History of video games

  • RCA / AV sound cables created

    RCA / AV sound cables created
    RCA connectors developed for transmitting audio and visual information. While they where not indended to be used for video game systems, they where untill the invention of the VGA connector
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    Early history of video games

    During this period the first video games where developed however many ran on expensive computer systems and where not commercially viable
  • Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device created

    Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device created
    The idea for a interactive electronic game was concieved on the 25 jan 1947 by Thomas T, Goldsmith jf, it consisted of multiple light up cathode tubes and simulated missile radar displays from WWII
  • Alan turing creates Theoretical chess program

    Alan turing creates Theoretical chess program
    while there was no computer to play the game on, alan turing theortically planned out the computer responses for a game of chess, the design of the first NPC.
  • Sapcewar! Developed

    Sapcewar! Developed
    Spacewar! developed for tx-0 and PDP-1 vector display systems. Credited as one of the first video games created, the technology that spacewar! was released for was too expensive for your average 1960's home however by 1970 spacewar! was common in most universities.
  • Compact Cassettes created

    Compact Cassettes created
    Cassettes where originaly designed for use in audio playback machines, they where however the primary storage medium for early video game consoles. They where used by systems such as the Magnavox Odyssey and Commadore 64 untill the release of ROM cartridges.
  • Brown Box created

    Brown Box created
    Ralph Baer created the brown box entertainment system, often credited as the first video game console, the brown box was intended to be sold to cable companies (and then on to consumers) as they where to provide the static backgrounds needed, however the console was never commercially released.
  • Sega Enterprises's Periscope released

    Sega Enterprises's Periscope released
    First electronic coin based arcade machine released, Periscope was a gun game where the player looked through a periscope targeting and attacking enemies.
  • Chicago coin's Speedway released

    Chicago coin's Speedway released
    Chicago Coin's speedway released, The second commercially released coin machine, tasked the player with racing around a track against other players.
  • Mainframe computer and Mini-Computer

    Mainframe computer and Mini-Computer
    Many of the game created during this time where for University Mainframe computer systems and Mini-Computer systems (PLATO and DECUS computer systems where the most common). As these where both very expensive at the time commercial viability for these games was next to none. However these are some of the first games ever created and defined the genres that are still around today.
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    1st generation of video games

    The first generation of video games and consoles where released to the public
  • Pong released

    Pong released
    Pong was one of the first video games to reach commercial popularity. The game was released as a arcade coin machine ny the new electonics company Atari.
  • Atari Inc. created

    Atari Inc. created
    Atari Inc. was founded after the popularity of the original prototype of pong. Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney installed the first pong machine in a bar in Sunnyvale, California. When they returned the next morning people where queuing out the door to play, they realised they had a hit game and created Atari Inc. to manufacture and distribute the game
  • Magnavox Odyssey

    Magnavox Odyssey
    The Magnova Odyssey is an updated and commmercially viable version of Rapl Baer's Brown Box. The Odyssey was the first marketed home entertainment system however it lacked sound capabilities and could not play the new hit game pong, both where later fixed in the console: Atari Home Pong. The console was the first to introduce the idea of a controller to the public
  • Maze war and Spasim created

    Maze war and Spasim created
    While there is an argument over which game was created first, both games are considered the first conceptions of the 3D first person shooter. Players walked round a maze (at 90 degree inciments) and where tasked with eliminating enemy players, who where displayed as an eye-ball.
  • Nintendo enters video game market

    Nintendo enters video game market
    Nintendo the playing card distribution company, officially enters the video game market by acquiring rights to selling the Magnavox Odyssey video game console in japan.
  • Air Fight created

    AirFight was created for the PLATO system, it was the first flight sim game and pre-dates Microsoft Flight Sim by about 8 years.
  • CRT screens become affordable to the public

    CRT screens become affordable to the public
    Universities started to phase out the use of vector display screens and replaced them with CRTs. This allowed for quicker display of text, higher quality graphics due to the faster refresh rate and cheeper home display sets. This in turn led to cheeper and better quality games as they did not have to be played on expensive university standard equipment.
  • Colossal Cave Adventure

