The History Of Game Consoles

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The History Of Game Consoles

The History of Game Consoles

Video game consoles have been around for a while, but not in such a sophisticated form as they are today. Because the technology for home video game consoles has changed so much over the years, they have been divided up into six generations.

The First Generation of video game consoles would start in 1972. While technically a computer video game had been designed in the 1950s, the game was quite primitive and based on vector displays. In 1972 the first home video console was created that could be connected to a TV. It was invented by Magnavox. The console was called the Magnavox Odyssey and it sold for $100. Few remember the Odyssey because it wasn't as popular as its successor Atari. Atari partnered with Sears and for the same $100 one could try their hand at the new game Pong. Pong was a success and Atari had sales of more than $40 million for Christmas 1975.

Magnavox quickly introduced their version of Pong also in 1975 along with a hockey game in their Odyssey 100. If one wanted extras like onscreen scoring or the ability for up to four players, they would have to purchase the Odyssey 200. This console included the new game Smash.

Many other companies copied the Pong game as General Instruments had designed a Pong-on-a-chip integrated circuit. Competitors included Colesco's Telestar.

Then came video game cartridges, an idea created by Fairchild Camera in 1976. The invention would release the first programmable home video game system. The chip was 8-bit with a microprocessor that displayed 16-color graphics. One could now play a variety of games, rather than just a few. To utilize these new game cartridges, one would have to fork out $169 for the Channel F Video Entertainment System. This didn't include the games which were $20 each. The games looked like the then popular 8-track tapes; due to gamers wanting the next best thing.

In 1977, stores had their hands full of obsolete video game units. Manufacturers of older, obsolete consoles sold their systems at a loss to just get them off the shelves. By the following year, 1978, Fairchild discontinued their video game system.

During this time, in 1978, RCA was also entering into the video game business. While they missed their opportunity to bid on the original Odyssey technology from the early 70s they saw Atari's success and entered the market. The company made the RCA Studio II in 1977, also utilizing the 8-bit COSMAC processor. But people favored the Fairchild system instead. RCA's unit was visually unappealing with its black and white graphics. It also depended on keypad controllers instead of paddles and joysticks. RCA pulled out of the market by 1979.

Other companies still competing in the home game industry included Bally with a Home Library Computer that came out in 1977 and Magnavox. Games were staying somewhat the same throughout the 70s and companies weren't coming up with anything new and exciting. That is until Atari released their arcade hit Space Invaders, in 1980. Space Invaders was such a hit at arcades that Atari created a home version. Huge numbers of new gamers began purchasing home video game units just to play Space Invaders the loved arcade game, within the comfort of their own home.

Once Atari opened the door for games such as this, Second, Third and Future generations of video game systems would be created over the years.

Brandon Snow is a marketing associate at Cash Your Tech where you can sell electronics fast and get top dollar for them. Sell your old electronics, sell iPhone, other cell phones, laptops, or consoles and Cash Your Tech will get you money for your used electronics. For more information please visit

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The History Of Game Consoles