History of Electronic Games

  • Cathode Ray Tube

    Cathode Ray Tube
    Cathode ray tube amusement device
    It records and controls the quality of an electronic signal.
    The strength of the electronic signals produced by the amusement device can be controlled by control knobs which influences the trajectory of the CRT's light beam.
    The device is purely mechanical and does not use any memory device, computer, or programming.
  • The 1st Computer Game

    The 1st Computer Game
    Called EDSAC, at Cambridge University. Had a library of short programs called subroutines stored on punched paper tapes. Technology: vacuum tubes Memory: 1K words, 17 bits, mercury delay line Speed: 714 operations per second
  • SEGA

    In 1951, SEGA distributed coin-operated amusement-type games such as jukeboxes and slot machines.
    Within a few years Service Games began importing these machines to American military bases throughout Japan.
  • Period: to

    First Generation


    World's first game console
    Predating the Atari Pong home consoles by several years.
    designed by Ralph Baer
    prototype known as the "Brown Box“ is now at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC
    340,000 units sold
  • Pong

    A coin-op arcade game by Atari Inc.
    Pong was based on table tennis, and named after the sound generated when the ball is hit.

    Pong was the first video game to achieve widespread popularity in both arcade and home console versions, and launched the initial boom in the video game industry.
    Pong's popularity led to a successful patent infringement lawsuit from the makers of an earlier video game, the Magnavox Odyssey.
  • Gran Trak 10

    Gran Trak 10
    A single-player racing arcade by Atari
    The player raced against the game clock, accumulating as many points as possible.
    Early diode-based ROM was used to store the sprites for the car, score and game timer, and the race track.
    The game's controls, steering wheel, four-position gear shifter, and accelerator and brake foot pedals were also all firsts for arcade games
  • Maze Wars

    Maze Wars
    One of the first FPS game.
    Players wander around a maze, moving backward or forward, turning right or left in 90-degree increments, and peeking through doorways.
    Used simple tile-based movement.
    Other players are eyeballs which can be shot or harmed.
    Players gain points for shooting other players, and lose them for being shot.
  • Period: to


    Played programmable ROM cartridges.
    Allowed each game to be a completely unique experience, with its own background and foreground graphics, gameplay, scoring, and music.
    Odyssey² included a full keyboard, which was to be used for educational games, selecting options, or programming.
    One of the strongest points of the system was its excellent speech synthesis unit.
    The Odyssey² may be best remembered for its fusion of board and video games: The Master Strategy Series. The first game release
  • Period: to

    Second Generation

    The earliest console, the Magnavox Odyssey, had used removable cartridges that were glorified jumpers to activate the games already wired in to the console.
    By the mid-1970's cartridges moved to CPU based consoles.
    Games now consisting of microprocessor based code, had games burned onto ROM chips that were mounted inside plastic cartridge casings that could be plugged into slots on the console.
  • Coleco Telstar

    Coleco Telstar
    By Coleco
    Originally a Pong clone based on General Instrument's AY-3-8500 chip.
    The chip played several Pong variants on a domestic television receiver, and became available to any manufacturer.
    The circuit was intended to be battery powered and a minimum number of external components were required to complete the system.
  • Fairchild Channel F

    Fairchild Channel F
    The world's second cartridge-based video game console, after the Magnavox Odyssey (although it was the first programmable cartridge system as the Odyssey cartridges only contained jumpers and not ROM information).
    By Fairchild Semiconductor price of $169.95.
    At this point it was known as the Video Entertainment System, or VES, but when Atari released their VCS the next year, Fairchild quickly renamed it.
  • APV TV Fun

    APV TV Fun
    Another early Pong clone manufactured by APF Electronics Inc. in the United Kingdom.
    It featured 4 built in games, a speaker, and 2 controller knobs. Could not add more games.
    It could be powered by either the included AC adapter or by using 6 C size batteries.
    First entry of APF into the video game market, APF was formerly a calculator and other small electronics developer.
    While the TV Fun had only limited success.
    4 games were Tennis, Hockey, Single Handball, and Squash.
  • Chuck E. Cheese's

