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The Fascinating History of Games Consoles

Jun 24, 2008
The history of games consoles. From the first ever console - to the likes of the Playstation 3, the Wii and the Xbox 360. They've come a long way, and I want to see where they end up 20 years from now. Hopefully i'll still be around to write another on of these.

So, the first console ever. The original Gangster, the real deal, the old skool badboy - the Magnavox Odyssey. It was 1972 when the first ever games console was unleashed on the world, and well, it sort of unleashed itself unnoticed. Advertising and promotion was bad, people were mislead by slogans and it didn't have much success. On the box there was a slogan which implied that it would only work on a magnavox TV - and no-one could afford both. The Odyssey was designed by Ralph Baer - and he had a prototype working by 1968. Many people call this the Brown Box it's currently on show at a museum. The Odyssey and its other versions lacked sound - basically, it was a silent console. It also ran on batteries, unlike modern day consoles. Despite lack of success - it was the first ever home game console; regardless of how well it did.

So in comes Nolan Bushnell, the creater of the Atari Pong. Bushnell actually attended a promotion and demonstration of the Odyssey, and he likes how simple the tennis game was. He in fact played it - and then in 1972, he created the Pong.It was a coin operated Atari arcade Machine - it went on to become a smash hit. Magnavox sued Atari, claiming that the patented idea was stolen from Magnavox. Many actually list the Atari Pong as the first console. Im pretty certain that it because it was sued - and therefore got great publicity. And it actually stated on the box - "WORKS ON ALL TV'S".

Those are the 2 most old skool games consoles there will ever be. The absolute legends. After the Pong there were a few more games consoles released - most of them were just versions of the odyssey and the Pong.

Let's skip forward a bit - to 1983. Nintendo releases the Famicom in Japan. They then brought it over to the US - in order to try and bring back consoles to the US (not many people in the US bought consoles). They tried to distinguish it from other games - by using a cartridge and better resolutions. They hit a break-through with Super Mario Bros. Sega then tried to take over with the Mega Drive, in Japan then the US and finally europe. It has reasonable success, and is recognized as a half decent console. And suddenly Fifth generation consoles were upon us. The playstation, the Nintendo 64. Games consoles were finally truly back in business. The playstation used CD's but the N64 used cartridges. Nintendo claimed this was due to CD's scratching to easily - but many think it was because of copyright issues. Because of this, the N64 actually made a larger profit.

Then the Xbox arrived with the playstation 2 - a massive hit.

And now, we have reached the seventh generation. The Xbox 360, and the Playstation 3. They both seem like actual consoles, whereas previous video games were just versions of the same thing.

Now if you think about the vast improvement and change - what are we going to be playing in 30 odd years time?

Think about it.
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