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In , Sanders concluded a licensing agreement with television company Magnavox to release the system, which reached the market in September as the Magnavox Odyssey. The system launched with a dozen games included in the box, four more sold with a separate light gun , and six games sold separately, most of which were chase, racing, target shooting, or sports games. These games were activated using plug-in circuit cards that defined how the spots generated by the hardware would behave. Due to the limited abilities of the system, which could only render three spots and a line, most of the graphic and gameplay elements were actually defined by plastic overlays attached to the TV set along with accessories like boards, cards, and dice.

P&G’s Innovation Culture

Like Computer Space the Odyssey only performed modestly and failed to jump start a new industry. However, the system did directly influence the birth of a vibrant video arcade game industry after Ralph Baer's design ingenuity intersected Nolan Bushnell's entrepreneurial ambition. In , Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney decided to strike out on their own and incorporated their preexisting partnership as Atari. After seeing a demonstration of the Magnavox Odyssey ahead of its release, Bushnell charged new hire Allan Alcorn to create a version of that system's table tennis game as a practice project to familiarize himself with video game design.

Alcorn's version ended up being so fun that Atari decided to release it as Pong. Available in limited quantities in late , Pong began reaching the market in quantity in March , after which it ignited a new craze for ball-and-paddle video games in the coin-operated amusement industry. The success of Pong did not result in the displacement of traditional arcade amusements like pinball , but did lay the foundation for a successful video arcade game industry.

Roughly 70, video games, mostly ball-and-paddle variants, were sold in by a combination of recent startups like Atari, Ramtek, and Allied Leisure and established Chicago firms like Williams , Chicago Coin, and the Midway subsidiary of Bally Manufacturing.

P&G’s Innovation Culture

The video arcade game market remained in a state of flux for the remainder of the decade. The ball-and-paddle market collapsed in due to market saturation, which led to a significant drop in video game sales. Smaller manufacturers attempted to compensate by creating "cocktail table" cabinets for sale to non-traditional venues like higher class restaurants and lounges, but this market failed to fully develop. Larger companies like Atari and Midway turned to new genres to remain successful, especially racing games, one-on-one dueling games, and target shooting games.

Gun Fight was also one of the first arcade games to incorporate a microprocessor , starting a shift away from video arcade games engineered using dedicated TTL hardware to video games programmed in software. The video game was one of several concepts that helped to reform the image of the arcade as a seedy hangout for delinquents.

Using Games to Activate and Train Innovators

This in turn aided the growth of arcades in suburban shopping malls. The principle pioneer of the shopping mall arcade was Jules Millman, who established an arcade in a shopping mall in Harvey, Illinois, in By banning eating, drinking, and smoking, and maintaining a full staff at all times to keep an eye on the facilities, Millman created a safe environment where parents could feel safe leaving their older children while browsing other stores in the mall.

Millman founded American Amusements to establish more shopping mall arcades, which was purchased by Bally in and renamed Aladdin's Castle. Other entrepreneur's imitated Millman's format, and arcades became a mainstay of the shopping mall by the end of the decade. The emergence of solid state pinball in the late s, in which electro-mechanical technologies like relays were replaced by the newly emerging microprocessor, temporarily stole the limelight from video games, which once again entered a period of decline in and While individual games like Atari's Breakout and Cinematronics ' Space Wars sold in large numbers during this period, overall profitability began to lag.

The market surged once again, however, after the introduction of the Taito game Space Invaders by Midway in The Magnavox Odyssey never caught on with the public, due largely to the limited functionality of its primitive technology. By the middle of the s, however, the ball-and-paddle craze in the arcade had ignited public interest in video games and continuing advances in integrated circuits had resulted in large-scale integration LSI microchips cheap enough to be incorporated into a consumer product. In , Magnavox reduced the part count of the Odyssey using a three-chip set created by Texas Instruments and released two new systems that only played ball-and-paddle games, the Odyssey and Odyssey Atari, meanwhile, entered the consumer market that same year with the single-chip Home Pong system designed by Harold Lee.

The next year, General Instrument released a "Pong-on-a-chip" LSI and made it available at a low price to any interested company. Toy company Coleco Industries used this chip to create the million-selling Telstar console model series —77 , while dozens of other companies released models as well. Overall, sales of dedicated ball-and-paddle systems in the U. A similar boom hit the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe, with much of the market supplied by clone manufacturers in Hong Kong. After , the dedicated console market in the United States collapsed.

A new wave of programmable systems hit the market starting with the Fairchild Channel F in that offered the possibility of purchasing and playing a wider variety of games stored on cartridges containing mask ROM that could be plugged directly into the CPU of the console. As older model dedicated consoles were heavily discounted and consumers with more purchasing power transitioned to the new programmable systems, newer dedicated systems with more advanced features like Video Pinball from Atari and the Odyssey were squeezed out by their lower priced predecessors and their more sophisticated programmable replacements.

