What Was The First Video Game Console Ever Created? Learn All About It! | Kidadl

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What Was The First Video Game Console Ever Created? Learn All About It!

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It’s impossible to not find a video game fanatic around you nowadays, and video game consoles have rapid sales, with one in almost every house out there.

Be it a Christmas gift or a birthday one, video games give us a fun, brain-wracking experience, one that people used to seek in board games long back. Yet, have you ever wondered what started all this, which game had people obsessing over it for them to make this an international phenomenon?

A world without gaming cannot be imagined, and to do so is futile. Gaming has become such a staple part of people’s childhoods, and growing up without a phone in hand is just bizarre in this day and age. People’s worlds have always been surrounded by some sort of entertainment, and it did not take long for games to become a huge part of people's lives. In this article, we cover the very first console to be developed, what led to its development, and how video games have become the artistic creations with stunning graphics and beautiful storylines that we see today, from the two lines and one dot that games started with.

After reading about Microsoft's Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo GameCube, Nintendo Game Boy Color, and other consoles, also check out facts about video games and the first commercial video game here at Kidadl.

Oldest Videos Game Consoles In The World

Would you believe that the first video game console was made in 1972 and the first video game in 1958? Magnavox released a series of home video game consoles, called the Magnavox Odyssey Consoles, later bought by Philips, with addendums of minute changes.

The Magnavox series was designed by Ralph H. Baer, a German-American inventor, and allowed the user to play several games off of one console. It is interesting to note that a program was not used to run this; instead, the hardware was connected by wires which, when connected, produced a game on the screen. A TV was also released with a built-in console after Philips purchased Magnavox.

As mentioned above, video game consoles have been around since 1972, with Magnavox revolutionizing the way we see gaming today. Pong also came out around this time, and Magnavox successfully sued them for trying to copy their model. Pong’s parent company, Atari, was unsuccessful in patenting and selling a home Pong model, but the success of Magnavox and Pong continued. The Odyssey, was a brown box with flecks of white and black, connected to a television set with two controllers on the side. The brown box was a TV game and was capable of generating two lines and one dot according to the difficulty. Players could put plastic overlays on the brown box, adding visual elements to a simple game. It was a TV game that, despite its simplicity, was well-liked and provided people with hours of entertainment with lines and dots.

First Generation Of Video Game Consoles

War and violence are what science has shown video game consoles to be excellent at, but one man decided to prove everyone wrong, starting a billion-dollar industry and a hobby that would last a lifetime, even becoming a career for some.

When William Higginbotham presented his invention at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, a game called 'Tennis for Two', he did not expect it to be such a massive hit. A simple game, and the inspiration for Pong, years later, was an analog design, with players pushing a button and turning two knobs to simulate a game of tennis, on a bed of an oscilloscope. A hit since the very beginning, people lined up to play the game, and the creator started a movement that would only grow in the years to come. Sadly, the game’s parts were taken out for other uses, and the flame of history was snuffed out just as quickly as it had been lit.

Forgotten almost completely, until the invention of Pong, nobody remembered that sunny day in Brookhaven where everything we knew about games changed. But we would be remiss if we did not mention a game that, even though purists do not consider it to meet the definitions of a video game, is still an invention that deserves a screen. Called 'Bertie the Brain', it was a game of tic tac toe on a monstrous machine invented by Josef Kates.

Players in the Canadian National Exhibition were able to play against the ‘electronic brain’, so it was called, at several levels of difficulty. A delight to those there, it was unfortunately dismantled.

It would be a lie to say that arcade games were invented in the '60s and subsequently became a hit, as games with arcade-like qualities have been around since the '30s, but did not gain traction until the late 20th century.

The pioneer in the arcade was Atari back then, who released Pong, a game inspired by table tennis, and was loved across the US. In 1972, Pong was released to the world. A massive cultural impact was caused. The game featured two-dimensional graphics, which simulated a game of table tennis on the screen. A hit, it started a generation of video games, with other companies like Nintendo and such following suit. Nintendo’s first arcade was a game called EVR Race, a game about racing.

But this massive company’s introduction into gaming was actually through the Magnavox game itself, with its light gun gallery being manufactured (in the game) by Nintendo. Eventually, Atari deviated from the idea of Pong, inventing new games, and the world of video games was born.

Evolution Of Home Video Game Consoles

Games that can be played from the comfort of your own home were a concept that took time to find its wings. Mainstream popularity reached its peak almost 40 years ago, with companies like Nintendo finding their niche in it and releasing handheld consoles by the end of the '80s, along with a game called the Game Boy.

As mentioned above, home video games' consoles have been a staple, as mentioned in the previous paragraphs, for a while now, in every house. Be it a handheld console or a game that connects to the TV or your laptop. A home video game console, however, was an idea that took off with Nintendo. Dedicated consoles were made, like the first Nintendo console game, the EVR race as mentioned, and the release of the Game Boy in 1989, which saw commercial success worldwide.

Popularity has only gone up since then, as the home video game market has seen worldwide fame. Video game history, however, does not let us go until we mention the release of the Fairchild Channel F. The first video game console to feature interchangeable cartridges, it had its advantages and disadvantages but was not the first console to feature a cartridge. The Atari games also used cartridges, which developed technologically further over time.

