Videogaming is of course the popular pastime of playing video games. It has changed and evolved over the years.

Arcades in Davis and surrounding areas flourished during their heyday. Atlantis was a video game arcade that existed Downtown near The Library.

General History

Some gamers are old school and play nothing but old Arcade games or early home systems the likes of Atari 2600, CoLeCo, or Intellivision. After the video game industry crash in 1983/1984 the popularity of gaming plummeted for a short time until Nintendo took the world by storm with the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System.

On the heels of the NES came Sega's Master System and later the 16-bit SNES, Sega Genesis, Turbo Graphix 16 and (very expensive) NeoGeo. Shortly thereafter came the 32-bit Sega Saturn, Atari Jaguar and 3DO, none of which sold very well creating something of a glut in the industry due to stagnant sales and marginal innovation.

After the release of the Sega CD, Nintendo was in negotiation with Sony to create a CD-based add-on for their SNES. Negotiations fell thru, and Sony went ahead with the project alone, (allegedly) stealing the name PlayStation from Nintendo and ultimately releasing the most popular console of its generation. The original Playstation was often called the PSX (which was Sony's internal code-name for the console), but this caused some confusion when Sony released a console overseas and marketed it as the PSX. Currently, the original Playstation is referred to as the PS or PS1 or PSOne, but some "old-school" PS'ers still hang on to the PSX moniker.

Nintendo lost their market domination to the PS and couldn't get it back with the Nintendo 64 (N64), although the N64 held a solid 2nd place with strong titles in the Mario and Zelda franchises. Then, on 9/9/99, Sega launched the Dreamcast in an attempt to beat Sony to the next-gen punch. This was the first console to be sold "internet ready" including a modem at launch, with a broadband adapter sold later on. While the system was home to a number of cult hits (including the very first cel-shaded video game, Jet Set Radio), sales weren't strong enough in the US, and the system would be Sega's last. In Japan, even after the console was cancelled, it had greater sales than the Xbox for some time after the Xbox release. Sega now develops video games for other platforms.

The PlayStation 2 (PS2), banking on Sony's brand and much more powerful technology than Dreamcast's, was released two years later and reassured Sony that their strong marketshare was safe. Nintendo's GameCube and Microsoft's Xbox systems have been vying for the number-two spot since then. This current generation of systems is on their last legs as the next generation is just around the corner (including a new generation of handheld systems — the Nintendo DS came out in November '04 and Sony's Playstation Portable (PSP) was released December '04 in Japan). Sadly, arcade gaming seems to have died a quiet death (though plenty of fans remain) largely due to the success of home gaming.

While console gaming is seemingly more popular, PC gaming has been very important to the development of both the computer industry and the videogaming industry. In fact, if it weren't for the PC the Xbox wouldn't exist, as the Xbox is nothing more than a slightly modified PC. Also, many of the latest advances in graphics technology are derived from the computer industry. Ever since the Apple II, Sinclair and TRS-80 (and way further back if you want to go there) people have been finding fun ways to use computers.

No longer consisting of just snot-nosed kids and introverted teens (they've now grown up), the game industry today is very hot and the average age of gamers has widened greatly, which is partially why the industry is so big. In fact, today the videogame industry is larger than the movie and music industries (sales-wise). Of course another crash could be around the corner...

Get your game on

Video game stores (sales)

Video game stores and kiosks (rentals)

Video game repair

  • Aggie Tech Video game repair for Playstation, XBOX and older game consoles, too

Video game emulation

Some choose to play console videogames on their computers using emulators of the original consoles, such as Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) or Sega Genesis. Unless you own the original console game, it may be illegal to use the ROMs, but there is plenty of "abandonware" available to people as well. Emulation allows 133+ players to hack the games in new and interesting ways. It's also a great way to play NES games at quadruple speed.

Places to play

Meet other videogamers

Note: Also see Games for info on other types of gaming


Gaming can be astonishingly anodynous; it can help us escape from an oppressive, nauseatingly class-conscious, overly stratified reality; it can, at its best, teach us of human nature, of its frailties and nobilities; and it can teach us of ourselves. But unconstrained gaming can lead to serious injuries. Below are three major categories of gaming induced injury, all of which are merely cautionary.

  • Physical Injury Excessive gaming, especially on a PC where a great deal of typing is involved, such as in a massively multiplayer online game (MMOLG) or MUDs, can cause repetitive strain injury (RSI). This is a serious injury that shows no symptoms until it's too late, and once advanced symptoms are experienced, it's likely that no amount of treatment will reverse the damage. There is no known cure for RSI, so the best one can do is practice prevention. Stretching (arms, hands) regularly, avoiding excessively sustained gaming sessions, and using ergonomic keyboards can all help prevent RSI.
  • Mental Injury Excessive gaming may result in avoidance of mental enrichment activities, such as reading, and can result in dangerous intellectual ineptitude. Gaming in place of homework, for example, is of great detriment to one's ability to advance in an increasingly competitive, rapaciously capitalistic economy; likewise, at the sociological level, excessive gaming may lead to a nightmarish form of utilitarianism, where cheap pleasure is all one wishes from life. There are some specific cognitive advantages to playing certain classes of video games (Green & Bavelier 2003), such as enhanced visual attention and hand-eye coordination, but such benefits are not tantamount to broadening one's understanding of astronomical, social, psychological, and biological realities. A regular gamer may perform a surgery with less errors or avoid traffic accidents at a greater rate compared to a non-gamer, but these benefits are small compared to the long term consequences of study-avoidance caused by excessive gaming. Learning how to live a more eudaimonistically rich life, in sum, may be thwarted by virtual realities that isolate us from the great struggles of philosophy and life.
  • Social Injury If one's leisure time is devoted to indulging in virtually induced emotions (VIEs), which is the very goal of gaming, one runs the serious risk of withdrawing from sociopolitical realities of great importance, not only to oneself, but to society at large; if such a consequence occurs on a large enough scale, gaming—along with other forms of hebetation, such as excessive use of a television—may become a form of subversive social control. Right now, in fact, gaming and entertainment television likely account for the general political apathy of the student population and the relatively low turn out of student voters. Moderation in gaming combined with regular menti- and socio-cultural activities is the only sure way to avoid lumpenproletarian tendencies, or worse—political agnosia.

