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Brookhaven Laboratory. The experiment demonstrates interactive control of

on-screen game play, though many today do not consider this to have been
a real video game.
1962 The finished version of the mainframe computer game Spacewar! Is
written at MIT. It will later inspire Nolan Bushnell to create Computer Space
1966 Ralph Baer writes a four-page paper describing his ideas for playing
interactive games on ordinary television sets.
1971 The first coin-operated arcade video game, Nolan Bushnells Computer
Space, appears.
1972 Ralph Baers Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game system, is
released. Nolan Bushnells PONG appears in the arcade becoming the first
hit game.
1973 The arcade video game industry takes off, as many companies begin
producing video games, including Chicago Coin, Midway, Ramtek,Taito,
Allied Leisure, and Kee Games, which was secretly owned by Atari.
1974 Kee Gamess Tank is the first game to store graphics data on a ROM
chip. Midways TV Basketball is the first arcade game to use human figures
as avatars, instead of blocks or vehicles.
1975 Midways Gun Fight is the first game to use a microprocessor. Ataris
Steeplechase is the first six-player arcade video game, and Kee Gamess
Indy 800 is the first eight-player game, complete with a steering wheel and
foot pedals for each of eight players (it also used a color
1976 General Instrumentss AY-3-8500 chip is released, which had all the
circuitry necessary for a video game on a single chip. The Fairchild/Zircon

Channel F, the first cartridge-based home game system, is released. Ataris

Night Driver is the first game to simulate a first-person
perspective, though it did not have true 3-D graphics. Ataris Breakout is
1977 The home video game industry suffers its first crash, and many
companies quit the industry. Ataris VCS home console system (later
renamed the 2600) is released. In Japan, Nintendo releases its first home
video game, Color TV Game 6. Kee Gamess arcade game Super Bug
introduces 4-directional scrolling.
1978 Taitos Space Invaders appears and becomes the inspiration for many
vertical shooting games to follow. Ataris arcade game Football introduces 2directional scrolling.
1979 Vectorbeam releases Warrior, the first one-on-one fighting game.
Ataris Asteroids and Lunar Lander, both vector graphics games, are
released. Namcos Galaxian is the first game to have 100 percent of its
graphics in RGB color (a standard used for color video using red, green, and
blue signals). Namcos Puck-Man (later renamed Pac-Man) is released in
1980 Pac-Man is released in North America, and other influential games
Battlezone, Defender also appear. Ataris Battlezone is the first arcade game
to feature a true 3-D environment. Ultima becomes the first home computer
game with 4-directional scrolling. Star Fire is the first
cockpit game, and the first arcade game to feature a high-score table using
players initials.
1981 Nintendos Donkey Kong and Ataris Tempest are released. The United
States arcade game industry reaches $5 billion.
1982 Gottliebs Q*bert is released. Segas arcade game Zaxxon becomes
the first arcade game to be advertised on television. Late in the year, arcade
game income drops, and it appears that another video game industry crash
is coming, one that is larger than the 1977 crash.

1983 The video game industry crash affects the home video game industry.
Nintendos Famicon system is released in Japan. Ataris I, Robot is the first
raster video game with filled-polygon three-dimensional graphics. Ataris
vector game Star Wars is released.
1984 The video game industry crash continues. Nintendo releases the
Famicom system in Japan. RDI releases the Halcyon, a laserdisc-based home
video game system.
1985 Nintendo releases a new version of its Famicon, renamed the Nintendo
Entertainment System (NES), in America. Its popularity helps to bring an end
to the industry crash. Nintendo also releases Super Mario Bros., which
becomes one of the best-selling games of all time. Alex Pajitnov designs
1986 The Legend of Zelda appears (for the Nintendo Famicom), the first in a
long series of Zelda games. Taitos Arkanoid and Bubble Bobble appear in
arcades. Sega releases the Sega Master System (SMS).
1987 Cyans The Manhole becomes the first computer game to be released
on CD-ROM. Yokai Douchuuki, the first 16-bit arcade game, is released in
Japan. LucasArtss Maniac Mansion is the first adventure game with a pointand-click interface. Incentive Software releases Driller, a home computer
game with breakthrough 3-D graphics.Taitos arcade game Double Dragon is
1988 Namcos Assault is released. Williamss NARC is the first game to use a
32-bit processor. Nintendo releases Super Mario Bros. 2.
1989 Atari releases the arcade games Hard Drivin and S.T.U.N. Runner.
Gottliebs Exterminator is the first game to use all digitized imagery for its
backgrounds. Two handheld video game consoles are released: Nintendos
Game Boy and Ataris Lynx. The Sega Genesis home console system

