|Video game consoles|
First generation (1972–1977)
A video game console is an interactive entertainment computer or electronic device that manipulates the video display signal of a display device (a television, monitor, etc. Video games were introduced as a commercial entertainment medium in 1971, becoming the basis for an important entertainment industry in the late 1970s/early 1980s in the United The first generation of Video game consoles lasted from 1972 until 1977 In the history of computer and video games the second generation (sometimes referred to as the early 8 bit era) began in 1976 with the release of the Fairchild The North American video game crash of 1983 (sometimes known as the video game crash of 1984 because it was in that year that the full effects of the crash became apparent In the History of computer and video games, the third generation (the latter half of which is sometimes known as the 8 bit era) began in 1983 with the Japanese In the History of computer and video games, the fourth generation (more commonly referred to as the 16 bit era) began on October 30, 1987 The fifth-generation era (more commonly known as the 32 bit era and occasionally after the release of the Nintendo 64, the 64 bit era and more rarely The sixth-generation era (sometimes referred to as the 128-bit era; see "Number of bits" below refers to the computer and Video games In the History of video games, the seventh generation, which is also the current generation primarily focuses on the consoles released since by Nintendo, This article contains a timeline of notable events in the history of video arcade gaming 1971 - 1979;1971 The Galaxy Game, the earliest known coin-operated The Golden Age of Video Arcade Games was a peak era of video arcade game popularity innovation and earnings Game development is the process by which a Game is produced Today this term most commonly refers to the development of Video games Overview Development Composite video is the format of an Analog television (picture only signal before it is combined with a sound signal and modulated onto an RF ) to display a game. The term "video game console" is used to distinguish a machine designed for consumers to buy and use solely for playing video games from a personal computer, which has many other functions, or arcade machines, which are designed for businesses that buy and then charge others to play. A video game is a Game that involves interaction with a User interface to generate visual feedback on a video device. A personal computer ( PC) is any Computer whose original sales price size and capabilities make it useful for individuals and which is intended to be operated An arcade cabinet, also known as an arcade machine or coin-op, is the housing within which an Arcade game 's Hardware resides
The "video" in "video game console" traditionally refers to a raster display device.  However, with the popular use of the term "video game" the term now implies all display types and formats. A video game is a Game that involves interaction with a User interface to generate visual feedback on a video device. The term "console" is used in the user manuals of several early video game systems. Its use, however, is not synonymous with "video game system" or the same as its modern usage. It refers to a specific part of the video game system. The Atari 2600, NES, and other consoles from those decades were called "video game systems" at the time. The Atari 2600 is a Video game console released in October 1977 The Nintendo Entertainment System (often abbreviated as NES or simply Nintendo) is an 8-bit Video game console that was released by 
The first company to use the term "console" to officially refer to its video game system was Fairchild with the Video Entertainment System (VES) in 1976. The Fairchild Channel F is a game console released by Fairchild Semiconductor in August 1976 at the retail price of $169  Since then, definition has widened to include entire systems, as well as to describe alternate platforms such as handheld game consoles, TV games, and multimedia devices. A handheld game console is a lightweight portable electronic machine for playing Video games Unlike Video game consoles the controls screen and speakers A TV game is an interactive entertainment device designed for use on a Television set that does not require the use of an actual Video game console for operation 
Although the first computer games appeared in the 50s, they used vector displays, not video. Video games were introduced as a commercial entertainment medium in 1971, becoming the basis for an important entertainment industry in the late 1970s/early 1980s in the United The first generation of Video game consoles lasted from 1972 until 1977 A personal computer Game (also known as a computer game or simply PC game) is a Video game played on a Personal computer, rather Vector graphics is the use of geometrical primitives such as points lines, Curves and shapes or Polygon (s which are all based It was not until 1972 that Magnavox released the first home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, invented by Ralph H. Baer. Magnavox ( Latin for "great voice" is an American Electronics company founded by Edwin Pridham and Peter L The Magnavox Odyssey is the world's first Video game console. Ralph H Baer (born March 8, 1922) is a German -born American Inventor, noted for his many contributions to Games and the The Odyssey was initially only moderately successful, and it was not until Atari's arcade game Pong popularized video games, that the public began to take more notice of the emerging industry. Pong is a first generation Video game released originally as a Coin -operated Arcade game by Atari Inc By the autumn of 1975 Magnavox, bowing to the popularity of Pong, cancelled the Odyssey and released a scaled down console that only played