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Videogame history: which was the first and how have they evolved?

Videogame history: which was the first and how have they evolved?

If we make a trip to the past and say in the 70s that video games will be fifty years later one of the industries that move the most money in the world, possibly create us complete psychopaths. The history of video games has gone through many ups and downs .

However, he has managed to get up and develop to the point that today we can create games that offer an experience as close to reality as possible . A reality in which we can fulfill our fantasies by avoiding the dangers it represents.

In this article we will show you the most important facts of the interesting history of video games that today entertain you on your computer, PS4 or mobile. At the end you will be a cult expert in this multimillion dollar industry .

What was the first video game in history and for what console ?

The first known video game was developed in 1952 and would be known as OXO , which would be a digital version of the game “Three in a row” , a project that was headed by Alexander Douglas, a professor at the University of Cambridgue. Douglas used Turing’s research principles to give artificial intelligence to his game, and so the user could compete against the machine.

History and evolution of videogames in each decade since its birth

While for many there is some confusion about the origin of video games, we must recognize that based on what many games are today, this has to be linked to the beginnings of artificial intelligence , which is used by all market titles.

In that sense, the first character we should mention is Alan Turing , a British mathematician and programmer who, after World War II, began working on a way to make a computer reason as a human. In this attempt, created what would be known as the Turing machine , which had the ability to play chess and even won a game against his wife in 1952.

50’s-60’s; the first steps

While Turing’s work was never marketed , and his intention was not to entertain but to make a machine think like a person, this was quoted and used basically for everyone the video games that developed below . The first of these would be the aforementioned OXO in 1952, which was not mass produced as such.

The following years would go slowly for an industry that until then had no form, and nobody seriously considered the development of this.

To see the next breakthrough we would have to wait until 1958 , when the American engineer William Higinbotham, who worked on the Manhatham Project from which the first nuclear weapons were born, created the Tennis for Two , a game on a huge computer that simulated a game of tennis.

The latter would not be commercial either. Until then, what had been produced were prototypes in which the enormous potential that these programs had at market level was barely visible. The 60s went practically blank and nobody else mentioned video games again .

70´s: the birth of the genre

The 70s were completely different from the previous ones. The researchers understood that the development of video games was linked to the development of devices that could execute them. Then, in 1971 the American Ralph Baer , who had been researching the work of Turing and Higinbotham for years, developed the first video game console in history, the Magnavox Odyssey .

This was a very primitive system that did not even use memories or condensers, so it was not able to keep track of the game and players had to score points manually. It had six cartridges that contained a different game each, and templates to paste to the TV screen to improve the experience .

This console can be considered a commercial success, since it raised more than 10 million dollars for the time with the sale of 100,000 units . This caught the attention of the capitalists who saw how a new industry was born for the entertainment of people.

That same year Atari was born , which is one of the most representative brands in the history of video games. This was founded by the Americans Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, who wasted no time and launched a huge arcade machine that contained an improved version of the pin pong that contained the Magnavox to the market. PONG.


This machine worked by inserting a coin , which would officially start the video game market in the United States . The success of PONG was total, and by 1974 Atari ceased to be a warehouse to become a huge company in Cylicon Valley that had more than 10,000 machines across the country. However, this growth could have been much greater were it not for the large amount of competition that was born by replicating the concept of PONG.

However, this decade Atari was by far the most important video game company. In 1974 they innovated with the idea of ​​bringing a new video console to American homes that would improve Magnavox . This would be the legendary PONG for Your Home TV , which would be a commercial success that would sell more than 150,000 units only during Christmas of that year.

PONG for Your Home significantly improved the Magnavox , with higher quality graphics and a much more fluid gameplay than it had until then. All this was possible thanks to an agreement of Atari with the company SEARS, which provided them with a microprocessor for their consoles.

The success of Atari was undeniable and was already one of the companies with the greatest assets in the United States . Its owner, Nolan Bushnel, makes the decision to sell it to Warner Comunnication for $ 26 million in 1976 . This gave Atari a huge budget, which got to work to develop another super console.

In 1977, the Atari UBSS was born , a powerful console with a control consisting of a lever and two buttons, giving a new gameplay experience. This would sell hundreds of thousands of copies the year of its launch and would be replicated by Mattel with its Intellivision and by many other companies, which would make more than 50% of American homes have a video game console.

In 1978 another historical event occurs because a Japanese company called Taito, would create Space Invader , a video game for Atari and Mattel consoles that would be a viral phenomenon with Millions of copies sold worldwide, because by then it was not only spoken in the United States but also in Europe and Asia.

By this time, computer science and computing were also growing by leaps and bounds, an industry that would always be linked to video games.

80’s; the era of Arcade

The 80’s arrived with Space Invaders as the best-selling video game in history. However, in 1980 this would come to an end with the birth of the first gammers icon ; Pacman.

Pacman was a game different from everything that had been produced to date , when everyone only thought about space invasions and laser shots in 8 bits. This instead was a maze in which there was a yellow head eating and running so that some viruses do not infect it.

By the end of that year it had become so popular that it surpassed Space Invaders as the best selling in the world , and today it continues to be one of the most commercialized copies in history.

Pacman would be what the entire world needed to realize the enormous potential of videogames on a commercial level, and even have its own television series. A year later in 1981 another resounding success would come to light; King Kong .

Donkey Kong was a platform game in which you had to dodge the huge barrels that a bad character gorilla threw at you. DK was the first video game created by the Japanese company Nintendo, which would later launch other legendary games such as Super Mario Bros or The Legend of Zelda throughout this same period.

In 1982 a group of four engineers who worked for Warner in Atari created Activision, which would be one of the first companies to manufacture video games independently for Atari. This company launches that same year Pitfall, a very successful adventure videogame too .

However, the market began to become saturated with bad competition that manufactured low quality games and would cause the company to fall into a huge bump because of the distrust it generated to the public. This would start the first black era of the industry, that would end in 1982 with Warner selling Actari, which would later disappear .

In Japan, who was starting to grow up was Nintendo, who created Family Computer in 1983 , a console that contained the company’s main successes. This would be so successful that it would allow the Japanese to import and arrive two years later in the United States.

Nintendo FC would be redesigned and later renamed for the US market, and would arrive at homes in 1985 under the name of NES or Nintendo Entertainment System . This console is one of the most legendary in history and would reposition video games as one of the world’s leading entertainment industries.

The NES called attention mainly because it included the company’s own games, which guaranteed the public that it would be enjoying a quality product. The most representative video game on the console was Super Mario Bros , which would become as famous as Pacman at the time, and even for children became more famous than Mikey Mouse himself Disney .