Lab Reports, Timelines
Figure: 1


Video games are a popular form of entertainment amongst the youth. Unlike earlier years, they are also a useful tool for education and health purposes. The industry has seen significant development over the years and the timeline created presents the key milestones of this evolution.

The gaming industry has evolved over three crucial eras to reach its current stage; the initial phase of development was during the arcade era which extended from 1978 to 1985. This was followed by further development in the composite era between 1985 and 1995 and the most recent being the set-piece era (1995-2019). Having said that, the game design industry is ever-changing and evolving with its latest focus being on virtual reality and its application in the gaming world. (Figure: 2)

Figure: 2


To create the timeline an open-source software named TimelineJS was used. The software enables users to create interactive timelines using only Google spreadsheets.



I was recently working on a project that involved researching the history and evolution of video games and I thought creating an interactive and visually pleasing timeline would be a great addition to it.


After selecting the topic, I researched it in greater detail and acquired data from a few sources. Further, I segregated the data and selected the key milestones I wanted to include in the timeline. Based on the selected milestones, I complied relevant images and textual content. A dataset was then created on the Google Spreadsheet using Knightlab TimelineJS’s template.


The final step was to create the timeline on TimelineJS. The timeline is divided based on the 3 eras noted in the history of game design – arcade, composite and set-piece. The timeline also includes the most recent development in the industry – Virtual Reality.



TimelineJS is a quick and easy software to learn. The process was straightforward and plain sailing. However, there were a couple of constraints with the design options. The software lets you choose from a select few font pairs and specify the background and foreground colors. Other than that there were a few limitations like resizing the images or playing with the overall layout.

If I were to do this over again, I would like to try segregating the data in a different manner. I have currently segregated it based on the eras but there were a few events that might have belonged to a particular era but occurred during another’s time period. For instance, Virtual reality was first explored by Ivan Sutherland in 1968 but has gained popularity in recent years. To avoid confusion for users and for ease of flow, the above-mentioned milestone has been included in the Virtual Reality section.