What was the first video game system

Video game history

The video game console has been around for over 30 years. A look back at the development and pioneering of this medium should not be uninteresting.

It was a British high-performance computer that was able to display the first graphic computer game OXO (Tic Tac Toe) in 1952. A game we all know was played here with 3 × 3 fields and required 2 players. 6 years later you could marvel at the first video game system, which consisted of a simple computer with a small screen. With the game Tennis for Two you could see a tennis field from the side with simple lines. With 2 small controllers with a button and wheel you could hit the ball and set angles.

Tennis for Two

In 1972 the video game Pong came on the market with the new Atari. The console on which the now well-known game was stored sold millions of copies. It was also Atari who in 1977 brought the first video game console to the people that could display different games with interchangeable modules. The VCS (Video Computer System) 2600 was born. However, the 8-bit console was almost out of date when it was released, but it became a box-office hit in the Christmas season of '79. Over a thousand titles appeared for Atari's new console, including well-known titles such as Pac-Man, Pitfall or Asteroids, and so the console sold around 30 million times by the mid-80s, making it a pioneer in the video game sector.

Pong, Pacman and Pitfall

Then as now, of course, others wanted to participate in the great success and so the 16-bit Intellivision console from the US toy manufacturer Mattel appeared at the end of the 70s. With twice as much computing power as the competition and the widely advertised range of games, the console was able to position itself in the industry, but still remained far behind with only 3 million copies sold. When a keyboard extension was announced in 1982, which However, had major development problems, Mattel had to pay a daily fine of 10,000 US dollars to the trade commission, which then meant the absolute end of the company.

Nevertheless, Atari should not remain without competition and so Coleco brought ColecoVision, their powerful and progressive console onto the market in 1982, which should leave nothing to be desired in terms of games offerings. For the first time, the well-known slot machine games could be played at home true to the original. Nintendo also made the first breakthrough here with the cult game Donkey Kong in which the famous plumber appeared for the first time and is now traveling the galaxies. Certainly the steering wheel with pedals for racing games also contributed to the console's good sales figures and so ColecoVision sold over 6 million times in just 2 years. With the introduction of the home computer in 1983, where you could work and play, this company soon went bankrupt.

Mario's first appearance (at that time still Jumpman) - Donkey Kong

In 1982, after a lost court order, Atari had to allow third-party manufacturers to develop games for their successful VCS 2600. This brought a wave of bad games onto the market and so many games had to be sent back as slow-moving games , which led to bankruptcies. Probably the most famous game for this example was E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial of which Atari had over 5 million poor conversions produced. The resulting poor image of video games and the cheaper games for home computers (Video Game Crash) only survived one manufacturer: Nintendo with the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) released in 1983.

Nintendo focused on quality and so the NES became the greatest success in video game history with 60 million units sold. The then innovative and high-quality game Super Mario Bros alone sold over 40 million times. Nintendo became the market leader and created the basis for many successful series. Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy and Metroid, among others. It was not until 2 years later, in 1985, that Sega came out with its Master System in response to the NES.

Nintendo's throne

However, despite the more powerful console, Sega had problems establishing the new console. It had only achieved market leadership in Brazil, where it is still produced and successfully sold today. Expectations fell behind worldwide and only 13 million copies were sold, as opposed to 60 million Nintendo consoles sold. In the beginning, Sega also lacked good games. After many new characters, the blue hedgehog Sonic was only able to establish itself as the official mascot in 1991.

Sega did not want to let Nintendo's success sit on them and so they launched a second attack in 1988 with the outstanding 16-bit console Sega Mega Drive. The games should be more colorful and faster. Also, in contrast to Nintendo's family-friendly console (the NES was known in Japan as Famicom, which comes from Family Computer), they tried to reach new players and relied on aggressiveness with games like Shinobi and Sonic the Hedgehog. Despite the good quality, the console was only able to establish itself again in Brazil and Europe and remained far behind with the others. Sega was able to sell 30 million copies and thus remained her greatest success.

