The History of Video Games

  • The (very very) Beginning

    The (very very) Beginning
    Edward U. Condon designs a computer for the Westinghouse display at the World’s Fair that plays the traditional game Nim in which players try to avoid picking up the last match. Tens of thousands of people play it, and the computer wins at least 90% of the games.
  • Chess playing computer

    Chess playing computer
    Claude Shannon lays out the basic guidelines for programming a chess-playing computer in an article, "Programming a Computer for Playing Chess." That same year both he and Englishman Alan Turing create chess programs.
  • Space War!

    Space War!
    The Birth of "Space War!", it wasn't long til this Two Player Space Shooter was spread all of the campus computers at the creator's (Steve Russell) campus.
  • Relase of Oregon Trail

    Relase of Oregon Trail
    Minnesota college students Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul Dillenberger create Oregon Trail, a simulation of pioneers' westward trek. Originally played on a single teletype machine, Rawitsch later brought the game to the Minnesota Educational Computer Consortium (MECC) which distributed it nationally.
  • Start of FIrst Gen. and the Release of the Magnavox Odyssey

    Start of FIrst Gen. and the Release of the Magnavox Odyssey
  • Pong Home Console

    Pong Home Console
    Atari introduces its home version of Pong. Atari's founder, Nolan Bushnell, cannot find any partners in the toy business, so he sells the first units through the Sears Roebuck sporting goods department.
  • Space Invaders Arcade Cabnit

    Space Invaders Arcade Cabnit
    Taito’s Space Invaders descends on Japan, causing a shortage of 100-yen coins. Within a year, 60,000 Space Invaders machines in the United States tempt Americans to spend millions of quarters driving back the seemingly unstoppable ranks of attacking aliens.
  • Pac-Man

    A missing slice of pizza inspires Namco's Toru Iwatani to create Pac-Man, which goes on sale in July 1980. That year a version of Pac-Man for Atari 2600 becomes the first arcade hit to appear on a home console. Two years later, Ms. Pac-Man strikes a blow for gender equality by becoming the best-selling arcade game of all time.
  • NES Release

    NES Release
    The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) revives an ailing United States video game industry two years after the Nintendo Corporation released it in Japan as Famicom.
  • Tetris

    Russian mathematician Alexey Pajitnov creates Tetris, a simple but addictive puzzle game. The game leaks out from behind the Iron Curtain, and four years later, Nintendo bundles it with every new Game Boy.
  • Legend of Zelda

    Legend of Zelda
    It’s a good year for fantasy role-playing games, as Shigeru Miyamoto creates Legend of Zelda, SSI wins the video game license for Dungeons and Dragons, and Sierra's Leisure Suit Larry gives players a different kind of adult role playing game.
  • John Madden's Football

    John Madden's Football
    John Madden Football introduces gridiron realism to computer games, making this game—and its many console sequels—perennial best-sellers.
  • Gameboy

    Nintendo's Game Boy popularizes handheld gaming. Game Boy is not the first handheld system with interchangeable cartridges—Milton Bradley introduced Microvision 10 years earlier—but it charms users with its good game play, ease of use, and long battery life.
  • Bejewled

    Microsoft bundles a video game version of the classic card game solitaire with Windows 3.0. Millions of users who would not normally pick up a game console find they enjoy playing computer games. Solitaire becomes one of the most popular electronic games ever and provides a gaming model for quick, easy-to-play, casual games like Bejeweled.
  • Sonic

    Sega needs an iconic hero for its Genesis (known as Mega Drive in Japan) system and finds it in Sonic the Hedgehog. Gamers, especially in the United States, snap up Sega systems and love the little blue guy's blazing speed and edgy attitude.
  • Mortal Kombat

    Mortal Kombat
    Concern about bloodshed in games such as Mortal Kombat prompts United States Senate hearings on video game violence. The controversy riles the industry and prompts the creation of a video game rating system. Ironically, that same year the game Doom popularizes "first person shooters."
  • Playstation

    Sony releases PlayStation in the United States, selling for $100 less than Sega Saturn. The lower price point, along with the arrival of Nintendo 64 in 1996, weakens Sega's home console business. When Sony PlayStation 2 debuts in 2000, it becomes the dominant home console and Sega exits the home console business.
  • Tomb Raider