1990 Maxis releases Will Wrights SimCity, the first in a long line of Sim
games. Nintendo releases Super Mario Bros. 3. Sega Game Gear is released
in Japan. Squaresofts Final Fantasy series is introduced to North America.
1991 Nintendo releases the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in
North America. Capcom releases Street Fighter II. Sega releases the home
video game Sonic the Hedgehog, the main character of which would go on
to become Segas mascot. Philips Electronics releases
the CD-i (compact disc interactive) system which uses compact discs.
1992 Midway releases the arcade game Mortal Kombat. Virgin Gamess The
7th Guest is released and becomes the best-selling home computer game.
Sega releases Virtua Racing, a 3-D racing game. id Software releases
Wolfenstein 3D, a 3-D home computer game. Virtuality
releases Dactyl Nightmare, an arcade game with a VR (virtual reality)
headset and gun interface.
1993 Cyans Myst is released and becomes the best-selling home computer
game of all time, a title it will hold until 2002. id Software releases Doom.
The World Wide Web goes worldwide. Sega releases Virtua Fighter, a 3-D
fighting game. New home systems include the Pioneer
LaserActive CLD-A100 and the Atari Jaguar.
1994 Nintendo releases the home game Donkey Kong Country. The Sega
Saturn and the Sony PlayStation are released in Japan. Ernest Adams forms
the Computer Game Developers Association. Blizzard releases the real-time
strategy game Warcraft. Sega releases the arcade game Daytona USA, a
racing game with texture-mapping. SNKs NeoGeo home console system
1995 The Sony PlayStation and Sega Saturn make their North American
debut. Nintendo releases Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddys Kong Quest.
Blizzard releases Warcraft II.
1996 The Nintendo 64 appears in Japan and North America. Nintendo also
releases the Virtual Boy, a portable game system with a separate screen for
each eye which when combined creates a three-dimensional image. Digipen

Institute of Technology becomes the first school to offer college degrees in

video game development.
1997 The Nintendo 64 is released in Europe and Australia. DreamWorks,
Sega, and Universal open the first GameWorks arcade in Seattle. Bandais
Tamagotchi appears. Cyans Riven, the sequel to Myst, appears. Sega
releases Top Skater, an arcade game with a skateboard interface. Nintendo
releases Mario Kart 64. The MMORPG Ultima Online begins.
1998 Konami releases Dance Dance Revolution and the first games in its
Beatmania series and GuitarFreaks series. The Nintendo Game Boy Color
appears. Sierra Studios releases Half-Life. SNK releases the NeoGeo Pocket
handheld video game system. Rockstar Games releases Grand Theft Auto.
1999 The Sega Dreamcast is released. The MMORPG EverQuest begins.
Nintendo releases Donkey Kong 64. The Game Developers Conference holds
the first Independent Games Festival. Tony Hawks Pro Skater is released.
The MMORPG Asherons Call begins.
2000 Sonys PlayStation 2 appears. Nintendo sells its 100 millionth Game
Boy console. Maxiss The Sims is released. The United States Post Office
issues a stamp depicting video games.
2001 Microsofts Xbox and the Nintendo GameCube appear. MidwayGames
leaves the arcade video game industry. Bungie Studioss Halo: Combat
Evolved appears. Sega announces that it will no longer develop home video
game consoles
2002 The Sims overtakes Myst, and becomes the best-selling home
computer game of all time. The MMORPG Sims Online begins. Sega releases
Rez for the PlayStation 2. Microsofts Xbox Live online gaming service
2003 The MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies begins. Nintendo stops production of
the NES and SNES. Ataris Enter the Matrix is released. Cell phone company
Nokia releases the N-Gage handheld video game system.

