History of Video Games
Video games have been around since the early 1970s. The first commercial arcade video game, Computer Space by Nutting Associates, was introduced in 1971. In 1972, Atari introduced Pong to the arcades. Nolan Bushnell, the man who developed Computer Space, formed Atari. He left Nutting Associates to found Atari, which then produced Pong, the first truly successful commercial arcade video game.
That same year, Magnavox offered the first home video game system. Dubbed the Odyssey, it did not even have a microprocessor! The core of the system was a board with about four-dozen transistors and diodes. The Odyssey was very limited — it could only produce very simple graphics, and required that custom plastic overlays be taped over the television screen. In 1975, Atari introduced a home version of its popular arcade game, Pong. Sears carried and exclusively sold the original home version of Pong. Pong was a phenomenal success, opening the door to the future of home video games.
Although the Fairchild Channel F, released in 1976, was the first true removable game system, Atari once again had the first such system to be a commercial success. Introduced in 1977 as the Atari Video Computer System(VCS), the 2600 used removable cartridges, allowing a multitude of games to be played using the same hardware.
The NES introduced three very important concepts to the video game system industry:
- Using a pad controller instead of a joystick
- Creating authentic reproductions of arcade video games for the home system
- Using the hardware as a loss leader by aggressively pricing it, then making a profit on the games themselves
Nintendo’s strategy paid off, and the NES sparked a revival in the home video game market that continues to thrive and expand even now. No longer were home video game systems looked upon as inferior imitations of arcade machines. New games that would have been impractical to create for commercial systems, such as Legend of Zelda, were developed for the home markets. These games enticed many people who had not thought about buying a home video game system before to purchase the NES.
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