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Tennis for Two was first introduced on
October 18, 1958. Two people played
the electronic tennis game with
separate controllers that connected to
an analog computer and used an
oscilloscope for a screen. The game’s
creator, William Higinbotham, was a
nuclear physicist who had worked on
the Manhattan Project and lobbied for
nuclear nonproliferation as the first
chair of the Federation of American
TENNIS FOR TWO
In 1961, a group of students at MIT,
including Steve Russell, programmed a
game titled Spacewar! on the PDP-1, a new
computer at the time. The game pitted two
human players against each other, each
controlling a spacecraft capable of firing
missiles, while a star in the center of the
screen created a large hazard for the crafts.
The PDP-1 had an equivalent to
9,216 eight-bit bytes of
memory. The magnetic core
memory's cycle time
corresponded roughly to a
"clock speed" of 200 kilohertz.
The PDP-1 used punched paper
tape as its primary storage
In 1966, Ralph Baer engaged co-worker Bill Harrison in the project, where
they both worked at a military electronics contractor. They created a simple
video game named Chase, the first to display on a standard television set. With
the assistance of Baer, Bill Harrison created the light gun.
The Magnavox Odyssey is the world's first
commercial home video game console. It was
released in 1972, predating the Atari Pong home
consoles by three years.
The Odyssey was designed by Ralph Baer, who
began around 1966 and had a working prototype
finished by 1968. This prototype, known as the
The system was powered by batteries and had no
The Odyssey uses a type of removable printed circuit
board card that inserts into a slot similar to a cartridge
slot; these do not contain any components but have a
series of jumpers between pins of the card connector.
These jumpers interconnect different logic and signal
generators to produce the desired game logic and
screen output components respectively.
The system was sold with translucent plastic overlays
that gamers could put on their TV screen to simulate
colour graphics, though only two TV sizes were
Units sold 330,000
Controller input Two paddles
The Odyssey was also designed to
support an add-on peripheral, the first-
ever commercial video "light gun”. This
detected light from the TV screen,
though pointing the gun at a nearby
light bulb also registered as a "hit".
Pong is a two-dimensional sports game that simulates
Pong was the first game developed by Atari Inc.,
incorporated in June 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted
Dabney. Who installed the Pong prototype at a local
bar, Andy Capp's Tavern then released it later that
In 1974, Atari engineer Harold Lee proposed
a home version of Pong that would connect
to a television.
The idea was to concentrate all electronic
components of the arcade version into one
chip. According to today's standards it's
extremely simple: a tennis game on a
television screen. But in 1974, the chip
needed was the most sophisticated ever used
in a consumer product.
Christmas 1975, Pong was the smashing
hit for Sears. In several towns people had
to wait hours in line for the shops, not to
buy Pong, but to put their name on a list
to order it.
Thanks to Pong, Atari in 1975 had a
turnover of 40 million dollars.
Released in 1978, sparking a
renaissance for the video game
industry and paving the way for
the golden age of arcade video
It was originally manufactured
and sold by Taito in Japan
It was one of the forerunners of modern video
gaming and helped expand the video game
industry from a novelty to a global industry.
The game uses an Intel 8080 central processing
unit (8-bit - 2Mhz)
Space Invaders grossed US$2 billion worldwide
The 1980 Atari 2600 version quadrupled the
system's sales and became the first "killer app"
for video game consoles.
Fairchild Channel F
Released in 1976 at the retail price of
$169.95. It has the distinction of being
the first programmable ROM cartridge–
based video game console, and the first
console to use a microprocessor.
CPU - Fairchild F8 8-bit - 1 MHz-2 MHz
Memory - 64 bytes of system RAM
Output - A resolution of 102 × 58
Input - The controllers are a joystick
without a base. It could be used as both a
joystick and paddle (twist), and not only
pushed down to operate as a fire button
but also pulled up.
Released in 1977 by Atari, Inc.