    Colossal Cave Adventure
    The first text based adventure game created, it tasked the player with exploring a real world cave recreated in text format. The game is often credited as creating the text based adventure genre. Later versions of the game included graphics.
  • Dungeon and DnD created

    Dungeon and DnD created
    Dpending on what computer system you used defined which of these games you played, both where versions of Dungeon and Dragons and both where text based with gaphic maps. While there is an argument over which was created first both are credited with hwlping create the role playing genre.
  • Sega enters video game market

    Sega enters video game market
    Sega enters fideo game market and benefits from the arcade gaming boom, by 1979 Sega's revenue from the video game market totaled $100 million. The company would later help define the market before restructuring from a hardware to a software company in the late 1990's.
  • ROM cartridges utalised by home entertainment systems

    ROM cartridges utalised by home entertainment systems
    The first ROM cartridges where released for The Fairchild Channel F, they introduced an standard used by video game consoles untill the invention of the CD.
  • Video game market crash

    Video game market crash
    Due to the success of pong many copies where created and invisioned, this created the initial video game market boom. However once people became bored and due to the lack of different games the market crashed.
  • CD created

    CD created
    The first CD was created, this is the first example of optical storage however at the time could only store audio data so was not used for video game distrabution.
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    2nd generation of video games

  • Atari 2600 released

    Atari 2600 released
    The first rom based, micro-processor home entertainment system was released by Atari. It was originally developed as the VCS and the rom based system allowed for games to be inter-changed. The console was later re-released in japan under the Atari 2800 model name. It cost 199$ and sold 30 million units worldwide.
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    "Golden age" of coin operated machines

  • Space invaders released

    Space invaders released
    Space invaders was originally released as an arcade machine and is credited with starting "the golden age" of arcade machines. It is also credited with starting the "shoot em up" genre of video games. it went on to become one of the most popular video game coin machines ever released.
  • Sheriff released

    Sheriff released
    The coin operated arcade game Sheriff was released by Nintendo, while the game was not very popular it is the first game to use dual stick controls, a feature ver popular in later games.
  • Namco enters video game market

    Namco enters video game market
    Namco enters the coin oporated arcade machine market by releasing Galaxian. It was the first Arcade machine to fully utalise RGB colour graphics by allowing multi-colour sprites and multi-coloured fonts for text.
  • Microvision handheld video game console released

    Microvision handheld video game console released
    The Microvision handheld video game console was the first hand held console released. It had 13 games released for it and grossed over $15 million in revenue
  • Activision founded

    Activision founded
    Activision became the first independant video game developer, it released cartridges for the Atari 2600 system and would later go on to create the Call of Duty, Guitar Hero and aquire the Warcraft series of games, some of the largest series of games ever.
  • Astoroids released

    Astoroids released
    Astoroids is the most sucessfull Atari game released as well as the most successfull coin machine game to this point. I.t sold over 70,000 arcade machines and has been ported to many consols later on.
  • Space Panic released

    Space Panic released
    Space Panic was a coin operated arcade game which is notable as it is the first platform game released. It was released two years befor Donkey Kong and created a genre that would later be defined by titels such as Mario.
  • Game and Watch cocoles released

    Game and Watch cocoles released
    Game and Watch where a series of hand held video game consoles releaed, they where the first commercial success of the hand held market. The consoles only had enough memory to store one game on per console, in total 60 varients where released. The console was discontinued in 1991 with total revenue of $43.3 million.
  • Pacman released

    Pacman released
    Pacman released as an arcade coin machine, becomes the best selling coin machine of all time, selling over 400,000 units. The game was the first to use power ups or more importantly cut scenes, a trait which became common place in later generation games due to their better graphics
  • Intellivision released by Mattel

