Video Game Consoles History


What is a Video Game Console?

video game consoles collection

Video Game Consoles: A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play. In 1972, Magnavox released the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game console which could be connected to a TV set.

Best Retro Consoles of All Time

Please note! Does not contain any consoles released after 2000 (Nintendo Gamecube, Playstation 2, Microsoft Xbox). Also, this list does not contain any handhelds! No Sega Game Gear, no Nintendo Gameboy, no Tetris.

This list was composed in compliance with various lists (20 Best Gaming Consoles, Best Game Systems – Ranked by Gamers, Best Selling Game Consoles and others). It is based on serious research and includes following aspects: Impact to gaming industry, graphical and technological innovations. Sales numbers and popularity are also taken into account.

Top 15 Video Game Consoles Before 2000

15. Sega Saturn
14. Colecovision
13. Atari Jaguar
12. Intellivision
11. TurboGrafx-16
10. Neo-Geo AES
09. Magnavox Odyssey
08. Sega Master System
07. Sega Dreamcast
06. Nintendo 64
05. Sega Genesis
04. Super Nintendo
03. Sony Playstation
02. Atari 2600
01. Nintendo NES

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System is a 16-bit home video game console developed by Nintendo. It was released in 1990 in Japan and South Korea, 1991 in North America, 1992 in Europe and Australasia (Oceania), and 1993 in South America.
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Not happy with the list? You can also Vote for Your Own Favorite Video Game Consoles! (You can choose more than one)

Complete History of Video Game Consoles

The image below is not complete as it is not including all the lesser known consoles and add-ons. However it is still pretty decent overview of the history.

history of video game consoles

First Generation of Video Game Consoles

Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972, was the first video game console ever. By today’s standards, the graphics are primitive. It is capable of displaying three square dots on the screen in monochrome black and white, with differing behavior for the dots depending on the game played. It does not have any sound either.

However, Magnavox Odyssey itself was based on another console called “Brown Box”, created between 1967-1969. Brown Box, invented by Ralph Baer, Bill Harrison and Bill Rusch, was a prototype for the first multiplayer, multiprogram video game system. Source: Here

The first generation of video game consoles lasted approximately 12 years. There were hundreds of home video game consoles released during that time. However, most of the consoles released were Pong variations. Most notable releases were: Odyssey series (eight dedicated Odyssey consoles from 1975 to 1978), TV Tennis Electrotennis and Atari Home Pong (1975) and Coleco Telstar series (14 dedicated consoles from 1976 to 1978). List of first generation consoles: Here

Second Generation of Video Game Consoles

Second Generation refers to computer and video games, video game consoles, and handheld video game consoles available from 1976 to 1992. Notable platforms of the second generation include the Fairchild Channel F, Atari 2600, Intellivision, Odyssey², and ColecoVision. Second Generation in depth: Here

Fairchild Channel F was the first of second generation consoles released (in 1976). It was the first programmable ROM cartridge–based video game console, and the first console to use a microprocessor. However, Channel F was not a commercial success (mostly because of Atari VCS / 2600 released the next year).

Atari VCS (later named as Atari 2600) was released in 1977 and became the most dominant console of the era. At launch, the unit was originally priced at US$199 ($823 adjusted for inflation), and shipped with two joysticks and a Combat cartridge. It has wood printed panels, designed to look like a piece of furniture.

video game consoles history atari 2600

Beginning of Third Party Developers

Activision, formed by four former Atari VCS programmers, started developing third-party games to be used on cartridge systems (such as the Atari VCS) in 1979. First, Atari attempted to block the sale of the Activision cartridges, but lost in court, allowing other third-party VCS game developers to flourish.

One such developer was Rob Fulop, who had created the VCS version of Missile Command. More than two million copies of Missile Command were sold. However, Atari only rewarded him with a gift certificate for a free turkey. Fulop promptly left Atari and co-founded Imagic. His first game for the company, Demon Attack, became a hit in 1982.

Other VCS-focused game development companies that sprang up in the early 1980s include US Games, Telesys, Games by Apollo, Data Age, Zimag, Mystique and CommaVid.

Hey! Don’t forget to Vote for Your Own Favorite Video Game Consoles! (You can choose more than one)

Video Game Consoles in Chronologic Order

Below you can find list of consoles released (will be updated to be complete on day) in chronological order starting from earliest home console – Magnavox Odyssey.

Composed by: Retroconsole xyz

The Nintendo Entertainment System is an 8-bit home video game console that was developed and manufactured by Nintendo. It was initially released in Japan as the Family Computer on July 15, 1983, and was later released in New York City in 1985, and throughout the U.S as well as in Europe and Australia during 1986 and 1987.
The Sega Genesis, known as the Mega Drive in regions outside of North America, is a 16-bit home video game console developed and sold by Sega. The Genesis was Sega’s third console and the successor to the Master System. Sega released the console as the Mega Drive in Japan in 1988, followed by North America as the Genesis in 1989.

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