History of Video Games
HISTORY OF VIDEO GAMES HOME CONSOLES
Here is a brief but complete history of home console video games, a little tribute of who we are and why a store like us exists.
1972 – MAGNAVOX ODYSSEY designed by Ralph Baer, Bill Harrison and Bill Rusch of Sanders Associates on a idea of Ralph Baer who had a working prototype in 1968. In the 3 years of its existence Odyssey sold more than 200,000 units. The system works with batteries and had no sound. There were 12 games available sold with the console in 6 cartridges plus another 10 that could be bought separately, and Percepts that could be acquired only through mail as well as an extra Soccer game released only in Europe. It was released at the advertised price of $99.95
1 Cartridges #1 (Table Tennis)
2 Cartridges #2 (Ski, Simon Says)
3 Cartridges #3 (Tennis, Analogic, Hockey, Football - for passing and kicking- )
4 Cartridges #4 (Cat and Mouse, Football – for running -, Haunted House)
5 Cartridges #5 (Submarine)
6 Cartridges #6 (Roulette, States)
7 Fun Zoo
14 Interplanetary Voyage
16 Brain Wave
17 Shootout, Dogfight and Prehistoric Safari
18 Shooting Gallery
20 Soccer (IMPORT, not originally available in US)
Around the world there has been at least 3 more modified versions of the Odyssey released: In Spain the OVERKAl, in Argentina the TELEMATCH de Panoramic and in Sweden the KANAL-34
A very complete description and FAQ about the odyssey can be found at http://www.pong-story.com/o1faq.txt
1974 – MATTEL AUTO RACE - The first hand held electronic game. It hit the market in 1976 and it was pretty much forgotten with the release of Mattel Football in 1977.
1975 – ATARI PONG - the home version of the successful arcade game. Designed by Al Alcorn, Bob Brown, and Harold Lee. It sold at $100. Atari Pong contains one game for up to two players. The commercial success of Atari Pong was incredible and in the few years following its release almost 500 clone machines wouold be produced through varying companies. Here is a short list of a few of those titles:
- APF TV Fun (1977)
- Coleco Telstar (1976) Three PONG variants (hockey, handball, tennis), two paddle controllers fixed on console.
- Coleco Telstar Classic (1976) Same as the Telstar, wood grain case.
- Coleco Telstar Deluxe (1977), same as the Telstar but brown pedestal case with wood panel.
- Coleco Telstar Ranger (1977) Four PONG variants (hockey, handball, tennis, jai alai) and two gun games (target, skeet) includes revolver-style light gun and separate paddle controllers.
- Coleco Telsar Alpha (1977)
- Coleco Telstar Colormatic (1977) Same as the Telstar Alpha but with detached wired paddles and color graphics.
- Coleco Telstar Regent (1977) Same as the Telstar Colormatic but no color and black and white case.
- Coleco Telstar Combat (1977) Four variations on Kee Games’ Tank, four fixed joysticks (two per player
- Coleco Telstar Sportsman (1978)
- Coleco Telstar Colortron (1978) In color, built in sound, fixed paddles.
- Coleco Telstar Marksman -1978) Four PONG variants and two gun games in color.
- Coleco Telstar Galaxy (1978)
- Coleco Telstar Gemini - (1978) Four pinball games and two light-gun games in color, light gun.
- Epoch TV Baseball (1978)
- Microelectric Systems Ricochet, (1976)
- Nintendo’s Color TV Game 6 (1977)
- Nintendo’s Color TV Game 15 (1978)
- Nintendo racing 112 (1978) a car racing console with a total of 112 game combinations.
- Nintendo Color TV Block Kusure (1979)
- Nintendo Computer TV Game (1980)
- Ridgewood Gamatic 7600
- Stella Electronique Combat Lunaire (1978)
1975 – MAGNAVOX ODYSSEY 100 – Replaced the first Odyssey and didn’t use cartridges. It plays 2 games: Tennis and Hockey and it was sold for $99.
1975 – MAGNAVOX ODYSSEY 200 – This version added a few features compared with the 100 model. A new game: Smash and an option for 2 to 4 players. The first-generation was sold for $129 on Christmas 1975.