    Tomb Raider
    Lara Croft debuts as the star of Eidos's adventure game Tomb Raider. Players love her, but critics charge that she's an example of sexism in video games.
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

    Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
    Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time transports players to the richly imagined world of Hyrule, full of engaging characters, thought-provoking puzzles, and the most memorable musical instrument to ever appear in a video game.
  • Everquest

    Sony Online Entertainment's Everquest leads hundreds of thousands of users to join guilds, fight monsters, and level up in the multiplayer online world of Norrath.
  • The Sims

    The Sims
    Will Wright's The Sims models real life. It is not the first simulation game—Utopia on Intellivision (1982), Peter Molyneaux's Populous (1989), Sid Meier's Civilization (1991), and Wright's own SimCity (1989) preceded it—but it becomes the best-selling computer game ever and the most popular game with female players.
  • Release of the Xbox

    Release of the Xbox
    Microsoft enters the video game market with Xbox and hit games like Halo: Combat Evolved. Four years later, Xbox 360 gains millions of fans with its advanced graphics and seamless online play.
  • Release of Steam

    Release of Steam
    Valve energizes PC gaming with its release of Steam. The digital distribution platform allows players to download, play, and update games.
  • Release of the DS

    Release of the DS
    Nintendo maintains its dominance of the handheld market with the Nintendo DS, an easy-to-use, portable gaming system packed with two processors, two screens, multiplayer capabilities, and a stylus for the touchscreen. Great games like Super Mario Kart DS helped too.
  • Release of the Xbox 360

    Release of the Xbox 360
    Microsoft's Xbox 360 brings high-definition realism to the game market, as well as even better multiplayer competitions on Xbox Live and popular titles such as Alan Wake.
  • Release of the Wii

    Release of the Wii
    Nintendo Wii gets gamers off the couch and moving with innovative, motion-sensitive remotes. Not only does Nintendo make gaming more active, it also appeals to millions of people who never before liked video games.
  • Release of the PS3

    Release of the PS3
    The PlayStation 3 (PS3) is a home video game console produced by Sony Computer Entertainment.
    It is the successor to PlayStation 2, as part of the PlayStation series. It competes with Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles. It was first released on November 11, 2006, in Japan, with international markets following shortly thereafter.
  • Rise of the Mobile Game

    Rise of the Mobile Game
    Social games like Farmville and mobile games like Angry Birds shake up the games industry. Millions of people who never would have considered themselves gamers now while away hours playing games on new platforms like Facebook and the iPhone.
  • Release of Minecraft

    Release of Minecraft
    The indie game movement comes of age with the tremendous popularity of Minecraft, the addictive brick-building game from Swedish developer Markus Persson.
  • Video Games Become Protected by Free Speech

    Video Games Become Protected by Free Speech
    Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association (formerly titled as Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association is a United States Supreme Court case that struck down a California law enacted in 2005 that was intended to ban the sale of certain violent video games to children without parental supervision. In a 7–2 decision, the Court upheld the lower court decisions and nullified the law, ruling that video games were protected speech under the First Amendment as other forms of medi
  • 7th Gen

    Graphics Large increase on how good the graphics look.
    Audio Audio is at its best and is at its pinnacle now that it has the ability to produce soundtrack after soundtrack without space even being a problem.
    Controls Controls at this point are at their prime besides the Wii motion control which at times can be unresponsive.
    Complexity Even more room to add more and more story, gigabits and gigabits of story.
  • Release of the Wii U

    Release of the Wii U
    The Wii U is a video game console from Nintendo and the successor to the Wii. The system was released on these dates: November 18, 2012, in North America; November 30, 2012, in the PAL regions; and on December 8, 2012, in Japan. As the first entry in the eighth generation of video game home consoles, it directly competes with Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One.
  • Release of Xbox One and PS4

    Release of Xbox One and PS4
    The PlayStation 4 is a video game console from Sony Computer Entertainment. Announced as the successor to the PlayStation 3 during a press conference on 20 February 2013, it was launched on 15 November 2013, in North America, and 29 November 2013, in Europe and Australia. It competes with Nintendo's Wii U and Microsoft's Xbox One, as one of the eighth generation of video game consoles.