The History of Videogames

The gaming world did not always have gaming consoles. They started out with big, long computers, introduced a few consoles, then arcade games, and almost failed once in the business.

1948 – The first ever video game was chess playing algorithm created by Alan Turing and colleague D.G. Champernowne. There was not a computer powerful enough to sustain the chess playing algorithm. The algorithm game was also tested twice against humans. The game lost one and won once.

1950 – Claude Shannon had created and put together a chess playing program that actually worked on the computer. It also appeared in the paper “Programming a Computer for Playing Chess” published in Philosophical Magazine.

1955 – Nakamura Manufacturing was founded by Masaya Nakamura in 1955. Based in Tokyo, the company started out by running rides for children on the roof of a department store in Yokohama. Nakamura reorganized in 1958 and later changed their name to Nakamura AmusementMachine Manufacturing Company, which forms the acronym “NAMCO”.

1959 – 1961 –

Mouse in the Maze was a game where people could place maze walls and for a prize, bits of cheese, and sometimes other prizes for the mouse.

The early version of Tic-Tac-Toe was made using the light pen to play against the computer. It wasn’t very popular back then. Although today we play it as a game with a pencil and paper.


Spacewar! was the first influential computer game that was widely available. It was played on a PDP-1, a new computer at the time.

Computer Games to Early Arcade Games


In September 1971, Galaxy Game was installed at Stanford University. It was based on Spacewar! and was the first ever coin operated machine. Using a DEC PDP-11, only one copy of the game was built.

In 1972, Atari Inc. was founded by Bushnell and Dabney. This was before they released their gaming Pong. Nineteen thousand Pong machines were made.

First Generation Consoles

Ralph Baer made the first ever home console system. They called it the “Brown Box” because it was brown. The development began in 1966 and a working prototype was finished in 1968.

Mainframe Computers

1971 – StarTrek was invented, although we don’t know who, (probably Mike Mayfield), on a Sigma 7 minicomputer.

1975 – Daglow, then a student at Claremont Graduate University, wrote the first role play game

called Dungeon for the PDP-10 mainframes. This game was an unlicensed version of Dragons and Dungeons.

Video Game Crash of 1977

Manufacturers of older, obsolete consoles and Pong clones sold their systems at a loss to clear stock in 1977.

The Golden Age of Video Arcade Games

The arcade game industry entered its golden age in 1978 with the release of Space Invaders by Taito. This inspired dozens of to enter the market. Video gaming was a rapidly growing mainstream hobby. By 1982, generate a revenue of $2 billion in quarters, equivalent to $4.6 billion today. In 1979, Namco’s Galaxian arrived and sold over 40,000 cabinets in the U.S., and Atari also created a new game, Asteroids, selling over 70,000 cabinets. In 1979 and 1980, Pac-Man arrived. It sold over 350,000 cabinets, and it made over 10 billion quarters ($2.5 billion) during the 20th century, equivalent to over $3.4 billion today.


Wikipedia: History of Video Games –

Wikipedia: History of Namco –

Wikipedia: History of Atari –

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