History of Video Games: Video games have been available to a wider audience since the early 1970s. Before that, video games existed almost entirely as novelties passed around by programmers and technicians with access to computers. The first commercial arcade video game, Computer Space by Nutting Associates, was introduced in 1971. However, it was 1972, when the first commercially successful video arcade game, Pong was released.
Video Gaming History: Year By Year Since 1971
1971 in Video Gaming
At the beginning of the 1970s, video games existed almost entirely as novelties passed around by programmers and technicians with access to computers. But it was all going to change. Read more
1972 in Video Gaming
In 1972, the first commercially successful video arcade game, Pong was released. Magnavox unveils the Odyssey, the first video game home console. Nolan Bushnell leaves Nutting Associates. Read more
1973 in Video Gaming
Taito enters the video games industry and opens a North American branch. Sega, another electro-mechanical arcade game manufacturer, enters the industry with Pong clones. Lemonade stand was developed. Read more
1974 in Video Gaming
Taito released Basketball, an early example of sprite graphics and the first video game ever with human figures. Atari released the first car racing video game to video arcades, called Gran Trak 10. Read more
1975 in Video Gaming
In 1975, first video game to depict human-to-human combat: Western Gun was developed by Taito. But most noteworthy, first microprocessor-based video game: Gun Fight was developed by Midway. Read more
1976 in Video Gaming
In 1976, Channel F, an early video game console to use a microprocessor and cartridges was released. Sega released Heavyweight Champ. It was the first video game to feature hand-to-hand fighting. Read more
1977 in Video Gaming
Atari released their first second-generation home console, Video Computer System, later known as the VCS or Atari 2600. Cinematronics releases Space Wars, the first vector graphics arcade game. Read more
1978 in Video Gaming
In 1978, Space Invaders was released by Taito in Japan. Midway gave it a wide release in North America. The worldwide success of Space Invaders marks the beginning of the golden age of arcade video games. Read more
1979 in Video Gaming
Namco released an early color game Galaxian. Asteroids was released by Atari. Automated Simulations released Temple of Apshai, one of the first graphical role-playing games for home computers. Read more
1980 in Video Gaming
Namco releases Pac-Man. It becomes the highest-grossing game of all time. It has the first gaming mascot character, established the maze chase genre, introduced power-ups and featured cutscenes. Read more
1981 in Video Gaming
Nintendo releases Donkey Kong, which introduces legendary characters Donkey Kong and Mario and sets the template for the platformer genre. Namco releases Galaga, sequel to Galaxian. Read more
1982 in Video Gaming
Sega releases the Sega Zaxxon, an arcade system board that introduces isometric graphics. Namco releases the Pole Position, the first arcade system board to use 16-bit microprocessors. Read more
1983 in Video Gaming
Despite the Great Video Game Crash of 1983, two new home consoles were released. Oddly enough, Sega released their SG-1000 console in Japan, on the exact same day as Nintendo released their Famicom. Read more
1984 in Video Gaming
Nihon Falcom releases Dragon Slayer, which lays the foundations for the action role-playing game genre. T&E Soft releases Hydlide, action role-playing game that features a health regeneration. Read more
1985 in Video Gaming
Nintendo releases Super Mario Bros., which eventually sells 40 million copies, making it the best-selling video game of all time until 2008. NES was launched for a limited test market in the United States. Read more
1986 in Video Gaming
Sega released Master System in the US, known as Sega Mark III in the Japan. It was the first real competition to Nintendo’s Entertainment System. Released with Hang On and Safari Hunt. Read more
1987 in Video Gaming
LucasArts releases Maniac Mansion, the first game to use the SCUMM engine, innovating the point-and-click interface for the adventure game genre. Nintendo sues Blockbuster for photocopying manuals. Read more
1988 in Video Gaming
The History of Video Games: Documentary
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Timeline of Video Games
History of video games goes back to the early 1950s. Academic computer scientists began designing simple games and simulations as part of their research. However, video games existed almost entirely as novelties passed around by programmers and technicians with access to computers. Commercially available video games have existed since 1971. Bill Pitts and Hugh Tuck developed a coin-operated computer game, Galaxy Game, at Stanford University using a DEC PDP-11 computer with vector displays.
History of Video Games by Decades
On the following images you will see the history of video gaming consoles.
Home consoles before 1970s
THE EVOLUTION OF GAMING CONSOLES
THE BROWN BOX
In 1966 engineer Ralph Baer began experiment with a project to allow consumers to interact with their televisions. Baer and his colleagues referred to the prototypes as boxes and numbered them 1 – 7. The last of which was referred to as “The Brown Box”.
Among the first games was the “Fox and Hounds”. One player controlled a number of WHITE dots which they used to chase and corner the opposing players RED dot. In 1968 Baer went in search of a company to take his product public. The prototype referred to as “The Brown Box” is now in the Smithsonian Institute In Washington D.C.
Home consoles 1971-1975
In 1971, Minnesota college students Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul Dillenberger create Oregon Trail, a simulation of pioneers’ westward trek. Originally played on a single teletype machine, Rawitsch later brought the game to the Minnesota Educational Computer Consortium (MECC) which distributed it nationally. Source: Museumofplay
Besides that, in 1971 Magnavox became the first to license Baer’s “TV Game” and developed the Odyssey home video console based on the technology.
Magnavox Odyssey (Released: May, 1972 – Price at launch: $100 ) had no audio output and could only display black and white images. Using translucent screen overlays to simulate color. The Odyssey sold 330,000 Units by 1975.
In 1975, Magnavox Odyssey 100, Magnavox Odyssey 200 and Coleco Telestar consoles were released.
Home consoles 1976-1979
In 1977, Atari releases the Atari Video Computer System, more commonly known as Atari 2600. Featuring a joystick, interchangeable cartridges, games in color, and switches for selecting games and setting difficulty levels. It makes millions of Americans home video game players.
In 1978, Taito’s Space Invaders descends on Japan, causing a shortage of 100-yen coins. Within a year, 60000 Space Invaders machines in the United States tempt Americans to spend millions of quarters driving back the seemingly unstoppable ranks of attacking aliens.
In 1979, Toy-maker Mattel supplements its handheld electronic games with a new console, the Intellivision. Intellivision has better graphics and more sophisticated controls than Atari 2600, and players love its sports games. Mattel sells three million Intellivision units.