A Short History of Home Video Game Consoles — Part 1

A Short History of Home Video Game Consoles — Part 1

Video games are currently a $100 billion business and all around the world, almost every home has at least someone who plays video games daily. It might seem sad, but it is the technology era that we live in. Across the time, the gaming industry has adapted and the games today start to resemble reality, but it hasn’t always been this way. Video games have been on the market for many years now and are currently spread over multiple platforms and types from arcade systems to home consoles or mobile devices. Video gaming is also an important leader in computer technology and it has brought players around the world together through scoring systems and rewards for the highest score.

First Generation

TV-Game
TV-Game

The ‘console’ term first became known in the 1950s when Magnavox released their first piece called Magnavox Odyssey, which had incorporated a video display. The Odyssey was successful at one point, but it was Atari’s arcade game called Pong which marked the success of video games and took the public attention to the emerging industry. The success that Pong has benefited from, has emerged many ‘clones’ of this game to spawn overnight. By 1975, Magnavox suspended the sales of the Odyssey in a reckless manner and released a new scaled down console, the Odyssey 100, that played only Pong and hockey. Afterward, a high-end console called the Odyssey 200 was launched in the same time with the 100, and contained new features like the score displayed on the screen, ability to support up to four players, and had a third game — Smash. This was the beginning of the gaming consoles which explosively entered this gaming market.

Second Generation

Atari
Atari

At one point, the games were stored on ROM chips that were introduced inside a plastic tape. The tape would be introduced in the console slot and the microprocessor would read the memory and run the program. Fairchild was the initiator of the programmable video game, but its graphics haven’t changed that much from those of the original PONG game. As the technology advanced, the gaming fans were asking for more games, better game experience, and more detailed graphics.

Atari did that and has launched their own video game system in 1977 which has been a stepping stone for video games and which also marked the golden age of video gaming. It was sold at that time for $199 and some of the specifications were an 8-bit Motorola 6507 microprocessor and 256 bytes of RAM which were a lot at that time. During the 1990s, the Atari VCS was getting to know what success was and has sold over 25 million units. All along its production run, there were 200 different games for the system designed by 40 different manufacturers, selling more than 120 million cartridges of popular games such as Space Invaders, Asteroids, and Pac-Man.

Third Generation

Nintendo
Nintendo

In 1983, Nintendo a well-known Japanese gaming company launched the Family Computer known as Famicom in Japan. One of the most important things at that time was making the whole video game experience more pleasant to the gamer’s eye. That is what they did, as Nintendo was characterized by a higher-resolution and vivid color tiled backgrounds. Some of the improvements that Famicom brought were longer game experience and higher quality graphics. Famicom became known as Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and gained massive popularity in the US in a very short amount of time.

Video games are currently a $100 billion business and all around the world, almost every home has at least someone who plays video games daily. It might seem sad, but it is the technology era that we live in. Across the time, the gaming industry has adapted and the games today start to resemble reality, but it hasn’t always been this way.