Pong and hockey, the Odyssey 100. Pong is a first generation Video game released originally as a Coin -operated Arcade game by Atari Inc Pong is a first generation Video game released originally as a Coin -operated Arcade game by Atari Inc A second "higher end" console, the Odyssey 200, was released with the 100 and added onscreen scoring, up to 4 players, and a third game – Smash. The Odyssey 200 is a Video game console with 3 Variations of Pong. Almost simultaneously released with Atari's own home Pong console through Sears, these consoles jump-started the consumer market. Sears Roebuck and Company, commonly known as Sears, is an American mid-range chain of International Department stores founded by Richard As with the arcade market, the home market was soon flooded by dedicated consoles that played simple pong and pong-derived games. A dedicated console is a Video game console that is dedicated to a built in game or games and is not equipped for additional games via cartridges or other media
Fairchild released the Fairchild Video Entertainment System (VES) in 1976. In the history of computer and video games the second generation (sometimes referred to as the early 8 bit era) began in 1976 with the release of the Fairchild The Fairchild Channel F is a game console released by Fairchild Semiconductor in August 1976 at the retail price of $169 While there had been previous game consoles that used cartridges, either the cartridges had no information and served the same function as flipping switches (the Odyssey) or the console itself was empty and the cartridge contained all of the game components. The VES, however, contained a programmable microprocessor so its cartridges only needed a single ROM chip to store microprocessor instructions.
RCA and Atari soon released their own cartridge-based consoles.
In 1977, manufacturers of older obsolete consoles sold their systems at a loss to clear stock, creating a glut in the market and causing Fairchild and RCA to abandon their game consoles. Only Atari and Magnavox stayed in the home console market.
The VES continued to be sold at a profit after the 1977 crash, and both Bally (with their Home Library Computer in 1977) and Magnavox (with the Odyssey 2 in 1978) brought their own programmable cartridge-based consoles to the market. The Astrocade is an early video game console and simple computer system designed by a team at Midway, the Videogame division of Bally. The Magnavox Odyssey², known in Europe as the Philips Videopac G7000, in Brazil as the Philips Odyssey, in the United States However it wasn't until Atari released a conversion of the arcade hit Space Invaders in 1980 that the home console industry was completely revived. is an arcade Video game designed by Tomohiro Nishikado, and released in 1978 Many consumers bought an Atari just for Space Invaders. Space Invaders' unprecedented success started the trend of console manufacturers trying to get exclusive rights to arcade titles, and the trend of advertisements for game consoles claiming to bring the arcade experience home.
Throughout the early 1980s, other companies released video game consoles of their own. Many of the video game systems were technically superior to the Atari 2600, and marketed as improvements over the Atari 2600. However, Atari dominated the console market throughout the early 1980s.
In 1983, the video game business suffered a much more severe crash. A flood of consoles, of low quality video games by smaller companies (especially for the 2600), industry leader Atari hyping games such as E.T. that were poorly received, and a growing number of home computer users caused consumers and retailers to lose faith and interest in video game consoles. A home computer was a class of Personal computer entering the market in 1977 and becoming common during the 1980s Most video game companies filed for bankruptcy, or moved into other industries, abandoning their game consoles. Mattel Electronics sold the rights for their Intellivision system to the INTV Corporation, who continued to produce Intellivision consoles and develop new games for the Intellivision until 1991. Mattel Inc ( is the world's largest Toy importing company based on revenue The Intellivision is a Video game console released by Mattel in 1979. All other North American game consoles were discontinued by 1984.
In 1983, Nintendo released the Famicom in Japan. In the History of computer and video games, the third generation (the latter half of which is sometimes known as the 8 bit era) began in 1983 with the Japanese The Nintendo Entertainment System (often abbreviated as NES or simply Nintendo) is an 8-bit Video game console that was released by Like the ColecoVision, the Famicom supported high-resolution sprites and tiled backgrounds, but with more colors. The ColecoVision is Coleco Industries ' second generation home Video game console and was released in August. This allowed Famicom games to be longer and have more detailed graphics. Nintendo brought their Famicom over to the US in the form of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1985. The Nintendo Entertainment System (often abbreviated as NES or simply Nintendo) is an 8-bit Video game console that was released by In the US, video games were seen as a fad that had already passed. To distinguish its product from older video game consoles, Nintendo used a front-loading cartridge port similar to a VCR on the NES, packaged the NES with a Super Mario Brothers game and a light gun (the Zapper), and originally advertised it as a toy. A light gun is a Pointing device for Computers and a control device for arcade and video games. The plastic "robot" (R. ROB ( R obotic O perating B uddy) is an accessory for the Nintendo Entertainment System. O. B. ) was also sold as an individual purchase item and in some cases packaged with the NES system.
