Since the early days of computers, when huge, unwieldy machines, called mainframes, occupied half an average-sized room, programmers have tried to turn them in machines for entertainment. But computer games really took off after the invention of the personal computer in the early 1980s. Suddenly in possession of PCs and laptops, and not knowing what to do with them in their free time, people took to computer gaming. Soon, 2-D computer games like Packman, Tetris, Prince of Persia, Doom and card games became so popular that many people bought PCs for the sole reason of playing games.
Broadly speaking, there are three primary factors that, in the 90s, turned the PCs and laptops into the true entertainment machines that we see today. The first was the development of computer operating systems with graphical user interface (GUI), like the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS, which made 3-D games possible. The second was the development of faster and more powerful PCs, which made it possible to store and run those games. The third was the advent of internet, which made it possible to download games and also play online with and against players from around the world.
At about the same time, the market was flooded with personal gaming machines like the Sonny PlayStation, Nintendo GameBoy and Microsoft XBox. While these became extremely popular with children and young people, they didn’t diminish the entertainment value of the PC. In fact, with the ability to download thousands of games instantly and also play many of them for free online, the popularity of the PC as a source of entertainment only grew. Besides, most young people today use their PCs and laptops to play music and videos, and also for social networking. In fact, these are the only reasons they buy computers. Thus, computers have truly become entertainment machines.