It is credited with
popularizing the use of
hardware and cartridges
containing game code
CPU - MOS Technology 6507 running at 1.19 MHz
Primary Memory – 128 bytes of RAM
Secondary Memory - ROM (game cartridges): 4 kb
maximum capacity (they got this up to 32 kb later)
Input - joysticks, paddles, keyboards, etc.
Output - 160 x 192 pixels, 128 colors were available.
Released by Mattel in 1979.
Over two million Intellivision
consoles had been sold by the
end of 1982, earning Mattel a
Intellivision can be considered the first 16-bit
The Intellivision was also the first system to
feature downloadable games (via cable TV).
Although, without a storage device the games
vanished once the machine was turned off.
Intellivision was the first game console to
provide real-time human and robot voice.
Intellivision was the first console to feature a
controller with a directional pad.
Intellivision was also the first console to have a
complete built-in character font.
CPU - General Instrument
CP1610 16-bit microprocessor.
Primary Memory -1456 bytes of
Output - 159 pixels wide by 96
pixels high 16 color palette.
In 1979, Milton Bradley
Company released the first
handheld system using
Game and Watch
In 1980, Nintendo released its Game &
Watch line over the next eleven years 43.4
million copies of the 59 games were sold
worldwide. It was the earliest Nintendo
product to garner major success.
Different models were manufactured, with
some having two screens and a clam-shell
design (the Multi Screen Series). The
Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance SP
later reused this design.
The modern "cross" D-pad design was
developed in 1982 by Yokoi for the Donkey
Kong handheld game.
Released in 1980. The VIC-20 was the first computer
of any description to sell one million units.
CPU MOS Technology 6502 @ 1.02 MHz
Primary Memory 5 - 64 kB
Secondary Storage – Tape and Cartridge
Graphics VIC 176 x 184
Released in 1982
Sales totaled between 12.5 and 17 million units
CPU MOS Technology 6510@ 0.985 MHz
Primary Memory 64 kB RAM + 20 kB ROM
Secondary Storage IEEE-488 floppy 170 kilobyte drive for 5¼" disks, Tape, Cartridge
Output Graphics VIC-II (320 × 200, 16 colors)
Released in 1982. The ColecoVision offered
near-arcade-quality graphics and gaming style,
and the means to expand the system's basic
In 1989, Nintendo released the
Game Boy, the first handheld
console since the ill-fated
Microvision ten years before.
CPU: Custom 8-bit Sharp
LR35902at 4.19 MHz
Primary Memory 8 kB -32 kB)
Secondary Memory 2 MB, 4 MB
and 8 MB cartridges
Nintendo Entertainment System
Released in 1983 (Asia) 85 (US) 87
CPU Ricoh 2A07 @1.66 Mhz
Primary Memory 2 Kb + 2Kb video
Secondary Memory Cartridges 32Kb – 384
Output 256 x 240 x 54 colours
The first model was launched in 1985 as a high-end home
computer. The best selling model, the Amiga 500, was
introduced in 1987
The Amiga was the first multimedia computer
CPU - Motorola 68000 @7.1 Mhz
Primary Memory – 500 Kb (expandable)
Output 320x256 (32 colours) to 640x256 (16 colours) HAM
mode allowed for 4096 colours.
The Amiga was one of the first home computers for which
inexpensive sound sampling and video digitization
accessories were available. As a result of this and the
Amiga's audio and video capabilities the Amiga became a
popular system for editing and producing both music and
It's significant for being quite
probably the first networked
multiplayer arena shooter-
Other Notable Gaming Computers
The ZX Spectrum an 8-bit personal
home computer released in the
United Kingdom in 1982 by Sinclair
Other Notable Gaming Computers
The Atari ST is a home computer
released by Atari Corporation in
Comparable to the Amiga but but
not as good for games.
The ST was also the first home
computer with integrated MIDI
support. Thanks to its built-in MIDI,
it enjoyed success for running
music-sequencer software and as a
controller of musical instruments
among amateurs and professionals