2004 Sony releases the PlayStation Portable in Japan, and the PlayStation 2
in China. Nintendo releases the Nintendo DS (dual screen) handheld video
game system. Bungie releases Halo 2.
2005 Sony releases the PlayStation Portable in North America. Nintendo
releases the Game Boy Micro. Microsoft releases the Xbox 360. Tiger
Telematics releases the Gizmondo in England and North America. The Sims
appears on postage stamps in France.
2006 The Nintendo Wii and Sonys PlayStation 3 are released. Microsoft
releases the Xbox 360 in Australia.
2007 The MMORPG World of Warcraft is estimated to have more than 9
million players worldwide.
1940 - For the Westinghouse display at the World's Fair, Edward U. Condon
designs a computer that plays the traditional game Nim in which players try
to avoid picking up the last matchstick. Tens of thousands of people play it,
and the computer wins at least 90% of the games.
1947 Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann file a patent for a
"cathode ray tube amusement device." Their game, which uses a cathode
ray tube hooked to an oscilloscope display, challenges players to fire a gun
at a target.
1950 - Claude Shannon lays out the basic guidelines for programming a
chess-playing computer in an article, "Programming a Computer for Playing
Chess." That same year both he and Englishman Alan Turing create chess
1952 - A. S. Douglass creates OXO (a game known as noughts and crosses in
the United Kingdom and tic-tac-toe in the United States) on Cambridge's
EDSAC computer as part of his research on human-computer interactions.
1954 - Programmers at New Mexico's Los Alamos laboratories, the birthplace
of the atomic bomb, develop the first blackjack program on an IBM-701
1955 - The long tradition of military wargaming enters the computer age
when the U.S. military designs Hutspiel, in which Red and Blue players
(representing NATO and Soviet commanders) wage war.
1956 - Arthur Samuel demonstrates his computer checkers program, written
on an IBM-701, on national television. Six years later the program defeats a
checkers master.
1957 - Alex Bernstein writes the first complete computer chess program on
an IBM-704 computera program advanced enough to evaluate four halfmoves ahead.
1958 - Willy Higinbotham creates a tennis game on an oscilloscope and
analog computer for public demonstration at Brookhaven National
Laboratory in 1958. Although dismantled two years later and largely
forgotten, it anticipated later video games such as Pong.
1959 - Students at MIT create Mouse in the Maze on MIT's TX-0 computer.
Users first draw a maze with a light pen, then a mouse navigates the
labyrinth searching for cheese. In a revised version, a bibulous mouse seeks
out martinis yet still somehow remembers the path it took.
1960 - Computer programmer John Burgeson stays home sick from work at
IBM and begins developing a computer baseball simulation. A month later
(in January 1961), aided by his brother Paul, John runs this first-known
baseball computer program on an IBM 1620 computer.

1961 - he Raytheon Company develops a computer simulation of global Cold

War conflict for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Although it is sophisticated and
even models the benefits of arms control, the simulation proves too complex
for users unfamiliar with computers, so Raytheon creates a more accessible
analog version called "Grand Strategy."
1962 - MIT student Steve Russell invents Spacewar!, the first computerbased video game. Over the following decade, the game spreads to
computers across the country.
1963 - Months after the Cuban Missile Crisis, the U.S. Defense Department
completes a computer war game known as STAGE (Simulation of Total
Atomic Global Exchange) which "shows" that the United States would defeat
the Soviet Union in a thermonuclear war.
1964 - Everyone is a programmer. That's the creed of Dartmouth's John
Kemeny who creates the computer time-share system and BASIC
programming language at Dartmouth. Both make it easy for students to
write computer games. Soon, countless games are being created.
1965 - A day after Dartmouth defeats Princeton 2814 in football to win the
Ivy League championship, a Dartmouth student programs the first computer
football game. Earlier that year, John Kemeny and Keith Bellairs had created
the first computer game in BASIC.
1966 - While waiting for a colleague at a New York City bus station, Ralph
Baer conceives the idea of playing a video game on television. On
September 1, he writes down his ideas that become the basis of his
development of television video games.
1967 - Ralph Baer develops his "Brown Box", the video game prototype that
lets users play tennis and other games.
1968 - Ralph Baer patents his interactive television game. Four years later
Magnavox releases Odyssey, the first home video game system, based on
his designs.
1970 - Scientific American publishes the rules for LIFE in Martin Gardner's
"Mathematical Games" column. In this simulation, isolated or overcrowded
cells die, while others live and reproduce. Hackers rush to implement it on
their computers, watching beautiful patterns emerge and change.
1971 - Minnesota college students Don Rawitsch, Bill Heinemann, and Paul
Dillenberger create Oregon Trail, a simulation of pioneers' westward trek.
Originally played on a single teletype machine, Rawitsch later brought the
game to the Minnesota Educational Computer Consortium (MECC) which
distributed it nationally.
1972 - Nolan Bushnell and Al Alcorn of Atari develop an arcade table tennis
game. When they test it in Andy Capps Tavern in Sunnyvale, California, it