1975 – PHILIPS TELE-SPIEL ES-2201 – Was one of the first European consoles. There were no games built-in, and it was sold with a Tennis game cartridge. Four more cartridges were available (Pelota, Skeet shooting, Racing and Ghostchaser). Black and White. Release price around $70
1976 – MAGNAVOX ODYSSEY 300 - The first Odyssey to offer digital on-screen. 3 Games as the previous model.
1976 – MAGNAVOX ODYSSEY 400 – It plays the same games of the Odyssey 200 but it adds on-screen digital scoring.
1976 – MAGNAVOX ODYSSEY 500 – One extra game than the Odyssey 400 (soccer) and color graphics.
1976 – FAIRCHILD CHANNEL F – Originally sold at $169.95. It was the first cartridge games system ever released. There are 21 games for the system.
It was discontinued in 1978.
List of games:
2 Desert Fox/Shooting Gallery
3 Video Blackjack
5 Space War
6 Math Quiz 1
7 Math Quiz 2
8 Magic Numbers/Mind reader/Nim
9 Drag Strip
13 Robot War/Torpedo Alley
14 Sonar Search
15 Memory Match 1 & 2
16 Dodge It
17 Pinball Challenge
20 Video Whizball
22 Slot Machine (Zircon)
23 Galactic Space Wars/Lunar Lander (Zircon)
24 Pro Football (Zircon)
25 Casino Royale
26 Alien Invasion (Zircon)
Built-in games Hockey, Tennis and 2 drawing programs
Demo Demonstration Cartridge
Demo 2 Demonstration Cartridge 2
1976 – RCA STUDIO II – Released at a price of $149. It used key pad controllers and was discontinued in 1979.
1977 – ATARI 2600 designed by Joe Decure, Harold Lee, and Steve Meyer. Released at an introductory price of $199.95. 128 bytes of RAM Memory. Originally called Atari VCS (video Computer System), it sold over 30 million units (wikipedia put the number at 40 million), having its best year Christmas season of 1980. Initially released to play 9 cartridges, it has amassed a library of over a thousand games, some of which are still being produced to this day.
1977 – MAGNAVOX ODYSSEY 2000 - It played 4 games: Practice, Smash, Hockey ans Tennis.
1977 – MAGNAVOX ODYSSEY 3000 - It played the same 4 games as the previous model and it has additional difficulty settings for Speed, Angle and Player Size. The biggest difference is the detachable controllers that made it easier to play.
1977 – MAGNAVOX ODYSSEY 4000 – The last pong type system released by Magnavox. It had 8 different games
1977 – MATTEL ELECTRONICS FOOTBALL – Distributed initially throughout Sears, it was labeled Football initially (the first 100,000 labels) and after Football I. It sold over half million units. The first models can run on an AC adapter but this was later removed.
1977 – ATARI STUNT CYCLE – A home arcade derived from the famous Atari arcade coin machine. The game gives the player the feel of riding a real motorcycle. Full of stunts, it gave the player with the excitment of imitating the then famous Evil Knievel.
1978 - COLECO TELSTAR ARCADE - A cartridge-based, triangular case included a light gun, steering wheel with gear shift, and paddles, one on each side. The Telstar Arcade is maybe one of the most interesting systems made by Coleco, and also the most advanced PONG system released in America, although it played non-PONG games. Coleco used an uncommon cartridge format: a silver triangular case. Coleco released only four cartridges. The first one was sold with the system and the others were available separately for the price of $25. Two flyers came with the system to order cartridges #2 and #3.
1978 – INTERTON VC4000 - The Interton VC 4000 was quite popular in Germany. The console is quite obscure outside Germany, but many “software compatible” systems can be found throughout Europe. About 40 cartridges were released and the console had a price release of around $180.
1978 – PRINZTRONIC MICRO 5500 - The Prinztronic 5500 was marketed in Europe and Oceania (New Zealand). In Germany it was sold as the SHG Blackpoint (different models exist). There was 7 maybe 8 cartridges released.