Two years later, in 1990, Nintendo's counter-initiative appeared on Sega's Mega Drive, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, or Super Nintendo (SNES) for short. It was criticized because of the 8-bit that was clocked up to 16, which should initially be used because of a planned downward compatibility with the NES. However, this feature could not prevail in the final version. Nevertheless, Nintendo celebrated a greater success than its competitor, which was certainly also due to the well-selling sequels of the NES. Super Mario World, Super Metroid, Street Fighter II and Final Fantasy were all very popular titles, with the latter selling over 50 million copies.
When Sega then introduced a Maga Drive System with compact discs (CD), Nintendo probably made its biggest mistake in the company's history. They also decided together with Sony to develop a CD extension for the Super Nintendo. However, there were license disputes and both decided to end the collaboration. From Sony's new knowledge, the globally successful game console emerged later: the Playstation

In 1989 Nintendo created the portable console market out of the Game & Watch series, which appeared in 1982. Whereby only one game was possible at a time, with the new Game Boy you could play a large selection of games. Clever marketing, low production costs and the Russian game Tetris, which was initially included, contributed to the success of 200 million copies sold. Here, too, Nintendo's popular series continued. In the handheld area, new paths emerged that I do not want to go into further here.

Donkey Kong on the Game & Watch, Game Boy and Super Metroid

Where you had to be satisfied with Nintendo and Sega on the European market until 1994, completely different consoles appeared in Japan, but they never made it here. In 1987 NEC released its PC engine game console, a console that delighted critics and gamers alike. The classic R-Type machine implemented for the console was praised for its excellent playability and fidelity to the original. The Stone Age mascot Bonk was also very popular. In the early 1990s, SNK's NeoGeo, another very hyped console, appeared in Japan. Equipped with the best technology at the time, it was able to conjure up games in machine quality. She showed her skills with beating and shooter games like Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, Samurai Shodown or Last Resort. However, a game cost as much as the entire Super Nintendo console and was therefore intended for the elite class.

Last Resort on NeoGeo

Atari also tried its last attempt to date in 1993. However, you had problems with your 64-bit Jaguar console right from the start. Due to the weak processor, they forced the developers not to overtax their console. The range of games left a lot to be desired and the console quickly fell to its knees. Games were only developed now and then for a small fan base. It was similar with the 3DO from Panasonic, which was graphically very progressive and for the first time allowed real film sequences with actors to flow into their games. These actors weren't free, of course, and so the few games were too expensive for most of them. With the Playstation released in 1994, she no longer had a chance to stay afloat.

NEC's PC engine and the mascot Bonk

It was also Sony's 32-bit console with CD drive that overthrew Nintendo. With 1000 times more storage capacity, millions of displayable colors, 3D effects and better sound, it was far superior to the Super Nintendo. With the introduction of the CD, the range of games was enormous for that time. Adult series like Resident Evil, Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy continued to make us successful, so the console has sold over 100 million times in 12 years.

Nintendo's greatest competitor was born. It is clear that Nintendo and Sega did not leave it at that.

Nintendo and Playstation

In the same year as the Playstation, Sega's 32-bit console, the Saturn, appeared. During the development, however, details of the Playstation leaked out and Sega decided to revise its console again and thus brought it to the market early. Despite excellent technology and advertising campaigns, it was again the high price and lack of games that put off buyers. The developers criticized the overly complicated development of the games and so they only sold just under 10 million times.

Nintendo also announced a new console back in 1993, but it wasn't until 1996 that it finally appeared. The long-awaited Nintendo 64 was criticized for sticking to modules, although they had no problems with loading times and pirated copies, but the storage medium was much smaller as a result. Despite a new feel through the integrated joystick and excellent, high-quality games such as Super Mario 64 and 2 parts of the Legend of Zelda series, which set new standards, it was not a great success with 33 million consoles sold and so production was stopped in 2001.