stops working. Why? Because people played it so much it jammed with

quarters. Pong, an arcade legend, is born.
1973 - A year after launching the first general computer magazine, Creative
Computing, David Ahl publishes 101 BASIC Computer Games, allowing
gamers to become an ancient Sumerian king in HMRABI, find the creatures
hiding in a grid in MUGWMP, and command the North versus the South in
1974 - Two decades before Doom, Maze Wars introduces the first-person
shooter by taking players into a labyrinth of passages made from wire-frame

1975 - Atari introduces its home version of Pong. Atari's founder, Nolan
Bushnell, cannot find any partners in the toy business, so he sells the first
units through the Sears Roebuck sporting goods department.
1976 - Don Woods's version of the pioneering text-based game, Adventure
(first created by William Crowther in 1975), plunges players into an
imaginary world of caves with treasures. Inspired by Dungeons and Dragons,
it paves the way for Zork and thousands of other computer role-playing
1977 - Atari releases the Video Computer System, more commonly known as
Atari 2600. Featuring a joystick, interchangeable cartridges, games in color,
and switches for selecting games and setting difficulty levels, it makes
millions of Americans home video game players.
1978 - Taito's Space Invaders descends on Japan, causing a shortage of 100yen coins. Within a year, 60,000 Space Invaders machines in the United
States tempt Americans to spend millions of quarters driving back the
seemingly unstoppable ranks of attacking aliens.
1979 - Toy-maker Mattel supplements its handheld electronic games with a
new console, the Intellivision. Intellivision has better graphics and more
sophisticated controls than Atari 2600, and players love its sports games.
Mattel sells three million Intellivision units.
1980 - A missing slice of pizza inspires Namcos Toru Iwatani to create PacMan, which goes on sale in July 1980. That year a version of Pac-Man for
Atari 2600 becomes the first arcade hit to appear on a home console. Two
years later, Ms. Pac-Man strikes a blow for gender equality by becoming the
best-selling arcade game of all time.
1981 - Video game fans go ape over Nintendos Donkey Kong, featuring a
character that would become world-famous: Jumpman. Never heard of him?
Thats because hes better known as Mariothe name he took when his
creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, makes him the star of a later game by Nintendo.

1982 - Disney taps into the video game craze by releasing the movie Tron.
An arcade game featuring many of the contests from the movie also
becomes a hit.
1983 - Multiplayer play takes a huge step forward with Dan Bunten's
M.U.L.E. In the game, players compete to gather the most resources while
saving their colony on the planet of Irata.
1984 -Russian mathematician Alexey Pajitnov creates Tetris, a simple but
addictive puzzle game. The game leaks out from behind the Iron Curtain,
and four years later, Nintendo bundles it with every new Game Boy.
1985 - The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) revives an ailing United
States video game industry two years after the Nintendo Corporation
released it in Japan as Famicom.
1986 - The
ROMs in the

emerging educational software market leaps ahead with the

of The Learning Company's Reader Rabbit program. The
computer business mushrooms with the introduction of CD1990s, but crashes with the rise of the Internet.