1978 – BALLY PROFESSIONAL ARCADE – In 1975 Bally decided to create a video game division called Midway (referred to as Bally/Midway) for the purpose of entering this market. In 1977 Bally released the Bally Home Library Computer, available only by mail order and shipped only a year later on 1978. At that point Bally renamed the console Bally Professional Arcade and sold it at computer stores at the high price of $299. The console which includes two built-in games, as well as a calculator, had a lot of problems with most of the units from the first shipment having to be replaced. After these setbacks, as well as the lack of experience the company had with the industry, Bally chose to stop supporting the system in 1979.
1978 - ODYSSEY 2 – Released at a price of $199.95. In Europe released by the mother house Philips as PHILIPS VIDEOPACK G7000. Both system were at the time advertised as “the most advanced system on earth." They were equipped with built in keyboards.
1978 – MATTEL ELECTRONICS BASEBALL – Another led based hand held by Mattel. Sold in 2 different boxes, the first generation was a little larger.
1978 - ATARI TOUCH ME – 3 games in 1. The only one of the 3 hand held series produced by the new division, Atari Electronic Games that came out (the other two, which never reached the market, are Breakout and Space Invaders).
1979 - MATTEL INTELLIVISION – released at a price of $300. 159 by 96 pixel background resolution; 16 colors; plays external ROM game cartridges 1979 – CHANNEL F SYSTEM II – released by Zircon who bought the license from Fairchild at a competitive price of $99. To work the system had to be turned on, the cartridge inserted and finally the reset button pushed. It had removable controllers. Only 6 games released.
1979 – MILTON BRADLEY MICROVISION – It has the distinction of being the first cartridge-based hand held gaming unit with an LCD display. The cartridges were extremely susceptible to damage from static discharge, making it very unpopular. A total of 13 titles were released between 1979 and 1981, including the Block Buster pack-in cartridge. Discontinued in 1981
- Complete list of Microvision game releases
- Block Buster (1979)
- Bowling (1979)
- Connect Four (1979)
- Mindbuster (1979)
- Pinball (1979)
- Star Trek Phaser Strike (1979)
- Vegas Slots (1979)
- Baseball (1980)
- Sea Duel (1980)
- Alien Raiders (1981)
- Cosmic Hunter (1981)
- Barrage (1982)
- Super Blockbuster (1982)
1980 - 1991 - NINTENDO GAME & WATCH - We like to mention in this short video games history he famous Game and Watch created during an entire decade by game designer Gunpei Yokoi for Nintendo. The 60 Games and Watch created are divided in 11 series:
- Ball (28th Apr 1980)
- Flagman (5th Jun 1980)
- Vermin (10th Jul 1980)
- Fire (31st Jul 1980)
- Judge (4th Oct 1980)
- Helmet (29th Jan 1981)
- Helmet (21st Feb 1981)
- Lion (29th Apr 1981)
- Parachute (19th Jun 1981)
- Octopus (16th Jul 1981)
- Popeye ( 5th Aug 1981)
- Chef (8th Sep 1981)
- Mickey Mouse (9th Oct 1981)
- Egg (9th Oct 1981)
- Fire (4th Dec 1981)
- Turtle Bridge (1st Feb 1982)
- Fire Attack (26th Mar 1982)
- Snoopy Tennis (28th Apr 1982)
New Wide Screen
- Donkey Kong Jr.(26th Oct 1982)
- Mario’s Cement Factory (16th Jun 1983)
- Manhole (24th Aug 1983)
- Tropical Fish (New Wide Screen, Jul 1985)
- Super Mario Bros. (March 1988)
- Climber (March 1988)
- Balloon Fight (March 1988)
- Mario the Juggler (October 1991)
- Oil Panic (28th May 1982)
- Donkey Kong (3rd Jun 1982)
- Mickey & Donald (12th Nov 1982)
- Green House (6th Dec 1982)
- Mario Bros. (14th Mar 1983)
- Rain Shower (August 1983)
- Life Boat (October 1983)
- Pinball (5th Dec 1983)