Video Game History

The first computer game, called 'Spacewar', was released in 1962, running on a PDP-1 computer. It was made at MIT, and had primitive graphics, although not more than some video games in the video game market in the ’80s.

This game had a pretty interesting concept. It was a two-player game, where each of them controlled a spaceship that circled a planet. The players can shoot at each other, and the first one to die loses. However, as mentioned above, Pong was the first commercially available video game.

Spacewar! was just the beginning. It was run on a computer the size of a large car! We have already mentioned Pong, but a game based on Spacewar! came out in 1971, a year before Pong. It was called 'computer space' and was the first commercial video game, but not as popular. Interestingly, they were the ones who left their parent company to start Atari, which produced Pong.

Starting in the ’50s, as we have detailed in the earlier parts of this essay, consoles have evolved into high-end graphics and thousands of games and have been a huge part of millennials and gen z’s lives. Consoles have gone from barely six games fitting on a huge disc of hardware to a thousand games fitting in a tiny piece of software.

We have spoken about all the types of consoles that dominated the industry back in the ’70s and ’80s, but the golden age of gaming truly started in the early 80’s with companies moving away from Pong-like games to other ideas, most notably, games like 'Legend of Zelda', 'Final Fantasy', 'Pac Man', 'Super Mario Bros', among others. There was a significant deviation from simple, two-player games to RPG, fighting, and platform games.

This was also the time where there was a move to go toward cartridge-based games, rather than a dedicated console with a couple of games in it. Sega launched the SG-1000 in 1983, which laid the foundation for the widely popular SEGA Master System. However, what truly stole the show was Nintendo, with the release of the NES, which completely takes the credit for making Nintendo the first name people think of when buying video games.

A major console war occurred between SEGA and Nintendo, with simultaneous releases, with successful results. However, SEGA conquered, as the higher quality of the eventual Nintendo releases ensured a higher price, making it more unaffordable than the SEGA systems. The release of the SONY PlayStation and SEGA Saturn made sure that the only time Atari tried a comeback was not particularly well received.

SONY also released the PlayStation in 1994, with Nintendo sticking to its cartridge system with the Nintendo 64, and SEGA’s success grew with the Genesis Series being released in the ’90s. The GameCube was introduced in 2001, with subsequent successful releases of the PlayStation and the Xbox, a Microsoft invention. Today, the dominating power lies with the PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Wii, rivaling each other in graphics, playing power, and so forth.

Home video games and home consoles are owned by individuals that want to play games conveniently.

Modern Age Of Gaming

To truly discuss the answer to this question, we must go back in time, 37 years ago to be exact, to look at the first game that was created that could be accessed through the internet.

It was created by BITNET, called MAD, a sci-fi driving and action game. As revolutionary as this idea was, this game did not take hold. However, in 1993, Doom was released and cemented this extremely popular game with deathmatches in the community.

More popular games during this period were RPGs, or role-playing-based games, with a significant impact on the Mackintosh. First-person shooter games were on the rise, with releases like Avalon MUD. But it would almost be a crime to not mention Warcraft, which, till today, is one of the biggest online gaming franchises. Later in the decade, Nintendo brought Super Mario online, and in 2002, Xbox Live was released.

Popularity being an understatement, Xbox Live ensured communication between the people playing, and you could play with someone across the world without a hitch. The decade of mobile games has begun, and with the release of Pokémon Go in 2015, the virality of other mobile running, RPG, and even shooter games are truly seen. Some examples include CS-GO, Valorant, and more. Virtual gaming has also taken hold, with headsets being made left and right, providing an even more real experience of gaming and its intricacies.

Online Gaming

Playing a casual game with your friends after school or work has become almost a daily routine now, with game slang being passed around in daily conversations. However, it took a while for online gaming to become as advanced as it is.

The first online game was mentioned in the previous topic, but as soon as PlayStation and Xbox took hold of the community, the gaming rage began. Hundreds of thousands of people across the world scrambled to buy these boxes that could provide you with hours of entertainment, and let you play with people halfway across the continent. Games like GTA, Runescape, and others dominated the market, with CS-GO and other shooter games coming later. This was not the only genre that creators dipped their feet into, as Lara Croft, Five Nights at Freddy's, and even Mortal Kombat became hugely popular to the point of having movies based on them.

A lot goes into developing video games, with several steps to make a single frame of them. There is making the concept, idealizing it, the production of it, the designer, the artist, to name a few. The development process consists of the pitch to the company, the pre-production process, and the prototype, deciding whether it is marketable in the current era.

Starting with the pre-production phase, the idea is first conceptualized for clear and easy documentation, resulting in a production plan. It evolves into the high concept, which is a short description. A pitch is prepared, looking at the profitability of the idea. The production process then starts, with the source code and assets for the game being made. There is level production, art production, testing of the game, and finally, the release of the game into the video game market.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for first video game console, then why not take a look at the longest time playing video games or ancient Egypt games for kids?

Written By
Kidadl Team

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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