Nintendo also built a lockout chip into the NES. In a general sense a lock-out chip is a chip within an electronic device to prevent other manufacturers from using a company's device to perform certain functions This kept third parties from producing their own cartridges and forced all developers to go through Nintendo to get NES games published. This allowed Nintendo to do things like prevent developers from releasing low-quality games or games not suitable for children and limit developers to five titles a year.
Like Space Invaders for the 2600, Nintendo found its breakout hit game in Super Mario Bros. Nintendo's success revived the video game industry and new consoles were soon introduced in the following years to compete with the NES. is a Platform game developed by Nintendo in late 1985 and published for the Nintendo Entertainment System, a sequel to the 1983 game Mario
Sega's Master System was intended to compete with the NES, but never gained any significant market share in the US and was barely profitable. The Sega Master System is an 8-bit cartridge-based Video game console that was manufactured by Sega and was first released in 1986. It fared notably better in PAL territories, especially Brazil.
Sega regained market share by releasing their next-generation console, the Sega Mega Drive, which was released in Japan on October 29, 1988, in the US in August 1989 (renamed as the Sega Genesis) and in Europe in 1990, two years before Nintendo could release the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). In the History of computer and video games, the fourth generation (more commonly referred to as the 16 bit era) began on October 30, 1987 The is a 16-bit Video game console released by Sega in Japan in 1988 North America in 1989 and the PAL region in 1990 Events 437 - Valentinian III, Western Roman Emperor, marries Licinia Eudoxia, daughter of his cousin Theodosius II Year 1988 ( MCMLXXXVIII) was a Leap year starting on Friday (link displays 1988 Gregorian calendar) The Super Nintendo Entertainment System or Super NES (also called SNES and Super Nintendo) is a 16-bit Video game console that was
Sega extended the Mega Drive with the Mega CD/Sega CD, to provide increased storage space for multimedia-based games that were then in vogue amongst the development community. The is an add-on device for the Sega Mega Drive that was released in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan. Later, Sega released the 32X, which added some of the polygon-processing functionality common in fifth-generation machines. The Sega 32X ( Japanese: セガ スーパー32X codenamed Project Mars is an add-on for the Sega Mega Drive Video game console by Sega However, the peripheral was a commercial failure due to lack of software support, with developers more keen to concentrate on more powerful machines, with a wider user base, such as the Saturn that followed shortly after.
Other consoles included in the fourth generation are NEC's TurboGrafx-16 and SNK Playmore's Neo Geo. is a Japanese multinational IT company headquartered in Minato Tokyo, Japan. The, known as TurboGrafx-16 in the USA is a Video game console developed by the Nippon Electric Company (NEC and released in Japan on October The Neo Geo is a cartridge -based arcade and home Video game system released in 1990 by Japanese game company SNK.
The first fifth generation consoles were the Atari Jaguar and the 3DO. The Atari Jaguar is a Video game console, released by Atari Corporation in. 3DO Interactive Multiplayer (often called simply 3DO) was a Video game console originally produced by Panasonic in. Both of these systems were much more powerful than the SNES or Mega Drive (known as Genesis in North America); they were better at rendering polygons, could display more onscreen colors, and the 3DO used CDs that contained far more information than cartridges and were cheaper to produce. A Compact Disc (also known as a CD) is an Optical disc used to store digital data, originally developed for storing digital audio Neither of these consoles were serious threats to Sega or Nintendo, though. is a multinational Video game Software and Hardware development company and a former Home computer is a Multinational corporation headquartered in Kyoto Japan founded on The 3DO cost more than the SNES and Genesis combined, and the Jaguar was extremely difficult to program for, leading to a lack of games that used its extra power. Both consoles would be discontinued in 1996.