- Black Jack (15th Feb 1985)
- Squish (April 1986)
- Bombsweeper (June 1987)
- Safebuster (January 1988)
- Goldcliff (October 1988)
- Zelda (August 1989)
- Tetris (Unreleased)
- Boukas (Multi Screen, Unreleased)
- Donkey Kong Jr. (28th Apr 1983)
- Mario’s Cement Factory (28th Apr 1983)
- Snoopy (5th Jun 1983)
- Popeye (August 1983)
- Snoopy (30th Aug 1983)
- Popeye (30th Aug 1983)
- Donkey Kong Jr. (7th Oct 1983)
- Mario’s Bombs Away (10th Nov 1983)
- Mickey Mouse (February 1984)
- Donkey Kong Circus (September 1984)
- Spitball Sparky (7th Feb 1984)
- Crab Grab (21st Feb 1984)
- Boxing : Punch-Out (31st Jul 1984)
- Donkey Kong 3 (20th Aug 1984)
- Donkey Kong Hockey (13th Nov 1984)
- Super Mario Bros. (June 1986)
- Climber (July 1986)
- Balloon Fight (November 1986)
- Super Mario Bros. (August 1987)
- Donkey Kong 2 (Multi Screen, 7th Mar 1983)
- Lion (Gold, 29th Apr 1891)
- Manhole (New Wide Screen, 24th Aug 1983)
- Mario Bros. (Multi Screen, 14th Mar 1983)
- Mickey Mouse (Wide Screen, 9th Oct 1981)
- Rain Shower (Multi Screen, August 1983)
- Snoopy Tennis (Wide Screen, 28th Apr 1982)
- Squish (Multi Screen, April 1986)
- Super Mario Bros. (New Wide Screen, March 1988)
1981 – EMERSON ARCADIA 2001 - Produced by Emerson it came out with a full library of 51 games. Much smaller and power full than the Atari 2600. Because of the release timing (immediately before the much more advanced Atari 5200 and Colecovision) and Atari exclusive rights of many of the popular games it disappeared very fast from the market.
1981- BALLY COMPUTER SYSTEM - Even if the to many defects killed the 1978 Bally Professional Arcade, there was still a group of enthusiast which decided to buy the system from Bally and reintroduced in 1981 under the new name of Bally Computer System. The new company, Astrovision sold the console and included the Basic Programming Cart FREE.
1982 - ASTROCADE - In 1982 Astrovision changed his name to Astrocade and renames the Bally Computer System “Astrocade”. The Astrocade had 256 colors, up to 4 controllers, and it had a Light Pen as accessory to use with Creative Crayon Cart. The tapes are in the shape of a cassette.
1982 - COLECO COLECOVISION - Released in August 1982 at the price of $199.95. Initially with a catalog of 12 games between 1982 and 1985 the catalog expanded to 170 titles. The Colecovision allow an extra attachment the “Coleco Expansion Module 1″ which allowed to play Atari 2600 games on the system. It was still sold after Atari sued Coleco and start to collect royalties fees. On the same year Coleco sold over half million systems and passed the million next year until the famous video games debacle of 1983. It stop production in 1984 after having sold over 6 millions units.
1982 – ATARI 5200 - Released in November 1982 with the novelty of 4 Controllers ports, automatic game switch (so you could automatically disconnect the system to watch TV) and a revolutionary new controller with an analog joystick, numeric keypad, two fire buttons and game function keys for Start, Pause, and Reset. The controller unfortunately became one of the biggest flow of the 5200 breaking to fast and to often. One of the biggest problems of the Atari 5200 was the software incompatibility with the previous 2600 cartridges and even if in 1983 Atari released an adapter that incompatibility added to the controllers flows killed the system which was discontinued in 1984. The game library released was very small and add up to only 70 games.
1982 – MILTON BRADLEY – GCE VECTREX - released at the price of $199. It incorporate a 9 inch monitor and uses screen overlays to give the illusion of color. Vectrex exited the market in 1984.