1987 - It's a good year for fantasy Role Playing Games, as Shigeru Miyamoto
creates Legend of Zelda, SSI wins the video game license for Dungeons and
Dragons, and Sierra's Leisure Suit Larry gives players a different kind of
adult role playing game.
1988 - John Madden Football introduces gridiron realism to computer games,
making this gameand its many console sequelsperennial best-sellers.
1989 - Nintendo's Game Boy popularizes handheld gaming. Game Boy is not
the first handheld system with interchangeable cartridgesMilton Bradley
introduced Microvision 10 years earlierbut it charms users with its good
game play, ease of use, and long battery life.
1990 - Microsoft bundles a video game version of the classic card game
solitaire with Windows 3.0. Millions of users who would not normally pick up
a game console find they enjoy playing computer games. Solitaire becomes
one of the most popular electronic games ever and provides a gaming
model for quick, easy-to-play, casual games like Bejeweled
1991 - Sega needs an iconic hero for its Genesis (known as Mega Drive in
Japan) system and finds it in Sonic the Hedgehog. Gamers, especially in the
United States, snap up Sega systems and love the little blue guy's blazing
speed and edgy attitude.
1992 - Westwood Studios' Dune II establishes the popularity of real-time
strategy games that require players to act as military leaders deploying
their resources and forces on the fly in order to defeat opponents.

1993 - Concern about bloodshed in games such as Mortal Kombat prompts

United States Senate hearings on video game violence. The controversy
riles the industry and prompts the creation of a video game rating system.
Ironically, that same year the game Doom popularizes "first person
1994 - Blizzard releases Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, a real-time strategy
game that introduces millions of players to the legendary world of Azeroth.
1995 - Sony releases PlayStation in the United States, selling for $100 less
than Sega Saturn. The lower price point, along with the arrival of Nintendo
64 in 1996, weakens Sega's home console business. When Sony PlayStation
2 debuts in 2000, it becomes the dominant home console and Sega exits the
home console business.
1996 - Lara Croft debuts as the star of Eidos's adventure game Tomb Raider.
Players love her, but critics charge that she's an example of sexism in video
1997 - Machine triumphs over man as IBM's supercomputer chess program
Deep Blue defeats world champion Gary Kasparov in a match.
1998 - Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time transports players to the richly
imagined world of Hyrule, full of engaging characters, thought-provoking
puzzles, and the most memorable musical instrument to ever appear in a
video game.

1999 - Sony Online Entertainment's Everquest leads hundreds of thousands

of users to join guilds, fight monsters, and level up in the multiplayer online
world of Norrath.
2000 - Will Wright's The Sims models real life. It is not the first simulation
gameUtopia on Intellivision (1982), Peter Molyneaux's Populous (1989),
Sid Meieris Civilization (1991), and Wrightis own SimCity (1989) preceded it
but it becomes the best-selling computer game ever and the most popular
game with female players.
2001 - Microsoft enters the video game market with Xbox and hit games like
Halo: Combat Evolved. Four years later, Xbox 360 gains millions of fans with
its advanced graphics and seamless online play.
2002- The U.S. Army releases America's Army video game to help recruit
and communicate with a new generation of electronic gamers, and the
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars launches the Serious
Games Initiative to encourage the development of games that address
policy and management issues.
2003 - Valve energizes PC gaming with its release of Steam. The digital
distribution platform allows players to download, play, and update games.

2004 - Nintendo maintains its dominance of the handheld market with the
Nintendo DS, an easy-to-use, portable gaming system packed with two
processors, two screens, multiplayer capabilities, and a stylus for the
touchscreen. Great games like Super Mario Kart DS helped too.
2005 - Microsoft's Xbox 360 brings high-definition realism to the game
market, as well as even better multiplayer competitions on Xbox Live and
popular titles such as Alan Wake.
2006 - Nintendo Wii gets gamers off the couch and moving with innovative,
motion-sensitive remotes. Not only does Nintendo make gaming more
active, it also appeals to millions of people who never before liked video
2007 - Grab your guitar, microphone, bass, or drums, and start playing Rock
Band. That's what millions of would-be musicians did with Harmonix's hit
2008 - More than 10 million worldwide subscribers make World of Warcraft
the most popular massively multiplayer online (MMO) game. MMOs create
entire virtual universes for players and redefine how we play, learn, and
relate to each other.
2009 - Social games like Farmville and mobile games like Angry Birds shake
up the games industry. Millions of people who never would have considered
themselves gamers now while away hours playing games on new platforms
like Facebook and the iPhone.
2010 - The indie game movement comes of age with the tremendous
popularity of Minecraft, the addictive brick-building game from Swedish
developer Markus Persson.