    Intellivision released by Mattel
    The Intellivision was released by Mattel as a direct competitor to the Atari 2600 system. Over 3 million units where sold world-wide and 125 games released, however compared to the Atari 2600 it was not as popular. It remains the 3rd video game home entertainment system released.
  • Donkey Kong released

    Donkey Kong released
    Nintendo releases Donkey kong as a coin operated arcade game, this was Nintendo's first commercial success in the video game market and introduced their mascot to the world: Mario
  • Turbo released

    Turbo released
    Turbo a coin operated arcade game released by Sega is noted as being the first racing game released.
  • 005 released

    005 released
    005 was a arcade game released by Sega it is notable as it was the first stealth game released, creating a genre which would later be defined by games such as Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell.
  • Electronic Arts founded

    Electronic Arts founded
    EA entered the video game market during the golden age of arcade machines however did not become a serious market contender untill later in the 5th and 6th generation of games. By 2014 they would become the 3rd biggest video game software developer.
  • Commodore 64 released

    Commodore 64 released
    Commodore 64 released to the public, the computer was not designed only to play games, it was the most powerful home computer system released at the time and because of this the most effecient video game machine. The machine had 64kb of ram and sold over 17 million units worldwide, making it the top selling home entertainment system of it's time.
  • 2nd video game market crash

    2nd video game market crash
    The second economic market collapse occured during 1983 due to the oversaturation of the arcade machine and home entertainment markets. The market shrunk from 3.2 billion dollars per annum to just 100 million dollars per annum, the market would not recover untill 1985
  • Mario Bros released

    Mario Bros released
    The first Mario Bros game was released by Nintendo as a coin operated arcade game. It would later become the best selling video game franchise of all time selling 856 million copies across over 200 games
  • Nintendo Entertainment System released

    Nintendo Entertainment System released
    The NES was the most successfull home entertainment console of its time and is often credited for restoring the video game market after the 2nd crash. The console sold over 61.9 million units and had over 700 different games released for it, because of this it will be remebered as one of the greatest cosoles ever released.
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    3rd generation of video games

  • Karateka released

    Karateka released
    Kerateka was released for the Apple II computer systems, it was later ported to video game consoles such as the Commadore 64 and Atari 7800. The game is notable as helping create the fighting genre of video games and its retroscopic animation was groundbreaking for its time
  • Tetris Created

    Tetris Created
    Tetris was first run on a Elektronika 60 system however it was later popularised by the Game Boy handheld system. It went on to sell over 170 million copies world wide, 100 million of which where on the mobile gaming market making it higgest selling downloadable game ever released.
  • First GPU released in the commadore Amiga console

    First GPU released in the commadore Amiga console
    The first graphics proccessing unit was released in the Commador Amiga computer system. While the computer was not commercially successfull its inclusion of a GPU was notable. GPU's where improved with further releases and became a requirment in playing later generations of video games.
  • Yamaha YM3812 sound card released for IBM computer systems

    Yamaha YM3812 sound card released for IBM computer systems
    The first expandable sound card was released for IBM computer systems, it paved the way for better sound effects and music in video games and many improved versions of sound cards have been released since.
  • VGA connector designed

    VGA connector designed
    The first Video Graphics Array created, this allowed for better quality outputs from home entertainment systems, perviously consoles had used the AV standard.
  • Dance Aerobics released

    Dance Aerobics released
    Dance Aerobics was a game released for the NES, it is notable as creating the rythem genre of games, which would later be defined by titles such as Dance central and Guitar Hero. The genre would be played accross controllers such as dance mats and fake instraments.
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    4th generation of video games

  • First commercially sold LCD television

    First commercially sold LCD television
    Although displays where invented earlier, the first commercially successfull LCD television was developed by Sharp coporation. The displays where expensive at this point in time so where not fully utalised until the end of the 90's
  • Game Boy released

    Game Boy released
    The last 8bit video game console to gain popularity, the Game Boy was the first successfull hand held console.
  • Atari Lynx released