    Chuck E. Cheese's
    First type of family entertainment centers aimed at young children.
    Is a sit-down pizza restaurant, with arcade games, amusement rides, an animatronics show, climbing equipment, tubes, and slides.
    Helped change the image of video games.
  • Atari 2600

    Atari 2600
    Video game console credited with popularizing the use of a microprocessor and cartridges containing games.
    Originally known as the Atari VCS—for Video Computer System—the machine's name was changed to "Atari 2600" in 1982, after the release of the more advanced Atari 5200.
    It was wildly successful, and during the 1980s.
    The 2600 was typically bundled with two joystick controllers, a conjoined pair of paddle controllers, and a cartridge game - initially Combat and subsequently Pac-Man.
  • Space Invaders

    Space Invaders
    Created in Japan, and was later licensed by the Midway in the US.
    Shooting game where the players defeat waves of aliens with a laser cannon to earn as many points as possible.
    So successful it caused a temporary shortage of 100-yen coins in Japan and grossed $2 billion worldwide by 1982.
    Pixelated enemy alien has become a pop culture icon, often used as a symbol representing video games as a whole.
  • Intellivision

    By Mattel Electronics.
    Test marketed in California, with four games available, and nationwide in 1980 with a price tag of $299 and a pack-in game: Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack.
    Though not the first system to challenge Atari, it was the first to pose a serious threat to Atari's dominance.
    A series of ads were produced attacking the Atari 2600's lesser capabilities with side-by-side game comparisons.
    By 1982 over two million Intellivision consoles had been sold, earning Mattel a $100,000,000 pr
  • Asteroids

    Most popular and influential games selling 70,000 by Atari.
    Used a vector display and a 2D view that wraps around in both screen axes.
    Player controls a spaceship in an asteroid field which is periodically traversed by flying saucers.
    Object of the game is to shoot and destroy asteroids and saucers while not colliding or being hit by the saucers' counter-fire.
  • Pac-Man

    Namco is considered among the most famous arcade games of all time.
    Became a social phenomenon that sold related merchandise and inspired, an animated television series and a top-ten hit single.
    Was appealing to both genders.
    Generated more than $2.5 billion in quarters by the 1990s.
    Highest brand awareness of any video game character.
  • Galaga

    Fixed shooter game by Namco in Japan and Midway in US.
    The player controls a space ship at the bottom of the screen.
    In beginning the playing area is empty, but over time, enemy aliens fly in formation and come down at the player's ship to either shoot or collide with it.
    The player fires upon the enemies, and once all enemies are vanquished, the player moves onto the next stage.
  • Frogger

    By Konami, and licensed for worldwide distribution by Sega/Gremlin.
    Player directs frogs to their homes by crossing a busy road and navigate a river full of hazards. Skillful players obtain bonuses.
    The game is regarded as a classic and was noted for its novel gameplay and theme.
    Example of a game using more than one CPU, as it used two Z80 processors.
    By 2005, Frogger had sold 20 million copies worldwide, including 5 million in the United States.
  • Donkey Kong

    Donkey Kong
    By Nintendo - platform game genre.
    Players moved the main character across a series of platforms while dodging and jumping over obstacles who must rescue a damsel in distress, Lady, from a giant ape named Donkey Kong.
    The hero and ape later became two of Nintendo's most popular characters.
    Nintendo licensed the game to Coleco who developed home console versions.
    Dominated the video game market in the 1980s and early 1990s.
  • Q*Bert

    Q*bert is an isometric platform game with puzzle elements where the player controls the titular protagonist from a third-person perspective.
  • TRON

    Tron is about a computer programmer transported inside the software world of a mainframe computer, where he interacts with various programs in his attempt to get back out.
  • Period: to

    Third Generation

  • Pole Position

    Pole Position
    Pole Position arcade racing game released by Atari, Inc. in the US. Most popular coin-op arcade game of 1983. Had a steering wheel and a gear shifter for low and high gears. The environmental/cockpit cabinet featured both an accelerator and brake pedal.
  • Mario Bros.