2011 - Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure becomes the first augmented-reality

hit by letting players place plastic figures on a Portal of Power to zap
characters into the game. Two years later Disney Infinity joins the ranks of
toy-video game hybrids. (Infinity)
2012 - Crowdfunding site Kickstarter enables game creators to raise millions
of dollars to produce new and experimental play platforms such as the OUYA
console and the Oculus Rift.
2013 - Gone Home, The Last of Us, and Papers, Please usher in a new wave
of mature video game stories that confront players with tough emotional
2014 - "Free-to-play" becomes a dominant business model as blockbusters
like CrossFire, League of Legends, World of Tanks, and even Kim Kardashian:

Hollywood achieve sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars through

microtransaction payments for in-game items and premium content.

1958 Physicist Willy Higinbotham invents the first "video game" at the
Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. His game, a table
tennis-like game, was played on an oscilloscope.
1961 Steve Russell, a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT), creates Spacewar, the first interactive computer game. It runs on a
Digital PDP-1 mainframe computer, and the graphics are made up of ASCII
text characters.
1966 Ralph Baer, an engineer at Sanders Associates, receives support
from his company (a military electronics consulting firm in NH) to explore his
idea of creating interactive games using a television.
1967 Baer and team are successful in creating two interactive TV games
a chase game and a tennis game. They are also able to manipulate a toy
gun so that it detects spots of light on the TV screen.
1970 Magnavox licenses Baer's TV game from Sanders Associates. | Nolan
Bushnell and Ted Dabney (future founders of Atari) begin their attempt to
create an arcade version of Spacewar, calling it Computer Space.
1971 Computer Space becomes first video arcade game ever released.
1500 games are distributed. Public consensus is that it is too difficult to play.
1972 April 25. A U.S. patent is issued to Ralph Baer for "A Television
Gaming Apparatus and Method" | May 24. Magnavox's Odyssey, the first
home video game system, is showcased at a convention in Burlingame, CA,
and is released to the public later that year. | Bushnell and Dabney found
Atari. They name the company after a term from the Japanese game "Go".
"Atari" is equivalent to "check" in a chess game. | Al Alcorn is hired by Atari
to program video games. The first game created by Atari is Pong. Ping-Pong,
the original name, is already copyrighted, so the makers name it Pong after
the sound of a ball hitting the paddle.
1975 Atari's Pong is released with help from Sears Roebuck, which
finances the production of 150,000 units. It becomes the hottest selling
Christmas present. Sears sells the product exclusively, with the Sears TeleGames logo. Gunfight, the first "computer" game is released. It is the first
game to use a microprocessor instead of hardwired solid-state circuits.
1976 Coleco releases its first home video-game console called Telstar.
Fairfield Camera & Instrument debuts its Video Entertainment System which
is known later as Channel F. The first programmable (cartridge-based) home
game console, it allowed users to change games by switching cartridges
that resembled 8-track audio tapes.

1977 Atari introduces its first cartridge-based home video system called
the Video Computer System which later becomes known as the Atari 2600.
It retails for $249.95.
1978 The trackball makes its entrance into the video-game industry as the
controller in Atari's new arcade game Football. Midway introduces Space
Invaders into arcades. It is the first arcade game that tracks and displays
high scores. Atari attempts to enter the computer industry to compete with
Apple. The product is not taken seriously, and the Atari 400 and 800 are
taken from the market.
1979 Atari develops a handheld console that displays holograms. Named
"Cosmos," this product was never released. Asteroids is the first game to
allow high scorers to enter three character initials to be stored in the
1980 Mattel's Intelivision debuts and is the first real competitor of the Atari
2600. It has better graphics than Atari's 2600, but a higher retail price
($299). | Activision becomes the first third-party video game vendor. The
company is created by Atari programmers who want to receive individual
credit for creating Atari's video games. | Battlezone is first 3-D game ever
created. It is set in a virtual battlefield and was later enhanced by the U.S.
government for training exercises. | 300,000 units of Pac-Man are released
worldwide by Namco. | Defender, the first game incorporating a "virtual
world" is introduced. The game uses a "radar" scope at the top of the screen
to inform users of the surroundings since the screen is too small to display
all of the action.
1981 Arnie Katz and Bill Kunkel found the first video-game magazine,
Electronic Games.
1982 Atari releases the Atari 5200 to compete with Coleco's Colecovision.
1983 Cinematronics debuts Rick Dyer's Dragon Lair, the first video game
to feature laser-disc technology. | The Commodore 64 is introduced. It is the
most powerful video-game console to date and the least expensive. |
Nintendo introduces the Famicom in Japanlater known as the Nintendo
Entertainment System (NES) in the U.S. Since Atari controls such a large
percentage of the market, they do not plan to market the product in the U.S.
Instead the company offers Atari the rights to distribute the product in the
U.S. These plans fall through and Americans do not see Nintendo until 1985.
1985 The popular game Tetris is developed by Russian programmer Alex
Pajitnov. It is played on a PC.
1986 Nintendo's NES is released in the U.S. after being test-marketed in
NY one year earlier. | To compete with the NES, Sega introduces the Sega
Master System (SMS). | Atari releases the Atari 7800 to stay competitive in
the market.

