The first generation of home video game consoles were mainly dedicated systems which only gave the ability to play different varieties of one game. With the games built into the system there was no option to add additional games that were developed after the console’s release. These systems initially gave the general public the ability to play some of their favorite video arcade games in the comfort of their homes.
From late 1978 until the end of 1983 the video arcades reached a peak in popularity, innovation and earnings. This period is often referred to as the golden age of video arcade games. In late 1976 video arcade game technology became more sophisticated moving away from Transistor-Transistor Logic (TTL) technology to using Microprocessors allowing for better graphics and sounds. Even with the technology advancements the graphics and sound quality were still fairly primitive, this made the developers focus more on gameplay and innovative ideas in order to make a successful game.
As companies were striving to become a major player in the video arcade market another battle was going on to lead the way in the home video game market. In 1971 Magnavox revisited the idea of television gaming and finally took a license of Ralph Baer’s “Brown Box” from Sander Associates. Their 1972 Odyssey home video game system, a production engineered version of the “Brown Box” was the result. This was the first home video game console and started the home game console market which is now a multibillion dollar industry.
Most people hear the term arcade or coin-op and think of video arcades but both terms started well before video games were invented. An arcade game is a coin operated entertainment machine but not necessarily video game related. To clear up the misconception between arcade games, coin-ops and video arcade games we have to take a look back in history to identify were it all began and what influenced the video game industry in the arcade market.
The history of the video game industry is a ruthless story about hardship, backstabbing, stolen ideas, unethical business tactics, smear campaigns, controversy and lawsuits. From the very beginning of commercial video gaming you will see borrowed ideas which are slightly altered to avoid lawsuits and to turn a profit.