Nintendo released games like Donkey Kong Country that could display a wide range of tones (something common in fifth generation games) by limiting the number of hues onscreen, and games like Star Fox that used an extra chip inside of the cartridge to display polygon graphics. Donkey Kong Country ( Super Donkey Kong in Japan is a Video game developed by Rare, featuring the popular arcade character Donkey Star Fox may refer to one of two Video games Star Fox, a video game published by Mythicon for the Atari 2600 Sega followed suit, releasing Vectorman and Virtua Racing (the latter of which used the Sega Virtua Processor). Vectorman is a Platform game developed by BlueSky Software and published by Sega for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis Virtua Racing or VR for short is a Formula 1 racing Arcade game, developed by Sega-AM2 and released in October
It was not until Sega's Saturn, Sony's PlayStation, and the Nintendo 64 were released that fifth generation consoles started to become popular. The is a 32-bit Video game console that was first released on November 22 1994 in Japan, May 11 1995 in North America is a multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato Tokyo, Japan, and one of the world's largest Media conglomerates with The PlayStation (abbreviated PS, PSone, PS1, or informally as PSX) is a 32-bit fifth generation Video game console The, often abbreviated as N64, is Nintendo 's third home Video game console for the international market The Saturn and PlayStation used CDs to store games, while the N64 used cartridges. All three cost far less than the 3DO, and were easier to program than the Jaguar. The Saturn also had 2D sprite handling power on par with the Neo-Geo. In Computer graphics, a sprite (also known by other names see Synonyms below is a two-dimensional/three-dimensional Image or Animation that
This generation saw a move towards PC-like architectures in gaming consoles, as well as a shift towards using DVDs for game media. The sixth-generation era (sometimes referred to as the 128-bit era; see "Number of bits" below refers to the computer and Video games DVD (also known as " Digital Versatile Disc " or " Digital Video Disc " - see Etymology)is This brought games that were both longer and more visually appealing. Furthermore, this generation also saw experimentation with online console gaming and implementing both flash and hard drive storage for game data.
The features introduced in this generation include using newer high-definition discs: Blu-ray Disc, utilized by the PlayStation 3, and HD DVD supported by the Xbox 360. In the History of video games, the seventh generation, which is also the current generation primarily focuses on the consoles released since by Nintendo, not insert the publicly disclosed HD DVD key into this article for the time being Another new technology is to use the motion of the controller as input (as demonstrated by the Wii and the PS3), and understanding where the controller is pointing on the screen (as implemented on the Wii).
Each new generation of console hardware made use of the rapid development of processing technology. Newer machines could output a greater range of colors, more sprites, and introduced graphical technologies such as scaling, and vector graphics. In Computer graphics, a sprite (also known by other names see Synonyms below is a two-dimensional/three-dimensional Image or Animation that Vector graphics is the use of geometrical primitives such as points lines, Curves and shapes or Polygon (s which are all based One way this increase in processing power was conveyed to consumers was through the measurement of "bits". A bit is a binary digit, taking a value of either 0 or 1 Binary digits are a basic unit of Information storage and communication The TurboGrafx-16, Sega Genesis, and SNES were among the first consoles to advertise the fact that they contained 16-bit processors. The, known as TurboGrafx-16 in the USA is a Video game console developed by the Nippon Electric Company (NEC and released in Japan on October This fourth generation of console hardware was often referred to as the 16-bit era, and the previous generation as the 8-bit.
The bit-value of a console referred to the word length of a console's processor (although the value was sometimes misused, for example the TurboGrafx 16 had only an 8-bit CPU, and the Genesis/Mega Drive had the 16/32 bit Motorola 68000, but both had a 16-bit dedicated graphics processor). In Computing, " word " is a term for the natural unit of data used by a particular computer design The Motorola 68000 is a 16/32-bit CISC Microprocessor core designed and marketed by Freescale Semiconductor (formerly Motorola Semiconductor As the graphical performance of console hardware is dependent on many factors, using bits was a crude way to gauge a console's overall ability, but served better to distinguish between generations.
Game cartridges consist of a printed circuit board housed inside of a plastic casing, with a connector allowing the device to interface with the console. A printed circuit board, or PCB, is used to mechanically support and electrically connect Electronic components using conductive pathways or traces The circuit board can contain a wide variety of components. All cartridge games contain at the minimum, read only memory with the software written on it. Many cartridges also carry components that increase the original console's power, such as extra RAM or a coprocessor. Components can also be added to extend the original hardware's functionality (such as gyroscopes, rumble packs, tilt-sensors, light sensors, etc. WarioWare Twisted!, known in Japan as is a Video game for Game Boy Advance by Nintendo. Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble is an action puzzle Video game published and developed by Nintendo for the Game Boy Color handheld ); this is more common on handheld consoles where the user does not interact with the game through a separate video game controller. 
Cartridges were the first external media to be used with home consoles and remained the most common until 1995 continued improvements in capacity (Nintendo 64 being the last mainstream game console to use cartridges).  Nevertheless, the relatively high manufacturing costs saw them completely replaced by optical media for home consoles by the early 21st century. Although, they are still in use in some handheld video game consoles.
