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What is the History of Video Games? Timeline Walkthrough of Gaming

history of video games

Come stroll down memory lane & learn the history of video games. Our timeline of video game history includes best selling games, technology developments & more.

Video Game History: The Early Days

There may be many names who can share in the glory of the glowing popularity of the history of video games, with the earliest time frames being between the late 40’s through the 50’s and 60’s.  This can be attributed to the advancement of radio, television and computers, which during that era were mostly mainframes that only a select few individuals had access to. 

The first commercially introduced video game was released in 1971, bringing forth a whole new concept to the entertainment industry.

Of course, just like any new concept there were to be a few hurdles to pass before the boom in video gaming became as popular as it is today.

History of Video Games: Milestones in Development

  • 1900 – 1971: Technology developed with inventions of radio, television and computers
  • 1971: Computer Space was the first commercially viable game introduced mainstream
  • 1971 – 1977: Japan, Europe and the US experienced more gaming systems and the market experienced rapid growth (Remember Atari?)
  • 1977 – 1978: Companies had to sell obsolete systems that flooded the gaming market, which resulted in a crash and severe decline in sales
  • 1982 – 1984: A second crash occurred due to poor quality gaming systems that were introduced by market competitors, resulting in a shift to dominance in Japanese consoles
  • 1985 – 1988: This was a period of insurgence to the gaming market as popular systems like Nintendo and interactive programs made it possible for more players
  • 1989 – 1993: More people are buying home computers that come pre-installed with games and the video game market expands through increased game awareness and players. Gaming becomes a part of many households within this time period
  • 1993: 32-bit games were developed to enhance the graphics and gaming capabilities
  • 1996: The first 3D game card accelerator was made affordable for consumers, bringing gaming to a whole different level
  • 1997 – 2000: Arcade games begin phasing out in popularity as more people are able to play on computers and on gaming consoles
  • 2001 – today: With so many rapid improvements and access through multiple platforms, not just by way of computers and consoles but by new handheld and personal gaming devices, the world of gaming is now a mainstream element of society

Perception of video game history compared to today’s standards

The popularity of video games with kids of this generation is undeniable, with most kids being exposed to some form of gaming by toddlerhood or preschool.  There are pros and cons with the use of video and computer games by children and if used properly, video games can actively stimulate a child’s mind as a means of entertainment.

Video Games Today

However, the gaming industry is also earmarked by negative views by some parents who allow children to use the games too much, perhaps working as babysitters instead of as occasional entertainment. 

Some children often become addicted to video games and there are links to some children who develop violent tendencies due to the extreme nature of violence that are exposed within some of the games.

While these exceptions are rare, they are undeniably newsworthy and can bring a tainted perception of the use.  Parents are recommended to allow only limited time on video games and the age restrictions imposed by specific games are there for a reason. 

So, if a parent has this type of concern they should consider not allowing violent games in the household.  If used properly, video gaming can give kids newfound talents and increase motor skills; as well as using brain stimulants like memory, mapping, determination, pattern recognition and discovery.

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