteryear is totally unrecognizable from where it all started. Lovers of Texas hold’em and 7 card stud would have also been gobsmacked bystanders as their own gaming revolution took place. Naturally, the biggest changes as far as improvements have gone to the poker game is accessibility.  

Take the online poker platforms that 888 provide and how easy it is to go online on your mobile and get stuck into a game of Texas hold’em. You no longer have to go down to the casino to play a game of poker given that all you have to do is open their app and you’re away. In many ways, it is similar to Steam in the way that you don’t have to go down to the local PC gaming shop in order to purchase the latest edition of a blockbuster franchise. It can all be done from the comfort of your home these days and for something like poker, where bluffing is absolutely essential, you can’t help but feel that gamers are massively benefitting from advances of technology as you don’t have another human sitting next to you trying to read your every facial expression. 

Sure, you never had that either when playing a game of poker on an early Microsoft system but then again, you were never playing for anything except the opportunity to pass the time. Online poker platforms change all of that by bringing the rewards of a casino into your home. The big advancements in gaming over the years have really left us at a place that no one saw coming, and the effects have been felt across the board. Even if you were never an avid PC gamer, the fact that almost everyone has a smartphone now means that the general public is afforded the opportunity to see what all the clamor is about. So, the next time you see someone on their phone in an airport lounge, doctor’s waiting room or even the train on the way to work, keep in mind that they could be taking down a large pot in a jaw-dropping online poker tournament. 

Early PC by Timitrius, on Flickr

How times have changed

(“Early PC” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Timitrius)

Indeed, the strides that have been made in gaming since the late 80s and early 90s are really quite extraordinary. You can’t help but feel that the development and improvement of gaming has moved exceptionally quickly over time, even if 30 odd years have passed, the rewards and enjoyment have been exponential.

Which begs the question: what will the world of gaming and online poker be like in 2050? It’s hard to say for sure but what you can state as a certainty is that it will be better. That’s at least what history has shown us, so buckle up and enjoy the ride. Gaming is about to enter yet another era of change that will define the way we look back at it.

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