Due to the aforementioned capabilities of cartridges such as more memory and coprocessors, those factors make it harder to reverse engineer consoles to be used on emulators.
Several consoles such as the Sega Master System and the TurboGrafx-16 have used different types of smart cards as an external medium. A smart card, chip card, or Integrated circuit card ( ICC) is any pocket-sized card with embedded integrated The Sega Master System is an 8-bit cartridge-based Video game console that was manufactured by Sega and was first released in 1986. The, known as TurboGrafx-16 in the USA is a Video game console developed by the Nippon Electric Company (NEC and released in Japan on October A smart card, chip card, or Integrated circuit card ( ICC) is any pocket-sized card with embedded integrated These cards function similar to simple cartridges. Information is stored on a chip that is housed in plastic. Cards are more compact and simpler than cartridges, though. This makes them cheaper to produce and smaller, but limits what can be done with them. Cards cannot hold extra components, and common cartridge techniques like bank switching (a technique used create very large games) were impossible to miniaturize into a card in the late 1980s. Bank switching (also known as "paging" but only loosely related to the ordinary meaning of " Paging " in computing was a technique common in 8-bit 
Compact Discs reduced much of the need for cards. Optical Discs can hold more information than cards, and are cheaper to produce. Many modern systems use writable memory cards for storage, but the Nintendo DS is the only modern system to use cards for game distribution. A memory card or flash memory card is a solid-state electronic Flash memory Data storage device used with Digital The is a dual-screen Handheld game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. Nintendo has long used cartridges with their Game Boy line of hand held consoles because of their durability, small size and low battery consumption. Nintendo switched to cards for the DS, because advances in memory technology made putting extra memory on the cartridge unnecessary. 
Home computers have long used magnetic storage devices. Magnetic storage and magnetic recording are terms from Engineering referring to the storage of Data on a Magnetized medium Both tape drives and floppy disk drives were common on early microcomputers. A tape drive, which is also known as a streamer, is a data storage device that reads and writes data stored on a magnetic tape. A floppy disk is an increasingly Obsolete data storage medium that is composed of a disk of thin flexible ("floppy" Magnetic storage medium encased microcomputer is a Computer with a Microprocessor as its Central processing unit. Their popularity is in large part because a tape drive or disk drive can write to any material it can read. However, magnetic media is volatile and can be more easily damaged than game cartridges or optical discs. 
Among the first consoles to use magnetic media were the Bally Astrocade and APF-M1000, both of which could use cassette tapes through expansions. The Astrocade is an early video game console and simple computer system designed by a team at Midway, the Videogame division of Bally. In Bally's case, this allowed the console to see new game development even after Bally dropped support for it. While magnetic media remained limited in use as a primary form of distribution, two popular subsequent consoles also had expansions available to allow them to use this format. The Starpath Supercharger can load Atari 2600 games from audio cassettes; Starpath used it to cheaply distribute their own games from 1982 to 1984 and today it is used by many programmers to test, distribute, and play homebrew software. The Starpath Supercharger was an add-on module created by Starpath to expand the game capabilities of the Atari 2600 Video game console. The Famicom Disk System was released by Nintendo in 1985 for the Japanese market. The was released on February 21, 1986 by Nintendo as a peripheral for the Family Computer ("Famicom" console in Japan. Nintendo sold the disks cheaply and sold vending machines where customers could have new games written to their disks up to 500 times. 
In the mid-1990s, various manufacturers shifted to optical media, specifically CD-ROM, for games. Although they were slower at loading game data than the cartridges available at that time, they were significantly cheaper to manufacture and had a larger capacity than the existing cartridge technology. By the early 21st century, all of the major home consoles used optical media, usually DVD-ROM or similar disks, which are widely replacing CD-ROM for data storage. The PlayStation 3 system uses even higher-capacity Blu-ray optical discs for games and movies while the Xbox 360 formerly used HD DVDs in the form of an external USB player add-on for movies, before it was discontinued. not insert the publicly disclosed HD DVD key into this article for the time being Microsoft still however, supports those who bought the accessory.
All three seventh generation consoles (the PlayStation 3, Wii, and Xbox 360) offer some kind of Internet games distribution service, allowing users to download games for a fee onto some form of non-volatile storage, typically a hard disk or flash memory. Recently the console manufacturers have been taking full advantage of internet distribution with arcade games, television shows and film trailers being available.