The History of Video Game Consoles: Part One

Everything you wanted to know about the video game consoles from your childhood.

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Take a look back at the early generations of video game consoles in part one of our three-part video series (click here for part twoclick here for part three). Hosted by yours truly, this installment features insight from Kotaku’s Stephen TotiloIGN’s Greg MillerSony’s Scott Rohde, and Video Games New York’s Giulio Graziani.

Check back for part two, which launches Thursday, December 26.
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24 comments
AnthonyNicholson
AnthonyNicholson

Shame that a lot of things were glossed over at the start.  They could at least have shown an Atari VCS, before it got changed to the 2600.


As for the NES, well technically it is wrong.  The NES came out in 1985 in the North American market.  The Famicom (Japanese version) was released in 1983.  


What they should have talked about was that Nintendo thought because of the crash they had no way of getting into the North American market and so were looking at doing a distribution deal through Atari, and that the deal was complete, and was due to be signed at CES in 1983, Atari pulled out after seeing Donkey Kong running on a Coleco Adam computer.  

Atari's dumbest decision ever?

0rionsangel
0rionsangel

Anyone who grew up in the golden age of gaming like me, never counted the Coleco Vision and Atari 5200 as 2nd generation. No, for me that was the 3rd generation and NES and SMS were 4th generation, but whatever.


Since when do companies have two consoles in one generation? Remember, the the Coleco Vision was the successor to the Intellisvision and the Atari 5200 was the successor to the Atari 2600. It's like lumping NES and SNES in the same gen. Makes no sense. 

I guess it's easier since Coleco Vision and Atari 5200 came out before the crash. They can just lump it all together. Plus  the Coleco Vision and Atari 5200 were never as successful as the Atari 2600 and Intellivision. I do remember though at the time, that for me and my friends it was like the next chapter in video games. A new generation, but aw well. History sees it another way.

tharru
tharru

Was that Paul Rudd?

kevinkelly71
kevinkelly71

They sure glossed completely over a LOT of initial stuff. Pong? Intellivision? Colecovision?

Space_Cobra
Space_Cobra

Oh please!


Most of these folks just pass over things. You know, I am impressed by some fans' love and knowledge of Video Gaming past, but here we see holes, especially in the early past (I seem to be alone in the comments for having lived through them...).


First off, there were "Console Wars" in the early days...they were not as intense as you see now, but there were rivalries and even Company's TV commercials heated up things! With the Pong units and the first Magnavox, there was pretty much peace but when Magnavox II released against the Atari 2600?? Oh yeah! This "warfare" of "fan pride" became more clear when Intellivision was released and George Plimpton pointed out the differences of both systems. 


Although, I should point out the small feint/battle of certain Pong units. The video mentions the Telstar Pong unit and only mentions them, not mentioning the Atari units (along with variants that came afterward). The Telstar Pong unit was a product exclusively made for Sears and at the time, many of us believed this was the "poor-man's version" or the "cheap knock off" to Atari's own unit. Yes, the insides were EXACTLY the same in terms of electronics but one tended to be shamed for owning a Telstar. This was the first inkling of "console wars" to mmy mind.


Also, when the "Video Game Crash" or "Dark Ages" began, there were OTHER systems that tried to step away from calling itself a "Video Game Console" besides the Nintendo/Famicom. I remember this was the rise of PCs and most stated that one could do useful things, like accounting and other business stuff. Of course, games were made and it was later found out many bought those systems into their homes mostly motivated by playing games (via a survey on the matter)....although no one admitted to it.


I sometimes get mortified when most of these folks are knowledgable about their wave of systems, but miss some info about earlier systems. Ask me. I was there!  ;p


TheIkeHill
TheIkeHill

That was the sweetest time if you had SNES, N64, and PS1, God such an amazing time.

prodigy84bg
prodigy84bg

My brief history:

1994-97: Famicom (NES)

1997-99: Mega Drive 2 (Genesis)

1999-Present: PC

2010-Present: PS3

LeMaster
LeMaster

How was this abortion of a "history" permitted to be published online? 

LizZir
LizZir

umm you got the release date wrong for final fantasy 3 (usa).  you used the japanese famicom final fantasy iii

AngeloVarriale
AngeloVarriale

which kind of plugin i need to see the video on firefox?

TheBretsky
TheBretsky

Sadly glanced over my generation..  no Intellivision, ColecoVision... even the Atari shown was a later version.. not even the beautiful 6 switch Heavy Sixer with the wood front panel.. no mention of the Sears clones.. etc.. 

kiapurity
kiapurity

Need transcription, I'm deaf! :(

AndréLima
AndréLima

Nice video, but is there a version on YouTube? The plugin above is kind of not so good for me.

jbrasco
jbrasco

@Space_Cobra Don't forget the Telegames Atari 2600 too. I have one complete in box with the original game. 

jbrasco
jbrasco

@TheBretsky I wouldn't call them "clones" as Atari still made them. It was a partnership Atari had with Sears. Internally, they were exactly the same console. But, your point about not using that model is still valid.