The History of First Video Game Consoles


Video games have come a long way since their early days, when the screen was only in black and white and there were no home consoles. But those early systems are still well-known, and it’s important to understand their history and influence. For example, did you know that Nintendo has been around since 1972? Or that Atari’s first console was released in 1977? Or that Commodore 64 came out in 1982 and sold over 30 million units?

Nintendo (1972-1984)

Nintendo was founded in 1889 as a card manufacturer. In 1956, they started producing toys and then changed their name to Nintendo Playing Card Co., Ltd.

In the 1970s, they began to produce electronic games by themselves. The first console was a black and white handheld called the “Nintendo Color TV Game.” It had simple games like tennis and baseball but it was very successful at the time because people could play it anywhere: on car trips or waiting for appointments at doctors’ offices.

In 1983, Nintendo released another console called the Famicom (Family Computer). This was followed by an upgraded version in 1984 that became known as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The NES became an instant hit with gamers everywhere when it launched in 1985 because of its colorful graphics and exciting gameplay which made it feel more like an arcade experience than ever before!

Atari (1977-1982)

Atari was founded in 1972, and their first video game console released in 1977. The Atari 2600 was a revolutionary system, as it introduced the concept of controllers with joysticks that could be used to play games like Space Invaders and Super Breakout. In 1978, Atari was also the first company to release a cartridge-based gaming system—a major improvement over other systems at the time, which used flimsy paper tape or cassette tape media for storage.

Atari’s real legacy is found not only in their innovations but also their willingness to take risks that others were unwilling to attempt at the time. They are responsible for creating many iconic titles such as Asteroids (1979), Missile Command (1980) and Pac-Man (1981), but perhaps none more important than Adventure—the very first game with a female protagonist!

Colecovision (1982)

Colecovision was the first 16-bit console and released in 1982. It was designed by Coleco Industries, who also designed the Atari 2600 and Intellivision. The company wanted to compete with Mattel’s Intellivision, so they decided to make a console with better graphics and more games available.

The original model of Colecovision was released at $200 while competing consoles such as Atari 5200 cost between $150-$175 depending on if you bought it or rented it from a store like Toys R Us. It had 64k of RAM for storing game data which made it very powerful when compared to other systems at that time.

Intellivision (1980)

The Intellivision was the first console to feature a microprocessor and it was also the first to use a cartridge. It featured a digital sound processor, making it the first console that could play recorded sounds and music. The Intellivision was also one of the first consoles with an on-screen display (or OSD) – it used a digital video processor to display graphics on its screen.

The Intellivision had great games like Astrosmash, Tron Deadly Discs, RBI Baseball and many more!

Commodore 64 (1982-1985)

The Commodore 64 is a home computer released in 1982. It has a 64K RAM, a 3.5 inch floppy disk drive and the 1541 disk drive. The Commodore 64 has 64 colors, 64 sprites, 63 columns/characters and 63 registers for use as variables in programming languages such as BASIC or Assembly languages like 6502 assembly language which was used to write games like “Pac-Man” and “Space Invaders”.

The Commodore 64 architecture uses 64 bit computing where each bit can be either on (1) or off (0).

The term “64 bit” is used when describing the number of bits in an architecture or computing environment that operates on 512-bit words instead of 32 bit words found with most modern PCs today (which operate on 4 byte instructions per instruction cycle).

When looking at the history of video game consoles, you have to consider the impact of each on the industry as a whole.

The history of video game consoles is a long and interesting one. The first console was the Magnavox Odyssey, which was released in 1972 and used games stored on cartridges. The first console that could be played by more than one person at once was the Atari 2600, released in 1977; this system featured joysticks as controllers (which had been invented by Ralph Baer around 1967).

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) came out soon after this, creating an industry standard for games with cartridges that held multiple games inside them. This meant that you could switch between different games quickly and easily without having to go through complicated setup processes every time you wanted to play something new!


I hope you enjoyed reading this blog entry about the history of some of the first games and consoles. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me via email at [email protected]

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