    Atari Lynx released
    The main competitor to Nintendo's handheld monopoly, The atari lynx was considered ahead of its time by many people, it was the first handheld console to have colour visuals and a backlite. The console also featured up to 17 player networking capabilities however due to technical problems and being out sold by the Game Boy the console was considered a failure.
  • Sega Megadrive (Genesis) released

    Sega Megadrive (Genesis) released
    The first commercially successfull 16 bit video game console released to the public. Notable upgrades are from 8 to 16 bit microproccessors, 8 button controllers, 256 on screen colours and 16 bit sounds. The console sold around 40 million units world-wide.
  • SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) released

    SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) released
    The SNES was the most successfull 4th generation console released, the console had 128kb of DRAM, features advanced graphics and sounds and helped to popularise the 3D graphics that where further utalised by the 5th generation of video game consoles. The SNES sold just under 50 million units world-wide.
  • Video CD released

    Video CD released
    Video CD was the first time it was more practical to use optical storage compared to ROM. The first Video CD could store up too 800 MB of data and was the standard used untill the release of DVDs
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    Fifth generation of video games

  • Sony Computer Entertainment enters video game market

    Sony Computer Entertainment enters video game market
    Sony Computer Entertainment enters video game market, they would later go on to create the Playstation series of consoles, the Playstation2 would later become the best selling console of all time.
  • Doom Released

    Doom Released
    The computer game Doom was released for computer systems, while the game did not offer anything new or ground-breaking it did popularize the market and exposed non-gamers to the compueter game market. It remains one of the most iconic games released befor the mellenia.
  • Warcraft series of games starts

    Warcraft series of games starts
    The Warcraft series of games started with the release of Warcraft: Orcs and Humans for MS DOS. The series would later see the most popular MMORPG ever released, World of warcraft.
  • Sega Saturn released

    Sega Saturn released
    The Sega saturn was Sega's last commercially successfull video game system, it was the first console to utalize video CDs as a storage medium and was the first console released in the 32-bit era. More important however was it's limited online capabilities which where ahead of its time and allowed users to connect through their ISP. the Saturn sold over 10 million units world-wide.
  • Playstation released

    Playstation released
    The playstation was one of the highest selling consoles of all time, it is notable for its expandable memoryand sales totaling over 100 million units.
  • Nintendo Virtual boy released

    Nintendo Virtual boy released
    The Nintendo Virtual boy was the first commercial virtual reality helmet release. Often considered before its time the console was a commercial failure and was discontinued the next year.
  • Introduction of the DVD fromat

    Introduction of the DVD fromat
    The introduction of the DVD format saw the phasing out of Rom storage and CD storage, DVD's could store a much larger amount of data, had faster read/write times and was less prone to data loss than CDs.
  • SegaNet released

    SegaNet released
    SegaNet was originally released for the the Sage Saturn but later adapted for the Sega Dreamcast. The system was the first to allow players to connect over the internet and worked by using dial-up to physically call and connect to the other user.
  • Pokemon Green released

    Pokemon Green released
    Pokemon Green was released in Japan for the Game Boy Colour system. The first game in a franchise of games which would go on to become the second biggest video game franchise of all time. The series spawned over 66 games with sales totaling 245 million units.
  • Nintendo 64 released

    Nintendo 64 released
    The Nintendo 64 was the first 64-bit console released to the public. The updated micro-proccessing power allowed for better 3D graphics, rendering and sound emulation. The console still used Rom cartridges which ristricted the size of games it could play when compared to other 5th gen consoles such as the playstation, this alienated developers and they switched their attention to other consoles. The Nintendo 64 sold 33 million units world-wide.
  • Snake installed on Nokia Line of phones

    Snake installed on Nokia Line of phones
    The 1970's arcade game Snake started to be installed onto Nokia line of phones. Starting with the Nokia 6110, this would start a trend of installing games onto phones as "time killers". Many people regard this as the birth of mobile gaming.
  • Grand Theft Auto Released

