History of Video Games

The original idea for video games was conceived by Ralph Baer, he was to build a TV set and wanted to incorporate a game into it but his idea was rejected by his employers. The next time the concept of the video game took off was only after 18 years.

William Higginbotham was considered the first inventor of the video game. In 1958 he invented the game called tennis for two. Most of the games at that time were written by individual programmers. In 1962 Steve Russel invented Spacewar which was developed for a computer using a mainframe computer to design the game. The arcade version of Spacewar was developed in 1971 by Bushnell and Dabney. Bushnell formed his own company called Atari and redesigned the arcade version of the game Pong as a home video game.


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The first commercial video game console came out in 1972 called Odyssey by Magnavox which included twelve games but the video game console took off only after Atari came out with Pong. The first games to be registered were developed by Atari called asteroids and lunar Landers. The first portable handheld electronic game was Tic Tac Toe in 1972 by a company called Waco.

Video games became very popular as a form of entertainment in arcades and at home. The first handheld game console was Microvision designed by Smith Engineering and the first cartridge based video game console was Fairchild VES by Fairchild semiconductor in August 1976. The 1990’s onward saw the decline of arcades and video games with new technological advancements such as hand held games like Nintendo’s game boy and exclusive gaming consoles such as the play station by Sony and the Xbox by Microsoft. The choice of games has also undergone a sea change from the first days of pong and tennis for two. The games today are more hi tech, often adapted from movies and the attachments accompanying the console have multiple features.

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