History of the Video Game Console

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When it comes to interesting history, video games take the lead in the category. There have been seven different generations of Video Game consoles, starting with the first, obviously. Computer games started coming out in the 1950’s, but until 1972 they hadn’t been available to a television set. Magnavox then released the first console to connect to a T.V. The “Odyssey” was not as successful as its rival Atari. The game ‘Pong’ forever changed the video game market’s popularity.

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The second generation wasn’t exactly groundbreaking but it did introduce cartridges, which held the information as opposed to acting like a power switch. The VES, Fairchild Video Entertainment System, had a microprocessor which only needed 1 ROM chip to store instructions.

There were a few problems after the second generation; there was a video game crash. Every older company sold their consoles at a loss just to try to break even on their stocks. Only Atari and Magnavox stayed persistent, Atari released Space Invaders which turned out to be the most popular and best selling game anyone had seen yet. There were people buying Atari’s for Space Invaders alone, but it was almost more of a curse than a blessing. People started creating many more games, most of which were cheap and very lame. Atari, wanting to get as much money they could out of the deal started backing every game released for the system. This, both, caused another crash of the market. Many developers went bankrupt, and others discontinued making systems. It wasn’t until 1985 when Japan answered with it monster of a console that they were back in our homes and hearts!

The third generation had its flops as well including the Sega Master System. Nintendo released the Nintendo Entertainment System, which found it’s breakthrough in completely new graphics and sounds. Not to mention an incredible game in, Super Mario Brothers. Selling millions of copies throughout the years and gaining obvious notoriety video games were back!

The fourth generation Sega introduced its response to the NES, changing the failure that was the Mega System. Releasing the Sega Genesis, which had two times the graphics and was the first to introduce CD’s with its add-on the Sega CD. This was the best move Sega had ever done; it was 2 years of solid sales before Nintendo answered with the Super NES.

The fifth generation is when people realized that video games were here forever. With great system’s, while not necessarily successful, there were very powerful consoles and lots of money made. With the Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64 3D was available in games now, and even the flops of this generation were good too the 3DO and Sega Saturn had moderate success with the only downfall being the games too hard to program.

The sixth generation included the Playstation 2 and Xbox. This replaced the Nintendo/Sega battle of old. While both companies releasing systems along with the newcomers, the only partially successful Dreamcast by Sega and the Nintendo Gamecube. The Playstation 2 is the best selling console of all time and still sell copies today. The Xbox had the first way to save without memory cards and allowed music to be played with certain games right off your hard drive. Many improvements were had by all.

The seventh generation is the current generation focusing mostly on online play now. People argue that this has made the stories take big hit. Nothing comparing to Legend of Zelda and Final Fantasy. Although, there hasn’t been any official announcement for the Playstation 4 or Xbox 720 there have been hints that they will release in 2012 or 2013. However you look at video games the consoles have a rich history with much success and equally as much failure.

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History of the Video Game Console, Seekyt
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.