In 1998 Sega's last console should appear: the Dreamcast. The sales start for the 64-bit console went great, 600,000 pre-orders, 1 million consoles sold in the first few weeks. However, when Sony announced the Playstation 2, sales fell rapidly and Sega had to stop production as early as 2001. After only selling 10 million copies, they withdrew from manufacturing video game consoles altogether. Only in Japan is the Dreamcast still produced today and die-hard fans continue to program games on an open source basis for their consoles.

Sony thus remained the market leader and so the Playstation 2 followed on from its predecessor. Due to the backward compatibility, the improved technology and the flood of games, it sold up to 130 million times. Over 65 million games have appeared, including games like Singstar, which appealed to a different class of buyers for the first time. Grand Theft Auto was the most successful series on Sony's new Playstation.

Now Nintendo also parted with the modules and launched the Game Cube in 2001 with the 8mm CDisks. Despite high quality games, as one was used to from Nintendo, they couldn't really convince the third-party manufacturers to develop many titles for their console. With 22 million copies, they did well, but didn't come close to Sony's Playstation 2.

Computer gamers had a large selection of games, but they always had to be installed first. If the computer wasn't too weak then you could start. Too tedious for video game fans. Microsoft thought so too and stowed computer hardware in a box. The first Xbox was born and appeared on the American market in 2001 and on the European and Asian markets in 2002. Of course, the Playstation 2 had become a lot cheaper in the meantime, forcing Microsoft to lower the price of their console and so by 2005 they lost $ 4 billion. With the popular first-person shooter Halo 2, Xbox owners around the world were able to play online with Xbox Live, which among other things led to 24 million consoles sold.

In 2005 Microsoft opened the current seventh generation of consoles with the Xbox 360. With Xbox Live you could now not only gamble online but also download demos and updates online. You could also admire your own photos, videos and music on the console. It has already been sold over 19 million times, with Halo 3 again being one of the most popular titles with 8 million games sold. Despite the large selection of games, they posted losses due to hardware problems and high production costs.

Nintendo controllers of different generations


The Playstation 3, which was released in November 2006 and is a high-quality further development of its predecessor, also made losses. In addition, like the Xbox360, it can handle many formats and relies on more power. Sony's Playstation 3 also contributed to the introduction of the new Blueray discs, which meant even more storage capacity and, with the right television set, better image resolution. Despite the free Playstation Network in return for Xbox Live, the console was only able to sell 14 million times in 2 years due to the lack of games and high costs. Because of the excessive risk of the third-party manufacturers, many planned exclusive titles have now also appeared for the competition. Sony described the console's situation as "slightly catastrophic".

Instead of relying on computing power and better graphics, Nintendo tried to take a different path with its Wii console, which was released at the end of 2006. "Active movement" was the new motto and so the controller recognized three-dimensional movements in space and simply pointing to the television was a welcome change. While gaming on the TV didn't look any better with Wii Sports, it was all the more fun before that. Nintendo also appealed to a new target group with Wii Fit and its new type of scales, which are now also supposed to recognize the balance of the body, and so the Wii sold more than twice as much as Sony's Playstation 3 in 2007. Third- party manufacturers also seemed to buy Nintendo again and so they have regained the throne in the seventh generation of consoles.

Mario Bros, Super Mario World, Mario 64, and Mario Galaxy


However, every good one also has a downside and while many of the Playstation 3 are upset about the price, which has dropped somewhat in the meantime, and the lack of games, it is the core gamers at Nintendo who are dissatisfied with the many bad games from third-party manufacturers are. Even if popular series with Super Mario Galaxy, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Metroid Prime 3 Corruption were continued, Nintendo seems to focus more on casual gamers with many games.

How the whole thing will develop, however, whether Nintendo will keep the throne now or whether Sony got it right with their increasingly popular Blu-Ray player, will only be found later in video game history. When we have learned one thing: firstly, it always happens differently, and secondly, than you think!