The Amtgard Initiative Episode 15… We are Back.

After more than a year of hiatus, we have returned to drop a new episode on your face ears. We have adjusted to our new lifestyles and hope to return with a monthly delve into Amtgard across two countries and hopefully near you. Find out what we have been up to and how our worlds have changed. Hopefully you all have missed us as much as we have missed you.



Written Opinion Challenge Era: 1986-1994

During this time frame, three technological advances made personal computers a contender for the gaming market. What were these advancements, and how did they make PCs a more viable gaming machine?


The sound card, the CD-ROMs, and shareware made the personal computer a contender in the gaming market between 1986 and 1994. These three advances helped solidify the PCs place as a permanent gaming option for home gamers.

The sound card that had the most influence was the SoundBlaster, created by Creative Labs in 1989 the SoundBlaster touted audio input and output jacks, a midi/joystick port and an 11-voice synthesizer. The option of the joystick port was key to its success. Often PCs only had one or two expansion ports and the ability to include high quality sound and a gaming controller while only using one port appealed to many consumers.

With the ability to hold three hundred and twenty times more data than other storage media of the time the CD-ROM was another key to PC gaming’s success. The incredible difference in storage allow designers to create games with more detail. Rand and Robyn Miller created an immensely immersive experience in their hit game Myst utilizing the CD-ROM’s storage ability. Myst was the first CD-ROM game to sell over one million copies and remained on the computer game best seller list for three years after its release.

Finally, the use of shareware became extremely important to the success of personal computer as a gaming platform. Wolfenstein 3D was created by John Cormack and John Romero. Their studio, id Software, came up with a genius way to release their software.  They gave it away.  You could download the first part of the game or have it mailed to you as “shareware” without cost. This provided consumers the ability to try out the game risk free, gave designers a way to share their creations and helped open the independent market for games.  Building on the success of Wolfenstein 3D id released Doom and it became one of the most popular games of all time popularizing shareware and the first person 3d shooter.

Combined these three innovations made by the personal computer industry helped form a lasting presence in the gaming community.  Without these technological advances gamers may have overlooked the computer as a source for entertainment during the time of the console wars.













Kent, S. (2001). The ultimate history of video games: The story behind the craze that touched our lives and changed the world. Roseville, Calif.: Prima Pub.