History of Video Games

The popularity of video gaming has experienced a number of peaks and valleys over the years since it was more or less invented in the 1940s. It was during this time that Thomas T. Goldsmith and Estle Ray Mann filed a patent request for the cathode ray tube amusement device, arguably the world’s first video game. Over the years more and more video game units were developed and many operated on mainframe computers at colleges and universities. Around 1960 at MIT, a group of interactive programs were created on a machine called the TX-O  that included games such as “Mouse in the Maze,” “Tic Tac Toe,” and “HAX”. The game “Spacewar” was also created at MIT and was played on the DEC PDP-1 computer. This game was later distributed on the Internet, during its early life.

Arcade Games

Arcade games were invented in 1971 and grew to popularity throughout the decade. The first game was called “Galaxy Game” and was located at

History of Video Games

History of Video Games

the student union in Stanford University. “Spacewar,” a coin-operated version of its computer predecessor was purchased by Nutting Associates in 1971. The game was renamed “Computer Space” and 1,500 machines were built, but they game saw no commercial success because it was difficult to play.

The well-known video game company Atari, Inc. was founded in 1972 and the company released what is often considered the first video game, “Pong.” It was the first game to achieve success and is based on the game of table tennis. There were nearly 20,000 “Pong” machines sold.

The late 1970s through the mid-1980s are considered the Golden Age of video game arcades. The era began with the release of the game “Space Invaders,” which eventually sold over 360,000 arcade machines across the world. Arcade gaming was a popular feature in shopping centers, restaurants, and roller rinks during this time. “Pac-Man” was the first video game to utilize color graphics. The game is quite possibly the most popular arcade game of all time and eventually generated more than a billion in revenue, all in quarters. “Pac-Man” games are still seen in modern day arcades, though many are no longer coin-operated and rely on a slide card system for play.

Gaming Consoles

Video game consoles, which allowed games to be played at home, were created around the same time arcade games were growing in popularity. Magnavox licensed the technology for the first at-home video game in 1972. It was called the Magnavox Odyssey. The system used cartridges, which allowed players to play different games on the same console attached to a television set. Game consoles are now in their seventh generation, and have advanced enough to offer 3-D graphics and the ability to play without handheld controllers. Many at-home and arcade video games can now be played utilizing the entire body, including Dance Dance Revolution and many games on the Nintendo Wii system. The most popular at-home gaming systems are made by Nintendo and Sony. Both companies have produced upgraded versions of their popular consoles, Playstation and Xbox over the last decade.

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