This caused a brief dip in the market and the exit of industry leader Coleco, which failed to transition to programmable hardware.

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Fairchild remained in the new programmable market alongside Atari and Magnavox, which released the VCS and Odyssey 2 respectively. In the s, a number of computer games were created for mainframe and minicomputer systems, but these failed to achieve wide distribution due to the continuing scarcity of computer resources, a lack of sufficiently trained programmers interested in crafting entertainment products, and the difficulty in transferring programs between computers in different geographic areas.

By the end of the s, however, the situation had changed drastically. With the advent of time-sharing , which allowed the resources of a single mainframe to be parceled out among multiple users connected to the machine by terminals, computer access was no longer limited to a handful of individuals at an institution, creating more opportunities for students to create their own games. Furthermore, the widespread adoption of the PDP , released by Digital Equipment Corporation DEC in , and the portable UNIX operating system , developed at Bell Labs in and released generally in , created common programming environments across the country that reduced the difficulty of sharing programs between institutions.

Finally, the founding of the first magazines dedicated to computing like Creative Computing , the publication of the earliest program compilation books like BASIC Computer Games , and the spread of wide-area networks such as the ARPANET allowed programs to be shared more easily across great distances. As a result, many of the mainframe games created by college students in the s influenced subsequent developments in the video game industry in ways that, Spacewar! In the arcade and on home consoles, fast-paced action and real-time gameplay were the norm in genres like racing and target shooting.

On the mainframe, however, such games were generally not possible due both to the lack of adequate displays many computer terminals continued to rely on teletypes rather than monitors well into the s and even most CRT terminals could only render character-based graphics and insufficient processing power and memory to update game elements in real time. While s mainframes were more powerful than arcade and console hardware of the period, the need to parcel out computing resources to dozens of simultaneous users via time-sharing significantly hampered their abilities.

Thus, programmers of mainframe games focused on strategy and puzzle-solving mechanics over pure action. Notable games of the period include the tactical combat game Star Trek by Mike Mayfield , the hide-and-seek game Hunt the Wumpus by Gregory Yob , and the strategic war game Empire by Walter Bright. Expanded by Don Woods in with an emphasis on the high fantasy of J.

Tolkien , Adventure established a new genre based around exploration and inventory-based puzzle solving that made the transition to personal computers in the late s. While most games were created on hardware of limited graphic ability, one computer able to host more impressive games was the PLATO system developed at the University of Illinois. Intended as an educational computer, the system connected hundreds of users all over the United States via remote terminals that featured high-quality plasma displays and allowed users to interact with each other in real time.

Starting with top-down dungeon crawls like The Dungeon and The Game of Dungeons , more commonly referred to today by their filenames, pedit5 and dnd , PLATO RPGs soon transitioned to a first-person perspective with games like Moria , Oubliette , and Avatar , which often allowed multiple players to join forces to battle monsters and complete quests together. Like Adventure , these games ultimately inspired some of the earliest personal computer games. By , video games were well established in the U. That changed with the introduction of a new game developed in Japan.

While video games had been introduced to Japan soon after hitting the United States, the Japanese arcade industry had remained primarily focused on electro-mechanical driving and shooting games and a type of slot machine called the "medal game" that accepted and paid out in medals instead of currency so as not to be classified as a gambling game.

10 Gaming 'Innovations' That Made Everything Suck

In , the arrival of Breakout , distributed locally by the Nakamura Manufacturing Company , and the advent of table-top game units, pioneered by Taito, created new demand for video games in snack bars and tea houses. Taito designer Tomohiro Nishikado decided to build on the popularity of Breakout by replacing the paddle in the game with a gun battery and the bricks in the game with rows of aliens that descended line-by-line while firing at the player.

Taito released this game in as Space Invaders. Space Invaders introduced or popularized several important concepts in arcade video games, including play regulated by lives instead of a timer or set score, gaining extra lives through accumulating points, and the tracking of the high score achieved on the machine. It was also the first game to confront the player with waves of targets that shot back at the player and the first to include background music during game play, albeit a simple four-note loop.

With its intense game play and competitive scoring features, Space Invaders became a national phenomenon as over , invader games—counting clones and knockoffs—entered Japanese game centers by the middle of While not quite as popular in the United States, Space Invaders became the biggest hit the industry had seen since the Great Depression as Midway, serving as the North American manufacturer, moved over 60, cabinets.

The one-two punch of Space Invaders and the Atari game Asteroids , which moved 70, units and popularized the recording of multiple high scores in a table, resulted in video arcade games completely displacing pinball and other amusements to become the central attraction of not just the shopping mall arcade, but also a variety of street locations from convenience stores to bowling alleys to pizza parlors.

