A Look Back: A Gaming Odyssey
Too Long; Didn’t Read
Many of these iconic consoles have come and gone, but never forget the importance each one played in the evolution of our favorite hobby.
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In the beginning…
As the gaming world prepares to welcome the next-next generation of consoles, notably the Playstation 5 and the Xbox Series X, we take a moment to reflect back on how far we’ve come with a quick trip back in time. From all the hardware highlights to the lowlights that made gaming the cultural phenomena that it is today.
Since the first-ever console was conceived almost half a century ago, there have been dozens of gaming devices that have passed through our bedrooms and living rooms. Many have left an everlasting impression on us, while a few have faded into obscurity. You may find many of them in bad shape or in a dollar bin rack in some thrift store, but never forget the importance they played or the historical relevance they possessed in paving the way to where we are now.
The Silver Era of Gaming
The 1970s proved to be an important decade for video games. While Magnavox, Coleco, and Mattel were all vying to establish themselves as the console of choice, many parents could only afford to purchase one system. Atari, knowing their inferior 2600 could not compete directly with the other systems, utilized a marketing ploy in which they would flood the market with games like Space Invaders, Asteroids, Missile Command, and Donkey Kong, to create the perception that their console would be the system of choice…and it worked.
By 1977 through 1979, the Atari 2600 Video Computer System or 2600 VCS for short, dominated the gaming landscape and brought video games to the forefront of every household.
The Golden Era of Gaming
By the 1980s, the video gaming industry was starting to gain traction as a legitimate form of entertainment. Arcades started to pop up in local cities, bars, and amusement parks. Hit titles like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and Galaga attracted large crowds and were commercial successes, often raking in more money in quarters than most movies did in theatres. The 1980’s also introduced newcomers to the gaming scene, most notable was the Vectrex, a single stand-alone unit that you could play without it being connected to a television set. Atari, whose popularity with the 2600 VCS was waning, introduced the 5200 and 7800 in hopes to gain more momentum.
By the early-80s, the video gaming market started to become unsustainable due to the large influx of mediocre games. The industry had produced the systems and the games, but not the quality control process it needed to ensure those games were of high quality. By 1984, the gaming industry had come to a standstill and many predicted another video game crash. The industry would be saved a year later by the introduction of two gaming systems from Japan that would forever change the gaming landscape forever.
The Greatest Era of Gaming
The start of the 16-bit revolution and considered by many to be the greatest era in gaming. The 1990s proved that video games were not just a form of entertainment, but a social outlet of day-to-day life. Many claimed that gaming was just as important to a persons’ well being as going out to a restaurant or watching a movie. Video games, the expert claimed, had become part of the human psyche.
The 1990s introduced a host of memorable gaming consoles unlike we’ve seen before or will probably ever see again. The Turbo-GFX 16, the NEOGEO, the 3DO, and Atari Jaguar all contributed to the historical rise of the industry. Of course, we can never forget Nintendo’s SNES and Sega’s Genesis, two of the most influential gaming systems of all time.
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