May 8, 2012

The history of video games : the origin era

Everything has a beginning that includes video games. The dawning of the computer age had brought a new form of entertainment into many family's homes that will create a culture that will live on for decades after. This is the origin era of video games, featuring the Atari 2600, Colecovision and we start with the system that birth the home video game market: The Magnavox Odyssey

In 1966, Ralph Baer would begin work on a prototype that would create a new form of home entertainment.  In 1972, The Magnavox Odyssey would be released to the public, beating Atari’s pong by 3 years.  The system was in black and white, color overlays had to be put over the TV screen to add color to the games. It also had a light gun add on. Due to bad marketing, sales were poor. Baer would go on to create the electronic game Simon for Mattel

The Atari 2600 is one of the greatest video game systems of all time. At some point in one’s gaming life, they must have played at least one 2600 game. Initially called Atari VCS (Video Computer  System) along with a variety of names depending on where it was sold, it would eventually be change to Atari 2600. The Atari 2600 rode high until the crash in 1983, which after had to compete with the NES and suffer from failed attempts to compete with it (2600 jr and the 8bit 7800). In 1992, the Atari 2600 was discontinued.

 In 1982, Coleco, well known for cabbage patch dolls, released Colecovision . It had success from licensing games from Nintendo, which was touted to have near arcade graphics.  Colecovision had 3 expansion modules, one let you played 2600 games, another was a steering wheel, and the last turned into a home PC.  Much like many consoles of this era, it suffered from the 1983 crash and was discontinued in 1985.

There were many great console during this era, Intellivision and Vectrex being two of them. However due to over saturation of the market, and the rise of the home PC (which a few of these companies, Atari being one would go into) the video game market crashed kin 1983, thus ending the origin era, but because of this, the golden age  era of video games would come from  its ashes.  The poll to vote for what systems you want to be featured in this era will be up here and on the Facebook page.

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