Many of the best-selling games of and such as Galaxian , Defender , Missile Command , Tempest , and Galaga focused on shooting mechanics and achieving high scores. Starting with Pac Man in , which sold 96, units in the United States, a new wave of games appeared that focused on identifiable characters and alternate mechanics such as navigating a maze or traversing a series of platforms. Aside from Pac Man and its sequel, Ms. Meanwhile, the number of arcades—defined as any location with ten or more games—more than doubled between July and July from over 10, to just over 25, After the collapse of the dedicated console market in , focus in the home shifted to the new programmable systems, in which game data was stored on ROM-based cartridges.

Fairchild semiconductor struck first in this market with the Channel F, but after losing millions in the digital watch business, the company took a conservative approach to the programmable console market and kept production runs of the system low. As a result, by the end of , Fairchild had only sold about , systems.

Atari followed Fairchild into the market in and sold between , and , systems that year. Magnavox joined the programmable market in with the Odyssey 2 , while toy company Mattel released the Intellivision in , which featured graphics superior to any of its competitors. After both Atari and Fairchild made a strong showing in , the market hit a difficult patch in when retailers resisted building inventory, believing that the newly emerging electronic handheld market would displace video games. Atari, for example, manufactured , systems, but proved unable to sell more than , to retail.

This helped precipitate a crisis at the company that saw co-founder and chairman Nolan Bushnell and president Joe Keenan forced out by Atari's parent company, Warner Communications, which had purchased Atari in largely on the potential of the VCS. Ultimately, home video games did well in the holiday season, and retailers proved more amenable to stocking them again in New Atari CEO Ray Kassar subsequently harnessed his company's leftover stock to help transform video game consoles into a year-round product rather than something just purchased by retailers for sale during the holiday season.

The real breakthrough for the home video game market occurred in when Atari released a conversion of the popular Space Invaders game for the VCS, which was licensed from Taito. In the early days of the programmable market, all of the games for a given system were developed by the firm that released the console.

That changed in when four Atari programmers, seeking greater recognition and financial reward for their contributions, struck out on their own to form Activision, the first third-party developer. The company went on to develop a string of hits including Kaboom! In , another group of Atari employees joined with ex-Mattel staff to form Imagic and experienced success with games like Demon Attack and Atlantis In , Atari released a more advanced console based on its 8-bit computer line, the Atari , which failed to perform as well as its predecessor.

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That same year, Coleco returned to the video game market with a new console, the ColecoVision, that featured near-arcade-quality graphics and shipped with a port of the popular arcade game Donkey Kong. Coleco sold out its entire run of , units in the holiday season as overall U. Ultimately, however, the rapid growth of the home console market could not be sustained, and the industry soon faced a serious downturn that would nearly wipe it out during the video game crash of While the fruit of retail development in early video games appeared mainly in video arcades and home consoles, home computers began appearing in the late s and were rapidly evolving in the s, allowing their owners to program simple games.

Hobbyist groups for the new computers soon formed and PC game software followed. Soon many of these games—at first clones of mainframe classics such as Star Trek , and then later ports or clones of popular arcade games such as Space Invaders , Frogger , [23] Pac-Man see Pac-Man clones [24] and Donkey Kong [25] —were being distributed through a variety of channels, such as printing the game's source code in books such as David Ahl's BASIC Computer Games , magazines Creative Computing , and newsletters, which allowed users to type in the code for themselves.

Early game designers like Crowther, Daglow and Yob found the computer code for their games—which they had never thought to copyright—published in books and magazines, with their names removed from the listings. Early home computers from Apple , Commodore , Tandy and others had many games that people typed in.

Games were also distributed by the physical mailing and selling of floppy disks, cassette tapes, and ROM cartridges. Soon a small cottage industry was formed, with amateur programmers selling disks in plastic bags put on the shelves of local shops or sent through the mail. Richard Garriott distributed several copies of his role-playing video game Akalabeth: World of Doom in plastic bags before the game was published. While some early s games were simple clones of existing arcade titles, the relatively low publishing costs for personal computer games allowed for bold, unique games.

Following the success of the Apple II and Commodore PET in the late s, a series of cheaper and incompatible rivals emerged in the early s. These rivals helped to catalyze both the home computer and game markets, by raising awareness of computing and gaming through their competing advertising campaigns. Games dominated home computers' software libraries. A compendium of reviews of Atari 8-bit software used pages for games compared to for all others.

The Commodore 64 was released to the public in August It found initial success because it was marketed and priced aggressively. It also used the same game controller ports popularized by the Atari , allowing gamers to use their old joysticks with the system.