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Violent Video Games

  • First "Video Game"

    First "Video Game"
    The first “video game” is invented by Physicist Willy Higinbotham in Upton, New York. The game was a table tennis-like game played on an oscilloscope.
  • Spacewar

    Steve Russell creates Spacewar, which was the first interactive computer game. It was ran on a Digital PDP-1 mainframe computer and had graphics made in ASCII text characters.
  • Ralph Baer

    Ralph Baer
    Ralph Baer and his team create two interactive TV games, which were a chase game and a tennis game. They also manipulated a toy gun to detect spots of light on the TV screen.
  • Computer Space

    Computer Space
    Nolan Bushnell and Ted Daney began their attempt to create an arcade version of Spacewar known as Computer Space.
  • Computer Space

    Computer Space
    Computer Space is the first video arcade game released. The public claimed it was too difficult to play.
  • Odyssey

    Magnavox’s Odyssey is the first home video game system released to the public.
  • Pong

    Atari hired Al Alcorn and within the year, Pong was the first game Atari created. Since Ping-Pong was already copyrighted, the company changed the name to Pong for it was the sound of the ball hitting the paddle.
  • Atari

    Nolan Bushnell and Ted Daney founded Atari, which is a term from the Japanese game “Go” and had an equivalent meaning to “check” in a chess game.
  • Gunfight

    Gunfight, the first "computer" game is released. It is the first game to use a microprocessor instead of hardwired solid-state circuits.
  • Video Entertainment System

    Fairfield Camera & Instrument debuts its Video Entertainment System which is known later as Channel F. The first programmable (cartridge-based) home game console, it allowed users to change games by switching cartridges that resembled 8-track audio tapes.
  • Space Invaders

    Space Invaders
    Midway introduces Space Invaders into arcades. It is the first arcade game that tracks and displays high scores. Atari attempts to enter the computer industry to compete with Apple. The product is not taken seriously, and the Atari 400 and 800 are taken from the market.
  • Pac Man

    Pac Man
    300,000 units of Pac-Man are released worldwide by Namco. Pac-Man is an arcade game developed by Namco and licensed for distribution in the United States by Midway, first released in Japan on May 22, 1980
  • Battlezone

    Battlezone is first 3-D game ever created. It is set in a virtual battlefield and was later enhanced by the U.S. government for training exercises.
  • Tetris

    The popular game Tetris is developed by Russian programmer Alex Pajitnov in the Soviet Union. It is played on a PC.
  • Sega Genesis

    Sega Genesis
    The true arcade experience comes into American homes when Sega debuts the Genesis, its first 16-bit home game console, for $249.95.
  • Game Boy

    Game Boy
    Nintendo releases the handheld Game Boy for $109.
  • Atari Lynx

    Atari Lynx
    Atari tries to enter the handheld market with the Lynx, a color handheld console retailing for $149.
  • Ban on Violent Video Games

    Ban on Violent Video Games
    Senators Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Herbert Kohl of Wisconsin launch a Senate investigation into violence in video games, hoping to initiate a ban on violent games. Public outcry on violent video games prompts Congress to hold a hearing to regulate the sale of violent video games.
  • Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) established

    Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) established
    Resulting from the Senate investigation, the Entertainment Software Rating Board is created. Rating are now given to video games and are marked on the games' packaging to indicate the suggested age of players and violent content.
  • Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation

    Sega Saturn and Sony PlayStation
    In Japan, the Sega Saturn and the Sony PlayStation make their debut.
  • Nintendo 64

    Nintendo 64
    Nintendo releases the Nintendo 64 in Japan (it's released in the U.S. In 1996).
  • Sony PlayStation

    Sony PlayStation
    Sony brings the PlayStation to the U.S. and sells the console for $299.
  • "Ride-and-video" Games Popularity Soars

    "Ride-and-video" Games Popularity Soars
    Arcades focus on bringing in more "ride-and-video" games like skiing, snowboarding, and Jet Skiing, as their popularity has surpassed the popularity of shooting and fighting games.
  • Arizone attempts to restrict violent video games

    Arizona attempts to restrict the distribution of violent video games by making it illegal to display or distribute violent material to minors. The proposed bill is not approved.
  • Wal-Mart Ban

    Wal-Mart Ban
    The Wal-Mart retail chain decides to ban over 50 video games that it deems inappropriate for minors.
  • Sega Dreamcast

    Sega Dreamcast
    Sega introduces the Dreamcast in Japan. This console operates on Microsoft Windows CE which will allow for easier conversions between Dreamcast and PC games.
  • Shooting Alerts Gamers

    Shooting Alerts Gamers
    As a result of the shootings that occurred at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, Sega announces that it will not release a light gun with the Dreamcast in the U.S. In addition, it prevents use of imported guns with American consoles, which forces the Americans to use standard controllers to play the popular House of the Dead 2.
  • Clinton tries to create a bill against M or AO games

    Clinton tries to create a bill against M or AO games
    New York senator Hillary Clinton introduces a bill to criminalize selling M or AO rated games to minors; the bill died in committee at the end of the 109th congress.
  • California criminalizes M or AO games for minors.

    California criminalizes M or AO games for minors.
    California criminalizes selling M or AO to minors. The law was stricken down in 2009 by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • ESRB monitors retailers

    ESRB monitors retailers
    ESRB retail council was created to monitor retailers partnered with ESRB and make sure they follow ESRB’s rules to not sell M or AO rated games to minors. They would do mystery shops twice a year to see how easy a child could by an M or AO game for each retailer.
  • Grand Theft Auto

    Grand Theft Auto
    Grand Theft Auto 4 breaks sales records its first week after gamers bought more than 6 million copies.
  • Wii Fit

    Wii Fit
    The Wii Fit is launched, adding even more incentive for gamers of all ages to get up and move!