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First-Generation Consoles

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The origins of what we know today to be the first-generation video game consoles can be traced back as early as 1967 with the creation of "The Brown Box". However, the Magnavox Odyssey is often cited as the true beginning of this generation, which itself was an evolved form of "The Brown Box"[1].

Features

The consoles of this era were very different to the consoles seen afterwards. Removable or swappable media 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 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 12 September 1975, Epoch released Japan's first console, the TV Tennis Electrotennis, a home version of Pong, several months before the release of Home Pong in North America. The most unique feature of the TV Tennis Electrotennis is that the console is wireless, functioning through a UHF antenna. Japan's most successful console of the first generation, however, was Nintendo's Color TV Game, 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 a part of the first generation of video gaming:

Comparison

Name Magnavox Odyssey Odyssey series TV Tennis Electrotennis Atari/Sears Tele-Games Pong Allied "Name Of The Game" Coleco Telstar Nintendo 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 date 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
Nintendo Color TV Game 3 million[3] (1979) N/A 3 million
Coleco Telstar 1 million (1976)[11] 1 million N/A
Epoch TV Tennis Electrotennis 440,000[8] (1975) N/A 3 million
Magnavox Odyssey 330,000 (1975)[7] 330,000 N/A
Atari/Sears Tele-Games Pong 150,000 (1975)[9] 150,000 N/A
Allied "Name Of The Game" 16,000 (1977)[6] 16,000 N/A

Sales history

Year Sales
Odyssey
[7]
Epoch
Tennis
[8]
Atari
Pong
[9]
Coleco
Telstar
[11]
Allied
[6]
Nintendo Color TV Game [3][12]
Game 6 Game 15 Racing Kuzushi
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 500,000
1980 3 million

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 Conquered the World, 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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