    Mario Bros.
    By Nintendo in 1983.
    In this game, Mario a Italian-American plumber and his brother Luigi, must defeat creatures from the sewers below New York.
    The gameplay focuses on Mario's extermination of pests in the sewers by flipping them on their backs and kicking them away.
    The original versions of Mario Bros., the arcade version and the Nintendo Famicom/Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) version, were received positively.
  • Period: to


    The delay of Atari's 7800 consoles left them with little to captivate consumers hungry for the next big thing.
    A flood of consoles on the US market gave consumers too many choices.
    Many poor game titles and too many games based on the movie ET The Extraterrestrial.
    Millions of consumers shifted their intention to buy choices from game consoles to low-end computers that retailed for similar prices.

    A tile-matching game originally designed and programmed in the Soviet Union.
    Name is from the Greek numerical prefix tetra- (all of the game's pieces contain four segments)
    First entertainment software exported from the USSR to the U.S. and published for Commodore 64 and IBM PC.
    Electronic Gaming Monthly's 100th issue had Tetris in first place as "Greatest Game of All Time".
    It has sold more than 70 million copies. In January 2010, it was announced that Tetris has sold more than 100 million co
  • Commodore 64

    Commodore 64
    Introduction of personal computers like the Commodore 64, whose theme “Why buy your child a video game and distract them from school when you can buy them a home computer that will prepare them for college?”
  • Nintendo Entertainment System

    Nintendo Entertainment System
    8-bit video game console released by Nintendo.
    In most of Asia, it was released as the Family Computer.
    The most successful gaming console of its time -sold over 60 million NES units worldwide.
    Nintendo helped revitalize the US video game industry following the video game crash of 1984, and set the standard for consoles and controller layout.
    First console to play and openly court third-party game developers.
    The slogan for the NES in North America is "Now You're Playing With Power!"
  • SEGA Master System

    SEGA Master System
    8-bit cartridge-based video game console that was manufactured by Sega.
    In the European market, this console launched Sega onto a competitive level comparable to Nintendo, due to its wider availability, but failed to put a dent in the North American and Japanese markets.
    The Master System was released as a direct competitor to the NES/Famicom.
    The system ultimately failed to topple its Nintendo competitor, but enjoyed over a decade of life in secondary markets.
  • Legend of Zelda

    Legend of Zelda
    A high fantasy action-adventure video game series created in Japan and published by Nintendo.
    One of Nintendo's most important franchises, it consists of a mixture of action, adventure, and puzzle solving.
    Link, a playable character and the protagonist must rescue Princess Zelda.
    The protagonist in each game is usually not the same incarnation of Link, but a few exceptions do exist.
    As of December 2011, The Legend of Zelda franchise has sold 67.93 million copies since the release of the first
  • Video Game Crash Ends

    The crash lasted 2 years. The market was revitalized due to the success of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) with its landmark title Super Mario Bros.
  • Final Fantasy

    Final Fantasy
    Developed and owned by Square Enix.
    The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science fantasy role-playing video games (RPGs), but includes motion pictures, anime, printed media, and other merchandise.
    The series is very successful; with more than 100 million units sold.
    Well known for its innovation, visuals, and music, such as the inclusion of full motion videos, photo-realistic character models, and orchestrated music by Nobuo Uematsu.
  • Pokemon

    Pokémon is a media franchise published and owned by Japanese video game company Nintendo. Originally released as a pair of interlinkable Game Boy role-playing video games developed by Game Freak, Pokémon has since become the second-most successful and lucrative video game-based media franchise in the world, behind only Nintendo's own Mario franchise. Pokemon properties have been merchandised into anime, manga, trading cards, toys, books, and other media.