    Grand Theft Auto Released
    The original Grand Theft Auto was released for PC, PlayStation and Gameboy. The series would go onto become one of the most controversial in the whole of video game history, citing violence and ciminal activty the series is activly boy-cotted by many corperations. Having said this the game Grand Theft Auto 5 would become the top grossing game of all time.
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    6th generation of video games

  • Closure of Atari

    Closure of Atari
    Due to the reletive failure of the the Atari Jaguar and lynx systems, Atari mergerd with JTS-inc which stopped production for new games and started interlectual property focused work. Later Atari was sold to Hasbro which foucoused on re-releasing the classic old games, however no new games
  • Half Life released

    Half Life released
    Half life was released for Microsfot OSx and linux. It remains one of the most iconic games of the generation and was hailed for its use of naritive and story-telling. The game is iconic for also introducing the modding culture with Half life being heavily modded to produce the game Counter-strike
  • Dreamcast Released

    Dreamcast Released
    The Dreamcast would be Sega's last console released, the console introduced full fram rendering to the console market as well as integrated online capabilities and the largest media storage medium of the 5th gen consoles in the from of a 1.2 GB video CD. However due to the oversaturation of the 5th gen market sales of the console where slow and stagnated quickly.
  • Counter-Strike Released

    Counter-Strike Released
    Counter-Strike started life as a Modd for the popular game Half-Life, it is the first case of a game being heavily moddified and gaining commercial success. The modd was displayed and seen by Valve who bought the modd developers on board and released the full game to the public as a download for Microsoft OSx.
  • Microsoft enters video game market

    Microsoft enters video game market
    Microsoft enters the video game market with the announcment of the Xbox console at the game developers conferance, to be released the next year.
  • Playstation 2 released

    Playstation 2 released
    The successor to the Playstation, the Playstation 2 is the best selling console of all time, selling 155 million units. The 64bit console saw the continued development of the 3D enviroment, the move to the DVD format, larger expandable storage (40GB HDD) and improved online capabilites. The console is seen as Sony's best console released.
  • Sega exits the hardware market

    Sega exits the hardware market
    The failure of the Dreamcast console left a defecit in the financial assets of Sega, to prevent the company leaving the video game market compleatly the company under went and re-structuring from a hardware to a software focused company. This is often seen as the end of the 5th generation of video games.
  • Grand Theft Auto III released

    Grand Theft Auto III released
    Grand Theft Auto III brought in a change in the series from top-down to a 3D world enviroment. It wasnt the first game to utalise 3D enviroments but was a mile-stone in developing a 3D world to explore, many later game developers cited GTA 3 as inspiration for developing 3D worlds in different games
  • Xbox Released

    Xbox Released
    The Xbox console was Microsoft's first console launched, its gained commercial success for its smooth 3D rendering and large enviroments, it became a direct competitor to Sony and Nintendo. The console sold 24 million units world wide, which is not a bad number however small in comparison to the Playstation 2's 115 million units sold
  • HDMI cabling standard released

    HDMI cabling standard released
    HDMI cabling was developed and released to the public, it offered high definition pictures to tv display units, it was not properly untalised by video game consoles untill the release of the Xbox 360 and PS3 and HD tv's adopted the standard.
  • Xbox Live launched

    Xbox Live launched
    Xbox Live, while not the first, was the first commercially successfull home entertainment online service. It out compeated SonyNet and Sony's DNAS System. By 2005 the service had over 8 million yearly subscriptions.
  • Steam Game Downloading client released

    Steam Game Downloading client released
    Valve softeare releases Steam as client for gamers using computers, it allowed them to pay for games, download them to the usere's hard drive and play the game offline. Further features where added over the years including DLC, chat function, miltiplayer capabilities , educational versions of the software and gifting capabilities. Today Steam has a active user base of over 75 million and over 3000 games are available to purchase through Steam
  • N-Gage Released

    N-Gage Released
    Nokia realising the popularity of handheld consoles and playing "time-killer" on mobile phones, created the first attempt at a gaming capable phone. The N-Gage was a commercial failure due to poor sales and lacking 3rd party support, however it introduced the concept of mobile phone gaming, something later popularized by apple.
  • Nintendo DS released

