Today marks the official 40th anniversary of video games, so be sure to raise a glass this evening and remember video game classics such as Pong, Super Mario Bros and Jet Set Willy.

Video games are generally thought to have begin when two Associate Engineers, Ralph Baer and Bill Harrison, sat down for a a two player competition of what they called "The Bucket Filling Game". Fascinated with it, the pair continued working on a selection of video game projects which culminated in "The Brown Box" and the Odyssey video game System.

Although other games, namely Spacewar which is considered to be the first computer game ever, pre-date The Bucket Filling Game by a few years it was the two player version of The Bucket Filling Game that was first designed for use on a television screen.

Somehow, over the last forty years we managed to progress from the bucket filling mini-epic to landmark titles such as Doom, Deus Ex, Half-Life and the life-devouring World of Warcraft. Since the likes of Spacewar and The Bucket Filling Game we have seen new characters emerge, like Mario, Link and JC Denton, some of whom have become almost a recurring part of today's culture.

Even language has changed, with words like Pwn, n00b and ROFL all becoming common place and which are inexorably tied to the popularity and growth of the video games market.

Of course, not all changes have been for the better. ET for the Atari 2600, Postal 2 and Jack Thompson, all have left their stain on the good name of our beloved obsession.

For those with a love of all things retro, 1UP is currently hosting an article about the birth of video games and an interview with Bill Harrison.

So, what game was it that got you hooked? Are you a Secret Of Monkey Island fanboy like me, or was it Wonderboy: The Dragons Trap on Gamegear or Command and Conquer on PC that got you addicted, as it was for some of the other bit-tech writers. Let us know in the forums!

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