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The First generation of video game hardware approximately covers the period between 1972 and 1980, although video gaming had existed in one form or another since the 1950s. The Magnavox Odyssey is often cited as the true beginning of the first generation of video game hardware, which itself was an evolution of "The Brown Box"[1], a prototype for a video game console developed in 1967.

Features

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History of video games

The hardware seen in this era of video gaming is very different to the consoles that would be manufactured afterwards. Removable or swappable media, such as cartridges for video games was not widespread, so the games that were provided often came with the console itself. This limitation caused a fair amount of consoles to be spawned, as each company strove for their standard to be accepted.

The most striking feature of this generation was that they did not feature microprocessors in their circuitry, instead having to make do with a series of logic circuits. Many consoles of this era were just hardware platforms for "Pong", with a small number aiming higher. Atari, Magnavox (later bought by Philips) and General Instrument were the biggest players of this era.

The Magnagox Odyssey featured an early optical light gun accessory called Shooting Gallery, released in 1972. This light gun peripheral was manufactured by Nintendo, marking their first entry into the video game industry. On September 12, 1975 Epoch released Japan's first console, the Television Tennis, a home version of Pong, several months before the release of Home Pong in North America. The most unique feature of the Television Tennis was that the console was wireless, functioning through a UHF antenna. Japan's most successful consoles of the first generation, however, was Nintendo's Color TV-Game series of video game consoles, first released in 1977.[2] The Color TV Game sold 3 million units,[3][4] making it the best-selling console of the first generation.

Membership

The following can be considered part of the first generation of video gaming:

Comparison

Name Magnavox Odyssey Magnavox Odyssey series Television Tennis Home Pong Name of the Game Telstar Color TV-Game
Manufacturer Magnavox Magnavox Epoch Atari Allied Leisure Coleco Nintendo
Console 140px 120px 120px 120px 120px
Launch price US$100 US$100–230 US$98.95 $67 US$50 ¥8,300 - ¥48,000 (roughly $100 – $594.80 today)
Release dates May 1972 (NA)
1973 (EU)
1974 (JP)
1975 (NA) September 12, 1975 (JP) December 1975 (NA) 1976 (NA) 1976 (NA)
1977 (JP)
1977 (JP)
Media Plastic overlay Various Inbuilt chip Inbuilt chip[5] Inbuilt chip[6] n/a (most models)
Cartridge (Telstar Arcade)
n/a
Accessories (retail) Light gun n/a Wireless controller[2] n/a n/a Controller styles n/a
Sales 330,000[7] 440,000[8] 150,000[9][10] 16,000[6] 1 million[11] 3 million[3]

Sales comparison

Console Worldwide sales United States Japan
Color TV-Game 3 million[3] (1980) N/A 3 million
Telstar 1 million (1976)[11] 1 million N/A
Television Tennis 440,000[8] (1975) N/A 3 million
Magnavox Odyssey 330,000 (1975)[7] 330,000 N/A
Home Pong 150,000 (1975)[9] 150,000 N/A
Name of the Game 16,000 (1977)[6] 16,000 N/A

Sales history

Year Sales
Magnavox Odyssey[7] Television
Tennis
[8]
Pong [9] Telstar [11] Name of the Game
[6]
Color TV-Game [3][12]
Game 6 Game 15 Racing 112 Block Breaker Computer TV-Game
1972 130,000
1975 330,000 10,000 150,000
1976 1 million
1977 210,000
(+200,000)
16,000 350,000 700,000
1978 440,000
(+230,000)
1 million
(+650,000)
1 million
(+300,000)
500,000
1979 2.5 million
1980 2.5 million 500,000

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Magnavox Odyssey @ About.com
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Martin Picard (December 2013), The Foundation of Geemu: A Brief History of Early Japanese video games, The International Journal of Computer Game Research 13 (2), Game Studies
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Sheff, David; Eddy, Andy (1999). Game Over: How Nintendo Zapped an American Industry, Captured Your Dollars, and Enslaved Your Children. GamePress. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-9669617-0-6. "Nintendo entered the home market in Japan with the dramatic unveiling of Color TV-Game 6, which played six versions of light tennis. It was followed by a more powerful sequel, Color TV-Game 15. A million units of each were sold. The engineering team also came up with systems that played a more complex game, called "Blockbuster," as well as a racing game. Half a million units of these were sold." 
  4. Sheff, David; Eddy, Andy (April 15, 1999). Game Over: Press Start to Continue - The Maturing of Mario. Cyberactive Media Group/GamePress. pp. 27–28. ISBN 9780966961706. http://books.google.com/books?id=0dK2AAAAIAAJ&q=%22Color+TV+Game%22. "Nintendo entered the home market in Japan with the dramatic unveiling of Color TV Game 6, which played six versions of light tennis. It was followed by a more powerful sequel, Color TV Game 15. A million units of each were sold. The engineering team also came up with systems that played a more complex game, called "Blockbuster," as well as a racing game. Half a million units of these were sold." 
  5. Atari home PONG systems. Pong-Story. Retrieved on 2010-09-13.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 [1] [2]
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Magnavox Odyssey, the first video game system. Pong-Story (1972-06-27). Retrieved on 2012-11-17.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=981407
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Ellis, David (2004). "Dedicated Consoles". Official Price Guide to Classic Video Games. Random House. pp. 33–36. ISBN 0-375-72038-3. 
  10. Kent, Steven (2001). "Strange Bedfellows". Ultimate History of Video Games. Three Rivers Press. pp. 94–95. ISBN 0-7615-3643-4. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Herman, Leonard (1997). Phoenix: the fall & rise of videogames (2nd ed. ed.). Union, NJ: Rolenta Press. p. 20. ISBN 0-9643848-2-5. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=duITAQAAIAAJ. Retrieved 16 February 2012. "Like Pong, Telstar could only play video tennis but it retailed at an inexpensive $50 that made it attractive to most families that were on a budget. Coleco managed to sell over a million units that year." 
  12. http://kotaku.com/5785568/nintendos-first-console-is-one-youve-never-played

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