1989 Nintendo releases the handheld Game Boy for $109. | NEC releases
the first 16-bit console in the U.S. It is called the TurboGrafx-16 and sold for
$189. It is the first system to run video games stored on compact discs. |
The true arcade experience comes into American homes when Sega debuts
the Genesis, its first 16-bit home game console, for $249.95. | Atari tries to
enter the handheld market with the Lynx, a color handheld console retailing
for $149.
1991 Super NES is released in the U.S. by Nintendo for $249.95.
1993 Atari releases the Jaguar, attempting to be the first 64-bit console on
the market. The product actually runs two 32-bit processors. | Senators
Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Herbert Kohl of Wisconsin launch a
Senate investigation into violence in video games, hoping to initiate a ban
on violent games.
1994 Resulting from the Senate investigation, the Entertainment Software
Rating Board is created. Rating are now given to video games and are
marked on the games' packaging to indicate the suggested age of players
and violent content. | In Japan, the Sega Saturn and the Sony PlayStation
make their debut.
1995 Sony brings the PlayStation to the U.S. and sells the console for
$299. | Nintendo releases the Nintendo 64 in Japan (it's released in the U.S.
in 1996).
1996 Arcades focus on bringing in more "ride-and-video" games like skiing,
snowboarding, and Jet Skiing, as their popularity has surpassed the
popularity of shooting and fighting games. | Atari's founder, Nolan Bushnell,
reenters the industry making Internet stations for arcades and bars. | The
Tamagotchi virtual pet becomes an instant sensation in Japan. It is released
in the U.S. in May of that year selling all of its 30,000-unit supply in 3 days.
1997 PlayStation is considered by many in the industry as most popular
game console as the 20 millionth unit is sold. | Tiger introduces a
multipurpose handheld console to compete with the Game Boy. Called, it features games, an address book, calculator, and stylus for
touchscreen capability. It also connects to a PC modem for access to email. |
Arizona attempts to restrict the distribution of violent video games by
making it illegal to display or distribute violent material to minors. The
proposed bill is not approved.
1998 Sega introduces the Dreamcast in Japan. This console operates on
Microsoft Windows CE which will allow for easier conversions between
Dreamcast and PC games. | The Wal-Mart retail chain decides to ban over 50
video games that it deems inappropriate for minors.
1999 Billy Mitchell attains a score of 3,333,360 in the game Pac-Man. This
is the highest possible score a player can get. | As a result of the shootings
that occurred at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, Sega

