EDITOR’S NOTE: This year in our HPB calendar, we’re celebrating all things printed and recorded—and played, solved, watched, etc. In other words, all the cool stuff we buy and sell in our stores. For August, it’s all fun and games—video games, to be exact.
1940 A computer playing the traditional game Nim is displayed at the World’s Fair.
1958 A tennis game played using an analog computer and an oscilloscope is demonstrated at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
1962 Spacewar, the first computer-based video game, is invented by an MIT student.
1975 Atari partners with Sears to release its arcade game Pong for the home market.
1985 Nintendo’s NES revives an ailing American video game industry two years after its original release in Japan, where it was called Famicom.
1995 Sony releases PlayStation in the United States. When PlayStation 2 debuts in 2000, it becomes the dominant home console.
2001 Microsoft enters the market with Xbox and hit games like Halo. Xbox 360 would debut four years later.
DID YOU KNOW?
- In 1966, engineer Ralph Baer conceived the idea that video games could be played on a television. The next year he developed a prototype called the Brown Box, and his ideas eventually led to the 1972 release of the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game system.
- Atari released the Video Computer System, known today as the 2600, in 1977. Featuring a joystick, games in color, and switches for selecting games and setting difficulty levels, it turned millions of Americans into home video game players.
Want to dive deeper? Check out these great products!
A History of Video Games in 64 Objects
Console Wars: Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle That Defined a Generation, by Blake J. Harris
Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter, by Tom Bissell
Blood, Sweat, and Pixels, by Jason Schreier
Game On!: Video Game History from Pong and Pac-Man to Mario, Minecraft and More, by Dustin Hansen
Replay: The History of Video Games, by Tristan Donovan
Art of Atari, by Tim Lapetino
Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
The Impossible Fortress, Jason Rekulak
The King of Kong
Pac-Man Fever, Buckner & Garcia