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An introduction to the origins and history of video games first introduced in the 1970s

The first commercial arcade video game, Computer Space by Nutting Associates, was introduced in 1971. In 1972, Atari introduced Pong to the arcades.

How Video Game Systems Work

An interesting item to note is that Atari was formed by Nolan Bushnell, the man who developed Computer Space. He left Nutting Associates to found Atari, which then produced Pong, the first truly successful commercial arcade video game. This content is not compatible on this device.

Pong was a great hit when it came out. Move your cursor to get the slides to bounce back the moving square -- it will speed up as you progress.

The 1970s: The Rise of the 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. The original home version of Pong was sold exclusively through Sears, and even carried the Sears logo.

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  • An important step in the mainstream acceptance of personal computer games was the development of the first-person shooter genre.

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 VCSthe 2600 used removable cartridges, allowing a multitude of games to be played using the same hardware. The hardware in the 2600 was quite sophisticated at the time, although it seems incredibly simple now. MOS 6502 microprocessor Stella, a custom graphics chip that controlled the synchronization to the TV and all other video processing tasks 128 bytes of RAM 4-kilobyte ROM-based game cartridges The chips were attached to a small printed circuit board PCB that also connected to the joystick ports, cartridge connector, power supply and video output.

Games consisted of software encoded on ROM chips and housed in plastic cartridges. These contacts seated into a plug on the console's main board when a cartridge was plugged into the system.

A History of Video Game Music

When power was supplied to the system, it would sense the presence of the ROM and load the game software into memory. Systems like the Atari 2600, its descendant, the 5200, Coleco's ColecoVision and Mattel's IntelliVision helped to generate interest in home video games for a few years.

But interest began to wane because the quality of the home product lagged far behind arcade standards. 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.

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  • Solitaire becomes one of the most popular electronic games ever and provides a gaming model for quick, easy-to-play, casual games like Bejeweled;
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  • Consider the ominous ambient sounds of survival horror titles like Resident Evil, which compound the tension as you happen upon those relentless zombies chewing up your Alpha Team comrades;
  • More advanced handheld systems, such as the Atari Lynx and Sega Game Gear, could not compete with the Game Boy despite their superior graphics and color displays Hutsko, 2000.

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.

10.2 The Evolution of Electronic Games

Nintendo continued to develop and introduce new game consoles. Other companies, such as Sega and Sony, created their own home video game systems. Let's look at the core parts of any current video game system.