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2005-02-17 17:45:45   I started retro-collecting about a year ago because I had money and nothing to do with it. Now I have no money and a bunch of crappy games. I will post a picture of my living room sometime. If anyone else has a bunch of stuff, you should post pics, too. It's fun to look at. —JoeConte

2005-02-18 17:42:27   I lost my NES. I still have all the games and controllers...just can't find the console. Thank god for NES-to-Dreamcast emulators, I can now enjoy Mega Man and SMB again. SNES Emulators are being developed for Dreamcast too. Dreamcast lives! —RaynatoCastro

2005-02-18 17:48:16   The Dreamcast was a cool machine. I never picked one up but I think about it from time to time as they can be had for next to nothing and as you said, there are many emulators (among other things) being developed by a very active community of enthusiasts. BTW, if you do decide to pick up an NES, I think some of the local gaming stores have them for like $10 or so... —HollywoOd

2005-02-18 18:05:57   Wow, I've got some esoteric stuff: Atari Jaguar (Tempest 2000 is awesome still), Sega Saturn (not that rare, but seems that way at times), TurboGrafx16 (Bonk 4Evar!) an Atari 2600jr with euro controller (NES pad-esque) I'll poke JabberWokky and have him add what he has in storage. —TarZxf

2005-02-18 18:17:38   tgfx16 was a neat and sort of oddball system (i too loved bonk). saturn was a cool system but sega couldn't seem to keep from pointing a gun at their feet. Most of my more interesting stuff is older like my colecovision, and my coleco (which had 3 variations of pong). i also have a collection of early home computers too. sadly almost all of it save my gamecube and nes are back home in ny in several boxes. but yeah, please add more if you got it. i whipped this little history bit up in about 10 minutes. i don't know if people want more detailed stuff as i could go on and on and on... i figured this would be a good start. —HollywoOd

2005-02-20 20:31:25   THEFT: In the uneventful case that you guys see these games, I found tonight that four of my games (two of which I love) are gone. There are: Rez, Puzzle Fighter 2, Silent Scope 2, and Manhunt. The only reason I'm posting this is because Rez is not a popular game. If you see it being played in Davis, please ask where the person got it from. I paid way too much for it. Thank you. —JoeConte

2005-02-22 13:42:23   maybe we can have a Davis videogame history. that would be impressive. where was the first pacman machine in davis? was there ever an arcade here? etc. —ArlenAbraham

2005-02-22 14:16:41   Has anybody else tried out the Atari Joystick? It's hella fun for a $25 toy... ten vintage Atari games packed into a little joystick that plugs into your TV - nothing else needed. Includes games like pong, centipede, asteroid, breakout. A friend said she got hers at Target. —AlphaDog

2005-05-15 23:47:20   I put up two pictures of my collection because I'm that cool. —JoeConte

2005-11-01 03:26:08   There was an arcade here called "The Library" once. It stood where the Woodstock's bar is now —GeoffJohnson

2005-11-01 08:53:47   No mention of the Dreamcast in the history? —KenjiYamada

2005-11-01 10:16:37   It's a wiki, Kenji. Your job is to write about DC. —ArlenAbraham

2005-11-01 12:52:04   A terrible video gaming tragedy/miracle has been foisted upon me. Civiliazation 4 was released and now my chances of actually completing graduate school have dropped markedly. On the bright side the russians have just conquered the new world! —DanMasiel

2005-11-02 17:15:02   I still have my NES, but I haven't whipped the sucker out in a while. I do, however, still play the SNES. I got Illusions of Gaya at the SPCA Thrift for two bucks a couple months ago! Still good. We should get a bunch of TVs, a bunch of NES/SNES's and a bunch of people and have point tournaments. Like, Mario World, Mortal Combat 1, Mario Bros., Super mario Kart, Gauntlet 1, all that stuff! I think that'd be awesome. —JohnDudek

2006-12-27 17:51:50   video gaming is serious business. —HuiChen

2008-09-07 15:53:52   What we need is a good video game club! I mean, there's an anime club, and a gaming club, but no video game club! Someone needs to get a few Xboxes/Wiis/PS3s together and play some good old Halo or some Rock Band. —AndrewHarrison

2008-11-07 23:04:10   there have been Davis CS servers, and kids in DJUSD used to play games at lunch before policy made that hard to do —StevenDaubert