A Look Back at Internet Firsts
In October 1969, UCLA student Charley Kline was attempting to send the word “login” over to the Stanford Research Institute using the internet’s precursor: ARPANET.
At first, the system crashed, only managing to send the letters “i” and “o”. But an hour or so later, the full message was successfully sent and history was made:
Today, the internet permeates every facet of modern life. Billions of people around the world communicate through messaging apps, email, and social media platforms. By 2020, an estimated 20.8 billion “things” will be connected to the internet (including 13 billion household items like TVs, smoke detectors, and appliances).
It all starts somewhere
Though YouTube, Facebook, and email are ubiquitous now, they all started out with a single post, profile, or message, and that first action is not always what you’d expect.
As today’s infographic from Academized demonstrates, “firsts” on the internet are typically unpolished, unique snapshots of the people involved in creating the platform. From elephants at the zoo to live-streaming a coffee pot, we hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane.
Links to Notable Internet Firsts
Everything posted to the web now lives in perpetuity.
Here are some notable internet firsts that can still be viewed, replicated, or experienced:
The First Search Engine
The first search engine was created to connect the McGill University’s School of Computer Science to the Internet. The engine, called Archie, was up-and-running in 1990, a full eight years before Google was created. The University of Warsaw still hosts a functioning version of Archie for historical purposes.
The First Amazon Order
Today, Amazon processes billions of orders per year, but the very first order was placed in July 1995. The grandiosely named book, Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models Of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought, was ordered by computer scientist John Wainwright, who was beta-testing Amazon.com.
The First YouTube Video
The very first YouTube video was uploaded by YouTube’s co-founder, Jawad Karim. The 19-second video is no Gangnam Style. Jawad, who is standing in front of an elephant enclosure, deadpans, “Uh. The cool thing about these guys is that, is that they have really, really, really long, um, trunks, and that’s, that’s cool.” Cool, indeed.
The First Tweet
just setting up my twttr
— jack (@jack) March 21, 2006
Internet firsts are rarely flashy, as this tweet from Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, demonstrates. That said, as startups grow from rag-tag teams of determined founders into global behemoths, it’s nice to look back at those authentic, spontaneous first pieces of content.
Ranked: The Best Selling Video Games in History
This chart shows the top ten best selling video games, ranked by software units sold. Six of them have been released in the last 12 years.
Ranked: The Best Selling Video Games in History
It’s a good time to be a video game fan. Not only is the gaming industry booming and projected to grow to $320 billion by 2026, but every year is bringing new evolutions in the medium.
2022 saw massive launches in both games (Elden Ring and God of War Ragnarök) and media based on games (the films Uncharted and Sonic the Hedgehog 2). 2023 has already seen the release of major flagship TV series based on a game, HBO’s The Last of Us, and the much-anticipated The Super Mario Bros. Movie is slated to release in April.
But which game is the best, or most successful? That debate may never end, but from company reports and sales data aggregated by Wikipedia, Samuel Parker’s chart of the most-sold video games as of March 3, 2023 can at least tell us which ones have been the most popular.
Top Ten Video Games Sold in History
The best selling video game didn’t need multimillion dollar budgets, sixty-hour narratives, or celebrity voice actors and ad spots. The independently-developed (indie) Minecraft, with its pixelated blocks, takes the top spot on this list.
|Rank||Game||Sales (units)||Year Released||Developer|
|3||Tetris (EA)||100.0M||2006||EA Mobile|
|5||PUBG: Battlegrounds||75.0M||2017||PUBG Corp|
|6||Mario Kart 8||60.5M||2014||Nintendo|
|7||Super Mario Bros.||58.0M||1985||Nintendo|
|8||Read Dead Redemption 2||50.0M||2018||Rockstar|
Minecraft sold more units than the combined forces of Grand Theft Auto 5 (#2) and Red Dead Redemption 2 (#8), both made by industry giant Rockstar. Its immense popularity has been credited to its simple gameplay (no goals), creative structure (build anything), and engaged community with player-run servers and additional feature creations (known as mods).
Another simple favorite, Tetris, comes in at third place with 100 million units sold of its 2006 re-release. Millennials continue to make up a large chunk of the video game playing demographic which might explain Tetris’ sales.
But newer games are making up the majority of sales records. PUBG: Battlegrounds, a battle-royale shooter game which helped popularize the genre (and eventually its competitor Fortnite) asserts its popularity at #5. That puts it well ahead of the better-known shooter Call of Duty, even despite PUBG being banned in a number of countries for the alleged impact on the mental health of gamers.
The oldest game to make the list is Super Mario Bros. (#7), apt considering it is credited with reviving the video game industry after it crashed in 1983. The original staple side-scroller has sold 58 million copies worldwide.
Though the top selling games span various series of games, a few developers managed to repeatedly find success.
|Developer||Top 20 Best-Selling Games|
Japanese video game titan Nintendo developed three games (Super Mario Bros., Mario Kart, Wii Sport/Fitness) in the top 10 and another eight in the top 20. That’s not including its co-ownership of Pokémon, the world’s highest-grossing media franchise.
American publisher Rockstar Games also managed to score multiple hits, though its longer development cycle necessary to create cinematic games gives it fewer potential candidates. That might change with the much-anticipated GTA 6 reportedly in production.
Best Selling Genres
The most popular genres in the top 10 give players the freedom to impose their will upon the world and pursue objectives at their leisure:
Two games (Minecraft, Terraria) are classic sandbox games, where worlds are procedurally generated and there are no gameplay goals. Another two (GTA 5, Red Dead Redemption 2) are in the adjacent open-world genre, with a combination of sandbox elements and a narrative structure.
However, with new games launching and selling millions of units every year, new entrants to the top 10 list of best selling video games of all-time seems likely. How will these developers, genres, and games fare over time?
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