This is a little article I wrote on the history of video game consoles. Keep in mind that I was really bored and I hadn't gotten a lot of sleep lately but anyway, enjoy.
Feel free to fix any grammatical errors that I make and if you have anything to say you know where to go.
The Article[edit | edit source]
You're familiar with video games today right? yeah they're awesome, but how did they get this awesome? and how did they get here in the first place.
Well to tell you that I'm going to have to give you a brief history lesson.
In the year 1961 a college student named Steve Russell made the worlds first video game on a DEC PDP-1 mini-computer. The game he made was called Spacewar! and you can probably imagine how it worked, two spaceships shooting at each other.
Not many people played this game however, because these computers were incredibly expensive at the time, and they were huge.
But the people didn't have to worry because a man named Ralph Baer who had graduated with a bachelor of science degree from the American Television Institute of Technology got an idea to create video games that people could play on their television screens.
That little experiment was called the Magnavox Odyssey and was first demonstrated at the Magnavox conference on may 24th 1972, little did the world know that a man named Nolan Bushwell was at that conference, but more on him later.
The console was officially released in August of 1972, making it the first home video game console. The console didn't sell very well and it was probably because of bad advertising, the advertisements only showed people playing the console on Magnavox TV's making them think that you couldn't play it otherwise.
Another little thing that made the Odyssey sell badly was that a few months later, a little company named Atari which was founded by a man named Nolan Bushwell (remember him?) created a little arcade game called Pong.
Pong was an instant hit, making more money a week than any arcade game before it. Atari eventually try'd to make more arcade games but most of them were just failures.
Nolan Bushwell then got the idea to make a home console similar to the Odyssey, but with actual games, removable controllers that now had joysticks and changeable game cartridges.
And thus the Atari 2600 was born. This little console would prove to be another hit. But soon there was competition because a year before the 2600's release, Fairchild Semiconductor had released the Fairchild Channel F, and a year later Magnavox released the Magnavox Odyssey2. Then along came the Intellivision, Vectrex, Emerson Arcadia 2001, ColecoVision, Bally Astrocade and the Sega SG-1000. So Atari decided to upgrade the 2600 by making the Atari 5200, a console that would prove to be such an utter failure that the 2600 proved to be the superior console.
Then Atari decided to release a video game called E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. A video game version of a movie of the same name. This game was declared so bad that it alone was the cause of the video game crash of 1983.
Then along came a little Japanese playing card company named Nintendo and created the Nintendo Family Computer, or Famicom. This console proved to be such a major hit in Japan that they decided to bring it over to the US. The US market denied the offer saying that they were done with video games and didn't want to see anything like it. So the Japanese got an idea, they decided to change the look of the Famicom to a box shape and colored it gray and black since the original white and red may have looked too "Fisher Price-y" for the Americans. Then they decided to give it a robot called Rob the robot who was supposed to help you with two player games. This marketing technique proved successful and Americans all over were buying the Famicom, which was renamed the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES for short.
But like the previous consoles there was competition, as Sega decided to go back into the console market with the Sega Master System and even Atari went back in the game and released the Atari 7800. But ultimately, the NES was the superior.
Lets fast forward to the year 1988, the NES was being praised with millions of fans all around the world when Sega found out that the Master System wasn't doing so well compared. So they decided to release a new console called the Sega Mega Drive, renamed Sega Genesis in North America. This console was getting more and more buyers and it wasn't long until the Mega Drive was the superior. Nintendo then got the idea that it was time to upgrade the NES to compete with Sega. And thus the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (also known as the SNES and Super Nintendo) was released in 1990. There were other consoles too like the TurboGrafx-16 and the Neo Geo but those were just chilling in the back and watching the success of the Super Nintendo and the Sega Mega Drive.
At this point, the companies also wanted to make video game consoles that you could travel with. Nintendo created the Game Boy, Atari made the Atari Lynx, Sega came with the Sega Game Gear, and there was also the TurboExpress. But eventually, the Game Boy proved to be the superior.
Sega wanted to keep the Mega Drive alive for as long as possible and thus created the Sega CD, an attachment for the Mega Drive that would play games on CD's. Although this proved to be a huge failure, they decided to make another attachment called the Sega 32x, This was supposed to feature 32-bit graphics as opposed to the 16-bit Mega Drive and Super Nintendo. Sega also planed a new console that was to be called the Sega Neptune, but the idea was scrapped in favor of the 32x. Nintendo was also responsible for making attachments to their consoles, in 1995 they released an attachment called the Satellaview, proving to be Nintendo's first failure and was only released in Japan.
The fifth generation was bound to happen eventually and it brought with it tons of new and exciting video game consoles. For starters this was the generation that brought video games up to full 3D graphics and introduced successful CD rom usage. It all started when Nintendo wanted to make another attachment to the Super Nintendo. They wanted to make it a CD based system similar to the Sega CD. They eventually went to a little Television company named Sony and asked them for help on a CD based attachment. A man named Ken Kutaragi was interested in the idea, but Nintendo didn't know if they could trust Sony and went behind their backs to another electronics company named Phillips. This eventually led to the making of the Phillips CD-i which was such a failure that Nintendo erased every evidence that they had anything to with it. But the executives at Sony were displeased with this betrayal and went on their own to create the Sony PlayStation. Nintendo didn't know what to do at this point so they decided to make one more cartridge based system. That system was named the Nintendo 64 and was the last system to use cartridges. Atari also made a console for this generation, they named it the Atari Jaguar which proved to be such a failure at the time that Atari never made another home video game console again. Sega also pitched in with the Sega Saturn, which didn't really prove to be as successful as the Nintendo 64 or the PlayStation.
This generation also housed a number of handheld consoles, Nintendo upgraded the Game Boy by making the Game Boy Color. Sega made the Sega Nomad, a portable Mega Drive and Bandai made the WonderSwan which was exclusive to Japan.
In 1998, Sega though it would be a good idea to upgrade the Saturn, this led to the creation of the Sega Dreamcast which would become known as Sega's final video game console. Sony followed in their footsteps and created the PlayStation 2 and eventually Nintendo followed as well and made the Nintendo GameCube. A new challenger arrived, Microsoft, after being known for their famous Windows Personal Computers they decided to join the console market with the XBox. The PlayStation 2 proved to be most successful and today (2010) it is the only one of the four consoles that hasn't been discontinued.
This time Nintendo was the only one to contribute to the handheld market with the Game Boy Advance and later upgraded it to the Game Boy Advance SP.
In 2005, Microsoft made the XBox 360, an upgrade to the XBox with improved graphics and internet access. Sony knew that this day would come eventually and started working on the PlayStation 3, which was released in November of 2006, Nintendo also released the Nintendo Wii only eight days after the PS3's release. The Wii came with a motion sensor that detected the movement of the conroller, which Nintendo proudly call's "The Wiimote".
Nintendo also decided to upgrade the Game Boy Advance by creating the Nintendo DS, DS standing for Dual Screen, since the console has two screens and the bottom one is a touch screen. Sony also decided to compete with Nintendo through handhelds and made the Sony PlayStation Portable or PSP for short.
But what awaits the console gaming world in the future, announcements have been made for Nintendo's next handheld, the 3DS, which is said to be in full 3-D, and there have also been seen leaked photos of the PSP 2. What will happen to the PlayStation, will there ever be a PlayStation 4? What will Nintendo think of next? And will Microsoft stay in the console business? Those are questions that only the uncertainty of the future can answer.
I'mand this has been my article on the history of Video Game consoles.