- List of game titles:
3D Crazy Coaster
3D Narrow Escape
AnimAction (requires light pen)
Art Master (requires light pen)
Blitz! Action Football
Clean Sweep (aka Mr. Boston)
Debris (new title developed in 2005)
Engine Analyzer (requires light pen)
Flipper Pinball (aka Spinball)
Fortress of Narzod
Gravitrex (new title developed in 2002, based on Gravitar)
Heads Up Action Soccer
Hyperchase Auto Race
I, Cyborg (new title developed in 2004)
Mail Plane (requires light pen)
Melody Master (requires light pen)
Melody Master II
Moon Lander (new title developed in 2000, based on Lunar Lander)
Nebula Commander (new title developed in 2005)
Protector (new title developed in 2003)
Revector (new title developed in 2004)
Space Wars (adaptation of Computer Space)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Thrust (new title developed in 2004)
Tour De France
Vec Sports Boxing
War of the Robots (new title developed in 2003)
Web Warp (aka Web Wars)
Yasi (new title developed in 2003)
1984 – ATARI 7800 - Designed by General Computer Corporation with the intention of being upgraded to a full home computer system with a keyboard and attachments for printer and disk drives (on the same keyboard). In 1984 Atari was sold and the production was stopped. It will be re-released in 1987, unfortunately in a market already dominated by the new Nintendo NES system. It finally died in 1992.
1985 – NINTENDO NES – Designed by Masayuki Uemura. Probably the most successful video game console ever made. (NIntendo claim to have sold more than 60 millions unit worldwide). It was first released in U.S. in October 1985, following the launch in Japan in 1983 under the name of Family Computer, most known as Famicom. The NES represents a new era in the video games industry after the big crash of 1983. It’s the third generation or the 8-bit era. In 1993 was re-designed and re-released in a top loading version called NES2 which included the famous “dog-bone” controller. The new release price in a time already dominated by the 16-bit consoles was $49.99.
The NES has 671 officially licensed games List of nes games in pdf format by Nintendo plus 87 unlicensed.
To that we should add few prototypes and the Grey and Gold Nintendo World Championship 1990, the holy grail of video games, specifically designed for the 1990 Nintendo World Championship.
At that time Nintendo NES owned an impossible to match market share of 90%.
1986 - SEGA MASTER SYSTEM - The Sega Master System or SMS came out at the end of 1986 to compete the supremacy of the NES. It was very popular in Europe and Brazil but never really challenged the NES in the USA neither in Japan. Even if superior in quality o the Nintendo it couldn’t compete with exclusive agreements Nintendo made with third party games developers. In 1990 after Sega sold first and took back after the rights to the system, it came out the Sega Master System II but in 1992 pulled off the plug, due even to the growing popularity oh his Sega Genesis. On some console versions, a hidden game was built in the console. that can be revealed pushing “up” on the pad while pressing buttons 1 and 2 simultaneously: Snail Maze, a puzzle game with 12 levels of labyrinths.
1987 – ATARI XEGS - The last game console produced by Atari. Pretty much with the same specs than the 5200. It has standard I/O port, cartridge port, expansion port, 2 joystick port and an extra port for tape drive, printer, disk drive or modem. The Atari XEGS looks like something between a computer and a game console. Atari stop producing very fast and it became a very collectible system.
1988 – NEC TURBOGRAFX 16 released in Japan in 1988 as the PC Engine, the system was renamed the Turbografx-16 when it reached North America in 1989. Although it was advertised as a 16-bit game machine, it actually had an 8-bit CPU, 65802 @ 16 MHz. It did contain a separate 16-bit graphics chip however. The Turbografx-16 became the first system to have a CD-player attachment.
1989 – SEGA GENESIS - Retailed at $189.99 with the Alter Beast cartridge, Sega Genesis become immediately the biggest challenger of Nintendo supremacy, using at his own advantage the fact that it came out before the new 16 bit system by Nintendo (the SNES was released at the end of 1990). The Sega Genesis challenged Nintendo supremacy until 1993 with a good third party game developers support and sold worldwide nearly 30 millions units. (To remember was the famous ad by Sega: “Genesis does what Nintendon’t”) Sega Genesis was produce in the U.S. until the end of 1998, but at the end of 1994 had already lost his predominant market share. In the U.S. the Sega Genesis came out in 2 different variation: after the original big rectangular one, Sega released the Genesis 2 in 1994. Genesis 2 use a different AC adapter as well as a different RF switch (the first version ones are compatible with the NES). The shape is more square and it came out bundled with Sonic the Hedgehog 2 game. A third popular version was produced in 1998 by Majesco for Sega and released at the price of $29.99.