    Nintendo DS released
    The DS was Nintendo's new range of handheld consoles would be a direct successor to the GameBoy range of consoles. It allowed you to play GBA games as well as DS games. It also featured duel screens and a upgrade in terms of computing power and quality of games released. The DS series was in direct competition with the PSP series of consoles however due to lower price and better 3rd party support the DS series is often considered the winner.
  • World of Wrcraft released

    World of Wrcraft released
    World of Warcraft is the largest MMORGP available to play, at its hight it had over 14 million monthly subscriptions and has grossed over $10 billion making it the highest grossing (subscrition based) video game of all time.
  • Play Station Portable released

    Play Station Portable released
    The Play Station was released as a direct competitor to Nintendo's monopoly in the handheld market. It was a more powerfull machine and could render full 3D enviroments, something the DS could not. However this came at a cost in the form of a higher price. because of this there was a smaller user base and thus lower 3rd party support. Multiple re-visions of the console where released later on.
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    7th generation of video games

  • Xbox 360 Released

    Xbox 360 Released
    The Xbox 360 was Microsoft's direct successor to the Xbox console, it featured a large upgrade to many core systems such as proccessing power, ram and HDD. The console was more successfull than the Xbox selling over 83 million units world wide, making it the 2nd highest selling console of the 6th generation.
  • PS3 Launched

    PS3 Launched
    The Play Station 3 was Sony's successor to the PS2, it was similar in hardware specs to the Xbox 360 however it featured a Blue Ray player instead of a DVD player.
  • Nintendo Wii released

    Nintendo Wii released
    While Nintendo did release a 5th gen console it is often forgotten when compared to the console ware between Microsoft and Sony. Nintendo's 6th gen console the Wii was a commercial success, hailed for its easy to use gameplay and motion tracking controller the Wii went on to sell over 100 million units.
  • Iphone launched

    Iphone launched
    The Iphone was launched by Apple. while the phone did have app capabilities it was not fully utalised untill the release of the app store for downloading 3rd party applications to run on the phone
  • Apple App Store launched

    Apple App Store launched
    The App Store was launched for use on the 2nd generation iphone and ipod touch devices. this ushered in a new age for mobile gaming as it alowed for application to be quickly downloaded and played on the users device. it also reduced the barriers to entry into the market as it made it easier for independant mobile developers to release content.
  • Andriod OS released for mobile devices

    Andriod OS released for mobile devices
    Google's android OS was in development around the same time as the iphone, however upon seeing the IOS software launched on apple's flagship phone they had to re-design the whole un-announced OS. Once released the Android OS went into direct competition with IOS, by 2014 however Android and its later versions had a 44% market share, being installed on 300 million smart phones.
  • Angry Birds released

    Angry Birds released
    The mobile app Angry Birds was released by Rivio entertainment. it is seen as the first initial success of the mobile app market with the first game in the series being downloaded of 12 million times. Futher releases in the franchise and expansion from IOS into other gaming platforms such as Android OS, Windows OS and Xbox OS has lead the series of games to be downloaded over 2 billion times, making it the most downloaded free game franchise of all time.
  • Rift VR head mounted display invented

    Rift VR head mounted display invented
    Occulus Vr invented the Rift head mounted display in early 2012 with the aim of creating a viable VR product. While the console is still in development today it will hopefully be the first successfull VR console, in compariosn to the Nintendo Virtual Boy.
  • Grand Theft Auto V Released

    Grand Theft Auto V Released
    GTA V was the 5th installment the in line of games by Rockstar. The game continued the themes of open world exploring, violence and gore from earlier games in the franchise however add new feautres such as online play and heavily updated graphics. This lead the game to become the fastest selling entertainment product of all time (not just video games), grossing over $800 million in the first day alone and $1 billion in total over the first 3 days.
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    8th generation of video games