Player Up: Video Game History
10 artifacts in this set
Pong, a simple video Ping-Pong game, started in 1972 as an early and incredibly popular arcade game. Manufacturer Atari, under its legendary co-founder Nolan Bushnell, released a home version of the game through Sears in 1975. One of the first successful home video games, Pong paved the way for this new leisure activity for kids and adults.
In the 1970s, video game consoles allowed the general public to play games on a television at home. Before consoles, games were available mainly on coin-operated machines in arcades. These early home video games consisted of simple graphics and were limited to those preloaded on the console. This Tele-Match console came with five games, including "Tennis," a Pong-like game.
Mattel released its home video game console, Intellivision, in 1980. With a 16-bit microprocessor, an industry first, Intellivision outshone its competitors with more advanced graphics and a versatile color palette. The Mattel product also introduced downloadable games and, later, synthesized speech. Intellivision was a hit. By 1982 over two million units had been sold.
The Nintendo Entertainment System catalyzed the revival of home video game consoles in the United States. While the US was recovering from the "Video Game Crash of 1983," the acclaimed "Famicom" system was released in Japan. When adapted for North American markets as the NES in 1985, sales skyrocketed. Nintendo reinvigorated gaming, establishing rigorous quality standards, game testing, and debugging.
The OUYA is a home video game console that was designed with the "indie gamer" in mind. Users can download games for play, but the system's most unique feature is its integrated game development software. The console is innovative for creating a level playing field where games by award-winning professionals compete for popularity alongside those of independent game designers.
Sony's PlayStation became a driving force in the home video game market. Released in the U. S. in 1995, PlayStation adopted compact disc rather than using the then-standard cartridges to create the gaming experience. A CD's increased storage space opened up a larger, virtual 3-D world to explore. Gamers approved and over 100 million original PlayStation consoles were sold.
While children and gamers remain the core users of mobile gaming devices, this Nintendo DS Lite "Personal Trainer" game was marketed to a more mainstream American audience. Instead of organizing falling blocks, collecting coins or fighting evil, this cartridge bundle helped the user choose tonight's menu, organize the grocery list and cook a healthy meal.
Video Game, "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," Recovered from Landfill, Alamogordo, New Mexico, April 26, 2014, Site of the Atari Video Game Burial of 1983
In 1983, rumors circulated: Atari was bankrupt, and was dumping truckloads of games into a New Mexico landfill. Victim to the "Video Game Crash," the company buried 700,000 cartridges in the desert. The story became an obscure pop culture legend -- until "The Atari Tomb" was unearthed in 2014. This recovered cartridge is evidence of the world's first video game excavation.
Released in 1989, Nintendo's innovative Game Boy adapted existing technologies and transformed the gaming industry. Though not the first handheld system, the Game Boy provided quality graphics, interchangeable game cartridges and an addictive pre-packaged game (Tetris) stuffed into a lightweight device. The portable Game Boy freed gamers from video game consoles and busy arcades.
The Atari 2600 "Black Vader" was the company's most popular console system, produced for 14 years. It marks a transitional period -- the last console produced by Atari before the "Video Game Crash of 1983." This collapse occurred due a flooded market, the rise of personal computers as gaming systems, and highly anticipated (but poor quality) games like "E.T." and "Pac-Man."