1989 – NINTENDO GAME BOY – Released at a price of $100. It used black and green LCD screen with interchangeable cartridges. The release of the Game Boy invented by the legendary Gunpei Yokoi is connected to the game Tetris, which is supposed to support the launch of the new portable system. The release of Tetris, invented by the russian mathematician Alexey Pazhitno will create a legal battle between Atari and Nintendo for the right of the game that involved even the russian government and which ended only in 1993. During his live span the Nintendo Game Boy will sell over 60 million pieces.
1989 – ATARI LYNX – Introduced at a price of $149 was the first portable color system. It come out extremely late after Atari try many times to come out with a portable system. This intent start in 1981 with the Atari 2200, immediately abandoned and never released for the many bugs and ended with the acquire of Epyx in 1987, the small company responsible for design a revolutionary new portable game system called the Handy, that Atari renamed Lynx and released onlytwo years later. Over 100 games were released for the system, and probably another 50 never arrived to the shelves, The strong competition of the Nintendo Game Boy and the Sega Game Gear made the Atari Lynx slowly disappeared in few years.
1990 – SNK NEO-GEO - The Neo Geo is a cartridge based video game system release in 1990 by SNK (Shin Nihon Kikaku, or New Japan Project) . The system was released for arcade (MVS, Multi Video System) and as home console (AES, Advanced Entertainment System). The system was the better graphic and sound system available. Initially the AES was available only for rent out for use in hotels. After some time SNK realized that there were enough people interested in buying the system for home use regardless of price so SNK began marketing the Neo Geo AES as a 24bit home console. The release price ($649.99) was prohibitive and made it immediately an elite console.
It was released in 2 versions: the Gold System which included 2 joystick controllers, a memory card, and a game, Magician Lord and the rare Silver System that was the core system.
The price of the games was very expensive too (around $200 each). SNK ceased to manufacture home consoles by the end of 1997, and the diffuse piracy of the cartridges is believed to have caused SNK to bankruptcy in 2000. The last game by SNK for the Neo Geo system, Samurai Shodown V Special, was released on October 19, 2004 and On August 31, 2007, SNK stopped offering maintenance and repairs to Neo Geo home consoles. Due to the scarcity and cost of the system and of the cartridge the Neo Geo AES became a very collectible item. Here is a complete list of the games released.
Today prices vary from $20 to over $1000 for a single cartridge.
1990 – SEGA GAME GEAR - The Sega Game Gear is essentially a portable version of the Sega Master System. It has been launched nn October 6, 1990 worldwide. Launch price was $150. Trying to compete with the Game Boy the Game Gear introduced a back lit color lcd screen. Unfortunately this extra performance caused the system to kill extremely fast the six AA batteries needed. The Game Gear averaged 5 hours of game play with 6 AA compared to the Game Boy’s 35 hours on only 2 AA. Game Gear, which built a game library of around 300 titles and a good variety of accessories including a TV Tuner and a Master Gear converter which allow to play Sega Master Games on the handheld. Game Gear sold over 11 million systems until 1997. In 2000 Majesco released a core version of the Game Gear for a reduced price.
1991 – SUPER NINTENDO - Released in Japan in 1990 and in North America in 1991. To fight Sega Genesis 16 bit market penetration and Sonic run, Nintendo launch the SNES console with Super Mario World. Is not anymore just a console war but Mario comes with a new game to try to re-establish Nintendo supremacy. The console war with Sega bring a bigger attantion on games and third party developers and a change to Nintendo policy: no more only 5 games release each year max for each developer and not anymore restriction for 2 years before any devoper could release a game for another console.. Super Nintendo had over 700 games (http://www.nintendo.com/consumer/downloads/snes_games.pdf)
1991 – PHILIPS CD-I - Co-developed by Philips and Sony in 1986 the CD-I or Compact Disk Interactive was released by Philips in 1991 at a stiff price of $699.99. The CD-I was a prototype of the modern multimedia system, not only a video game system but a multiplayer combination of an audio and VCD player, karaoke and video game console. Although extensively marketed by Philips the interest for the CD-I remained low and rapidly went out of production on 1994. The console has still its attractive as a collectible: three Legend of Zelda games were released: Link: The Faces of Evil, Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon and Zelda’s Adventure. Nintendo and Philips had established an agreement to co-develop a CD-ROM enhancement for the SNES (after Nintendo and Sony scrapped a previous deal, which would eventually result in the creation of the PlayStation), and Philips was contractually allowed to continue using Nintendo characters after the deal fell through.
