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How Well Do You Know Your Video Console History?

Since the early days of Pac-Man and, even earlier, Pong, video games have come a long way. Today, you can play reasonably priced games involving awesome interactivity, 3D graphics, and of high caliber, right in your home. Before becoming what they are today, unrealized by many are the numerous changes that had to take place.

The high quality we see today in games comes to us courtesy of the accompanying video gaming console. In addition to the graphics, the games themselves, and more, these consoles have also come a long way. To date, there are in excess of 70 various consoles. Who had or has the best console? With their revolutionary consoles, Sega and Nintendo were pitted against each other fiercely at the peak of video arcade games. They remain some of the biggest names where videogames are concerned.

Let's look at the evolution of video consoles.

Who Started It All?

The "Brown Box'' was, not surprisingly, a rectangular, bulky, brown wooden box that had two controllers attached. This circa 1967 unit was the first video game console. It had merely six simple games including a light-gun game, chase games, volleyball, handball, tennis, and ping-pong.


In 1972, Magnavox licensed the brown box technology resulting in the Odyssey, the first official video game console for the home. By today's standards, the graphics were primitive and there was no sound.

Atari's PONG

In 1973, so popular was the PONG arcade machine by Atari, they decided to make it into a console game for the home. In 1975 they succeeded. Magnavox fought back with their Odyssey 200 and Odyssey 100 versions. On-screen scoring was slightly modified over time, as were the graphics, but the games were basically the same, as were the consoles.

Additional game producers:

  • RCA
  • Fairchild
  • General Home Products’ Wonder Wizard

The Mid 70s to 1980 

A video game system was also put out by Coleco who, from 1977 to 1978, did quite well thanks, in part, to their different difficulty levels and colors.

In 1975, a Tele-Games Pong System by Atari was available at Sears.

Around 1978, the first video game console series was delivered by Nintendo who, for the next three decades, would be a huge name in the video gaming industry. They were only for sale in Japan at first.

Supergraphic capabilities were celebrated when, in 1977, Bally Astrocade contributed a version of their own. In 1979, Intellivision was introduced by Mattel. Coleco kept trying with pinball games, racing, and shooting games. Some upgraded consoles were put out by Magnavox, who got bought out by Phillips.

Dominating the top of the charts was the 2600 model by Atari.

The Early 80s

Video gaming's golden age had arrived by the early 80s. Experimentation was going on with RPG games, platform adventure games, fighting, and other non-Pong games.

All-time classics were released including Golden Acts, Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, Mario Brothers, and Pac-Man. Cartridge-based video game systems replaced dedicated consoles. The gaming scene was dominated by Nintendo and Sega.

New consoles were released by Coleco, Mattel, and Atari, but they couldn't measure up to the success of the two bigwigs. Coleco's last console was the ColecoVision.

Up to the 90s

In 1988, The Mega Drive/Genesis was put out by Sega. The SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) was Nintendo's answer. In the mid to late 1980s, a major console war took place. (TurboGrafx-16 tried to offer some competition but was unsuccessful.) In 1990, a new home video game console, with a high price tag and remarkable graphics, was introduced by SNK Neo Geo.

The Early 90s

Compact discs took over for game cartridges in the first part of the 90s. 3D graphics were soon added to video gaming capacities. Though Sega was still in control, a noble effort was put forth by an upgraded system from NEC TurboGrafx-16.

The CD-based Jaguar, by Atari, was their last console. It was 1993. The console lost out to SNES and Sega Genesis. A year later, the Sony PlayStation made big waves.

A US-based home computer manufacturer, Commodore, only lasted about a year.

The Mid to Late 90s 

In the mid to late 90s, Sega and Sony were leading players. Nintendo was still sticking to a cartridge system. A CD-based console was switched to by SNK Neo Geo, who, having apparently learned their lesson, also dropped their prices. (Consoles you’ve never heard of were also offered by Apple, Casio, and Bandai.)

The Millennium

The top players consisted of Nintendo, Sony's PlayStation 2, and Sega Dreamcast. In fact, Nintendo switched to a DVD-ROM GameCube from its former Nintendo 64 (which was cartridge-based).

Xbox, manufactured by Microsoft in 2001 was well-received. It featured Xbox Live, an online gaming service.

In 2004, relatively unheard of today, the XaviXPORT came out and very closely resembled what we now know as Nintendo Wii.

The Mid to Late 2000s

There were really only three major competitors by the time 2011 rolled around: Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

Claim to fame:

  • Nintendo Wii’s innovative remote senses 3D movements
  • PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 both are known for their full 1080p HD graphics

Two promising competitors, the EVO Smart Console and Hyperscan by Mattel, eventually gave up the ghost.

Get Your Video Console and Games Appraised At Wm. Roland Appraisers & Estate Advisors

Do you have vintage video game consoles and games that you’d like to sell? The downsizing and estate buying or liquidation services offered by Wm. Roland Appraisers & Estate advisors utilize our impressive level of market intelligence and expertise.

Contact us today if you’d like to find out more by phoning 212-425-0221.

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