Timeline: [History of Video Games]

Updated: May 15, 2019

Anybody over the age of thirty can see how far technology has evolved. From the first cellular call from a mobile phone to the modern day super computer we hold in our hands that is called the iPhone. Examples of the technological evolution are all around us. Perhaps one of the best examples (and the most fun) is a timeline of the history of video games. Remember the original Pong? What about Tertris or Space Invaders? How about Ms. Pacman? It's undeniable that video games are part of culture (considering that video games are a multi-billion dollar industry). So let's take a look at how far we have come.


1958: A physicist by the name of William Higinbotham is most often credited with creating the first video game. It was a very simple tennis game, similar to what became known as Pong. Mr. Higinbotham is better known for his work elsewhere as he was also a member of the team who developed the first nuclear bomb.


1961: A group of MIT students led by Steve Russell, programmed a game they called Spacewar specifically on the brand new (considered such at the time) computer; it is considered to have been the first computer game. The game consisted of two users playing against each other both controlling a spacecraft capable of firing missiles whilst a star in the center of the screen created large hazards for the crafts that were supposed to be avoided. This game ultimately leads to further development of interactive games such as target shooting and table tennis later in the 1960s.


1972: The first home video game system, called Magnavox Odyssey, is released with 28 games built into the system. One of these games ultimately leads to the game Pong being created on the Atari. The Magnavox Odyssey system sold 100,000 units by the end of 1972 and a total of 350,000 units till the year 1975 when the console was discontinued. Officially beginning the video game revolution, and the start of generation one video game consoles.


1975: Atari launched a home version of Pong that was wildly popular


1977: Atari releases the Atari 2600 a home console that featured joysticks and interchangeable game cartridges that played multi-colored games


Early 1980s: Classic games such as Ms. Pacman, Centipede, Duck Hunt, Donkey Kong, Frogger, Tetris and Mario Bros. are released.


1986: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) a Japanese product, hits the market in the United States.


1989: Handheld consoles come into play with the introduction of the Nintendo Gameboy


1994: Age Ratings become a requirement on video games being sold in the U.S.


Mid 1990s: Sony PlayStation and Nintendo 64 consoles are released in the U.S.


Early 2000s: Sony PlayStation 2, Microsoft Xbox and Nintendo Gamecube are released in the U.S.


Mid 2000s: Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii are released in the U.S.


Today: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One and Nintendo Switch are the most popular consoles in the U.S.



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