Atari, Nintendo, XBox – Celebrate National Video Games Day
Today is National Video Games Day and what better way to celebrate than to brush up on some gaming history.
Arcades-Videogames really got their biggest start with arcade halls, which quickly became a hub of competition and socialization.
Home Computers- While dedicated consoles are billed as the best place to play games, personal computers have always maintained a die-hard gaming fanbase. That base only continues to grow as PC gaming has exploded tremendously in the age of digital distribution, e-sports and livestreaming.
Atari 2600-One of the first truly popular home consoles, the Atari 2600 is instantly recognizable. Kids of the 80s loved playing Astroids and Pacman on this one.
NES-During the early 1980s, the market for videogames crashed as quality plummeted. Along came a toy company called Nintendo that produced the Nintendo Entertainment System. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Sega Master System-It was too long before Nintendo found itself battling a new competitor in the form of Sega. The Master System focused on preserving the feel of arcade gaming, and its success would lead to one of the fiercest console wars of all time.
Gameboy-But not before Gameboy fever spread across the world in the form of addictive games like Tetris and Pokemon Red and Blue versions. The Gameboy was the first truly successful portable game console because it married quality content, durability and battery life in an affordable package.
Sega Genesis-The Genesis, also known as the Mega Drive, was released around the turn of the 1990s. It came bundled with a blue hedgehog named Sonic-the console wars were at an all-time high.
SNES-Not to be outdone, Nintendo released a competitor, aptly named the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. To this day, the SNES is home to some of gaming’s all time classics like Super Metroid, Chrono Trigger and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
Playstation-During the mid-90s, the CD was taking off as the medium of choice. Sony jumped at the opportunity to produce a videogame console that read CDs after a deal between Nintendo and Phillips fell through. The Playstation has become an iconic symbol of videogames ever since.
Sega Saturn-With new competition on the market, Sega was feeling the heat. They released the Saturn, which was criticized for its apparent difficulties with 3D graphics. Never the less, the Saturn had some classic 2D shooters and pseudo-3D platformers to its name.
Nintendo 64-Nintendo used cartridges in the N64, which was seen as quite the limitation. However, the cartridge format didn’t prevent the console from carrying some of the greatest games of all time.
Gameboy Color-This bright update to the original Gameboy brought color displays and a few little games called Pokemon Gold and Silver.
Sega Dreamcast-The Dreamcast was Sega’s swan song in the console market. It launched a little over 15 years ago and Sega put all their effort into creating some truly memorable games for the system. Although it was discontinued only a few years after release, the memories of games like Shenmue, Crazy Taxi, Jet Set Radio and Power Stone live on.
Playstation 2-The follow-up to the original Playstation is also the best-selling home console of all time. The Playstation 2 married media capabilities and gameplay in a way that no console had done before.
Gameboy Advance-The Gameboy came roaring back stronger than ever, and Nintendo once again claimed dominance over the handheld market.
Nintendo Gamecube-Nintendo went with another alternative media format with small discs instead of the standard DVDs. This restricted many 3rd party game development, but Gamecube games like Super Smash Bros Melee remain extremely relevant to players today.
Xbox-Halo. Halo. Halo. Need I say more? And although the Sega Dreamcast was the first to fully integrate online gaming into a console, it was Microsoft’s Xbox Live service that made playing games online an experience worth paying for again and again.
Steam-Developer Valve launched Steam in 2003, and it is now the most popular digital distribution and publishing platform for PC games. Steam has become almost entirely synonymous with PC gaming.
Wii-Internally codenamed Revolution, the Wii was a pop culture craze. It introduced motion controlled gaming to the masses and sold more than 100 million units. But its weak graphical power compared to competitors meant that developers aside from Nintendo slowly stopped supporting it with big games.
Smartphones-In the midst of the console wars, Apple launched the iPhone, and subsequently, the App Store. Both announcements rocked the gaming world. Suddenly, everyone had a computer in their pockets at all times and gaming on the go was easier and cheaper than ever.
Obviously there are plenty more video game consoles and mechanisms we could mention, but if you want more history, check out the Video Games History Museum.