series was a popular
platform during the early
era. Despite being outperformed by later systems, it remained popular until the early 1990s.
In the early days of video games (from the early 1970s to mid-1980s), a game programmer also took on the job of a designer and
artist. This was generally because the abilities of early
computers were so limited that having specialized personnel for each function was unnecessary. Game concepts were generally light and games were only meant to be played for a few minutes at a time, but more importantly, art content and variations in gameplay were constrained by computers' limited power.
Later, as specialized
arcade hardware and
home systems became more powerful, game developers could develop deeper storylines and could include such features as high-resolution and full color graphics,
artificial intelligence and
digital sound. Technology has advanced to such a great degree that contemporary games usually boast
3D graphics and
full motion video using assets developed by professional
graphic artists. Nowadays, the derogatory term "
programmer art" has come to imply the kind of bright colors and blocky design that were typical of early video games.
The desire for adding more depth and assets to games necessitated a
division of labor. Initially, art production was relegated to
full-time artists. Next
game programming became a separate discipline from
game design. Now, only some games, such as the
Bejeweled, are simple enough to require just one full-time programmer. Despite this division, however, most game developers (artists, programmers and even
producers) have some say in the final design of contemporary games.