announces that it will not release a light gun with the Dreamcast in the U.S.
In addition, it prevents use of imported guns with American consoles, which
forces the Americans to use standard controllers to play the popular House
of the Dead 2.
2000 Sony's PlayStation 2 launches in the U.S. for $299.99 and is sold out
by early morning. Since the demand is so high and only 500,000 units are
available, it is very difficult to buy a unit during this first shipment. | The
Sims is released, and quickly becomes a hit. It eventually (in 2002)
surpasses Myst as the best-selling PC game ever.
2001 Microsoft and Nintendo introduce their next-generation systems
within days of each other. Microsoft claims its Xbox offers "the most
powerful game experiences ever." The product (estimated retail price of
$299.99) comes with a built-in hard drive and Ethernet port. Nintendo's
GameCube (suggested retail price of $199.95) delivers new forms of
interactive gaming for players and an easier development environment for
game creators. | Sega announces that it will no longer manufacture
hardware. | Nintendo releases the GameBoy Advance, a portable gaming
2004 Nintendo releases the Nintendo DS, a portable system with two
screens, one of which can be used as a touch screen.
2005 Sony releases the PSP, a portable system with a large, highresolution display. | Microsoft unveils the XBox 360, a console system to be
released in November 2005. Sony and Nintendo's competing console
systems are planned for release in 2006.
2006 Nintendo releases the Wii, a gaming system that lets gamers use the
controller in revolutionary ways, such as swinging it like a tennis racket,
holding and tilting it like a steering wheel, and more. | Sony also debuts the
Playstation 3, a very sophisticated and expensive game system.
2007 Nintendo releases Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii. It continues the
adventures of Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach as they face their old foe
2008 Grand Theft Auto 4 breaks sales records its first week after gamers
bought more than 6 million copies. | The Wii Fit is launched, adding even
more incentive for gamers of all ages to get up and move! | Social gaming
takes shape with Farmville and Angry Birds, enthralling millions of new
players. Facebook and cellphones allow easy access to these addictive
games. | With over 40 million units sold, Nintendo's Wii Sports becomes the
best-selling video game of all time. The previous record holder was another
Nintendo game: Super Mario Bros.
2010 New motion control systems--Sony's PlayStation Move and Microsoft
Kinect--let players interact in a more immersive way, doing away with
controllers and letting players use their bodies instead.

2011 Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim showcases the beauty, majesty, and

massiveness of video games as players explore a seemingly endless,
beautifully rendered fantasy world.
2013 Both Sony (PlayStation 4) and Microsoft (XBox One) release new
gaming platforms this year. Offering social connection through "next
generation cooperative and competitive multiplayer play," these systems
offer amazing graphics and speed.
2014 Microsoft acquires Mojang and its immensely popular indie brickbuilding game, Minecraft, which Swedish creator Markus Persson debuted in
2009. Purchase price is $2.5 billion.

The History of Video Games
Video game history reaches back to games using early computers, and
progresses forward into who knows what. A brief video game timeline:
1958 - Creation of "Ping pong" tennis on an oscilloscope screen by William
Higinbotham at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
1961 - Development of Spacewar on a PDP-1 at MIT for the Science Open
1972 - The first commercially available home videogame for TV was
launched, called Odyssey - complex, with many electronic components, and
very expensive.
1972 - Nolan Bushnell forms Atari to develop games, and produces Pong, a
simple tennis game for arcades.
1974 - Atari produce a home version of Pong.
1974 - Nintendo, a Japanese toy manufacturer produce an electronic version
of the Japanese game "Go".
1978 - Space Invaders is released by Tatio, and two micro computers are
released for commercial sale - the Commodore PET and the Atari.

1980 - Pacman is released in Japan, to be played on a micro home computer.

1983 - Nintendo release their first computer, and Mario is released at the
same time.
1985 - Nintendo release the NES
1989 - First hand held machine from Nintendo, called "Game Boy". Tetris is
produced for the Game Boy in Russia.
1989 - Sega releases the Sega Genesis
1991 - Sonic is produced by Sega in response to Nintendo's Mario.
1994 - Sony releases the PlayStation in Japan
1996 - Nintendo releases the Nintendo 64
1999 - Dreamcast - 128 bit processor - is released in the UK.
2001 - PlayStation 2 is released.
2001 - In September, Nintendo releases the Gamecube
2001 - In November, Microsoft enters the console market with the Xbox.
Halo is released at launch, boosting sales.

2005 - In November, Microsoft releases the Xbox 360

2006 - In April, Nintendo releases the Wii
2006 - In November, Sony releases the PlayStation 3
2009 - In April, Nintendo releases the Nintendo DSI
2011 - In March, Nintendo releases the 3DS
2012 - In February, Sony releases the PS Vita
2012 - In November, Nintendo releases the Wii U
2013 - In November, Sony releases the PS4
2013 - In November, Microsoft releases the Xbox One
The video game timeline begins to reveal how video gaming has become a
part of our culture, and video game history will continue to be created over
the next years