Several revolutionary inventions would later pave the way to the modern personal computer (PC), most importantly the microprocessor. The project originated in 1969, when Japanese calculator manufacturer Busicom proposed the idea to American manufacturer Intel, and both soon collaborated to produce the first microprocessor. By 1971, Intel's engineers Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore, and Busicom's engineer Masatoshi Shima, succeeded in creating the world's first microprocessor, the 4-bit Intel 4004. The microprocessor helped in creating a more powerful central processing unit than the ones used in computers at the time and shrunk it so computers could be smaller. The microprocessor was the major invention that gave birth to the microcomputer, or the personal computer as it is known today.
The first microprocessor-based personal computer, i.e. the first microcomputer, was the SMP80/X, released by Sord (now Toshiba Personal Computer System Corporation) in 1974; it was developed in 1972 in tandem with the first general-purpose microprocessor, the 8-bit Intel 8008. It was soon followed in 1975 by the Altair 8800, which used the Intel 8080 as its CPU; since the computer's main language was binary code and only had an output of flashing lights, the computer was unusable by the common person. A similar microcomputer was released by NEC in 1976, the TK-80, which used the Intel 8080A.
The PC as we know it today came into being in a garage by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, founders of Apple Computer. At the time (1976), commercial computer manufacturers thought that the notion of a computer for the average person was absurd. The Steves turned the computer industry on its head with the idea of a usable, friendly computer, which home users could not only afford, but actually get utility from in a timely and intuitive manner. Most personal computers in the pre-Windows era used the BASIC programming language as its chief operating system, although games written for the computers also used assembly language. The IBM PC and its early line of compatibles were known to use MS-DOS as its operating system.
Today, after various business purloins and financial tricks, the term "PC" is synonymous not with Apple (who at one time marketed their iMac systems as the "un-PC"), and not even with the IBM-compatible machines that became prevalent in modern times, but with the Microsoft Windows platform. Very few PC games are compatible with anything but Windows, although some developers and publishers have trends of porting their games to the Apple Macintosh and Linux operating systems as well.
Console games are generally regarded as very different from PC games, a result of the different levels of control on each (a few buttons on a console versus an entire keyboard on a PC) as well as of the expectations of the end user. A typical PC gamer has spent more money on his platform, is more patient about errors which may arise as the result of incompatibilities or freak system occurrences, and therefore has a more relaxed and thoughtful taste in games.
However, the argument can be made that with twitchy first-person shooter prevalence on the PC, as well as recent consoles like the Xbox and Playstation 2 and their successors approaching the multi-use functionality of a personal computer, the line between the platforms is blurring.
PC games often have far better graphics over console games, due to the versatility of the PC platform and the overall more advanced hardware used in PCs that is not found in the current generation of consoles. PCs can also be extensively upgraded with the latest high-end hardware, as opposed to the mid-range standard hardware used in consoles. However, upgrading can be expensive, often running into thousands of dollars as opposed to the hundreds spent on consoles.
- Operating system, which limits which games a PC will support
- Microsoft Windows, a popular PC operating system
- Sharp X68000
- FM Towns
- NEC PC-8801
- NEC PC-9801
- Atari 8 Bit
- Atari ST
- PC Master Race
- List of home computers by video hardware
- List of windows games
- List of windows games (Category Version)