You’ve spent countless hours hunkered down with the newest game release, working away at finding the easter eggs and learning the tricks to make you successful every time you falter. Have you ever stopped to wonder, though, about all of the games that came before? This brief history of video game consoles will give you the down and dirty of the backstory to your favorite pastime.
The very first console came about in 1972 after the successful work of a man named Ralph Baer in his attempts to make a switch-controlled computer that was connected to a vector screen. Magnavox bought the idea and created the Magnavox Odyssey, the first console to plug directly into a TV and play off of cartridges. The majority of consoles that rose to popularity at the time were capable of playing only a single game, so Odyssey was ahead of the curve.
A flood of new consoles hit the market and basically caused a crash in 1983. The slump was busted by the Nintendo company releasing their flagship Nintendo Entertainment System. It singlehandedly brought video games back to the forefront of everyone’s mind, launching a revolution we still feel today and introducing us to the Super Mario Bros. Subsequent to the NES, video game consoles continued to rely on the cartridge system until Sony finally broke the mold.
The history of video game consoles made a leap in 1995, when the Playstation was the first to use compact discs for its gaming input. The relatively low cost of production, paired with the fact that the system was easier to write for, boosting its popularity with developers and gamers alike. It was, in fact, the first video game console in history to sell more than 100 million units.
As advancements continued through the years, graphics and gameplay improved dramatically. The next big breakthrough came, again, at the hands of Nintendo, with the Wii gaming system in 2006. It utilized infrared light to link the controller and the console, giving the player an extended range of both motion and involvement with the game.
Today, the Xbox and PlayStation reign supreme, but if you were around for any of its predecessors, you know exactly how far along consoles have come. If you weren’t around, well…you just read a brief history of video game consoles and are up to speed. What are your favorite gaming systems, vintage or modern? Tell us in the comments!