Physics are an important factor in creating an immersive experience in video games. All the most memorable games have found ways of overcoming the technological constraints of their time to create experiences that kept players coming back. When physics are done wrong, it can be disastrous. Bargain bins are littered with games that invested more in movie licenses or flashy graphics than they did into tweaking the physics to make the gameplay enjoyable. But when done right, the results are powerful and memorable.
To understand the current climate of game physics, one must first understand a brief history of pivotal games physics technologies and how they have influenced other game developers, as well as current technologies that are still in the process of being introduced.