Four different models had been produced:
- CD-i player 200 series: the basic model ;
- CD-i player 300 series: designed for the professional market and not available to home consumers;
- CD-i player 400 series: a budget model designed to compete with game consoles;
- CD-i player 600 series: designed for professional applications and software development. Units in this line generally include support for floppy disk drives, keyboards and other computer peripherals.
1992 – SEGA CD - It came out as a CD-ROM-based expansion for the Genesis to compete with the PC engine Turbo Grafx and his U.S. correspondent Turbo Duo. It was launch in 1991 in japan and in 1992 in the U.S. In the first three weeks in the U.S. sold over 50,000 units. The high retail price $299.99 kept it from developing in a success as well as the initial poor game support. The first version Sega CD 1 sit on the button of the Sega Genesis and the second version Sega CD II on its right. It was redesigned in 1994 as Sega CDX, a compact portable version that allowed to play CDs as well as cartridges. A total of 148 games came out for the system.
1992 – NEC TURBO DUO - Released on October 1992 the TurboDuo is a combination of TurboGrafx-16 and TurboGrafx-CD with an enhanced motherboard at a price of $299.99. The original pack for the Turbo Duo included the system, one control pad, an AC adapter, RCA cables, Ys Book I & II (a TurboGrafx-CD title), a SuperCD disc including Bonk’s Adventure, Bonk’s Revenge, Gate of Thunder and a secret version of Bomberman and a coupon book to save on TurboDuo games and accessories. The system was also packaged with one random TurboChip game. Because of the better diffusion and popularity of the Sega Cd by late 1993 many retailers and large chain stores no longer carried the TurboDuo. Still software continued to be released until December 1995, the year that sign the end of the life for the platform.
1993 - 3DO – The 3DO REAL Interactive Multiplayer is the first 32 bit system. It is not manufactured by 3DO but instead released on a license by Panasonic and Goldstar (and Sanyo in Japan) at a launch price of $699.95. The 3DO is one of few CD-based units that feature neither regional lockout nor copy protection. The downside of the system is the fact that the manufacturers had to make a profit on the console only without counting on software licensing fees. The expensive price combined with some design flows as having only one controller port and only 5 buttons on the controllers made the system disappearing after only 3 years of production.
1993 - ATARI JAGUAR - The first 64 bit system, released by Atari at the end of 1993 in New York and San Francisco and only in 1994 on the rest of the U.S. The Jaguar will be a commercial failure and will sign the end of Atari on the home video game console market. The release price of $250 was attractive but the lack of games and a way to complex controller made it very difficult for the console to attract customers. In 1995 the launch of the Sega Saturn and Playstation signed the end of the system, which would be discontinued in 1996. By the same Atari Annual Reports from the introduction of Jaguar in late 1993 through the end of 1995, Atari sold approximately 125,000 units of Jaguar. As of December 31, 1995, Atari had approximately 100,000 units of Jaguar in inventory.
1993 - NEO GEO CD - In 1993 SNK decided to redesigned the Neo Geo and to create a more accessible version, this time utilizing the CD ROM format : Neo Geo CD. The Neo Geo CD cut production costs dramatically and this saving allowed SNK to reduce the system price to $300, the equivalent of one Neo Geo cartridge game. Unfortunately the new Neo Geo CD had very slow load times, 30 to 60 seconds between stages. The Neo Geo CD had three different versions: the FRONT LOADING, available only in Japan, the TOP LOADER, the most common of the three and finally the CDZ MODEL, a later version created by SNK in attempt to fix the horrendous load times. Unfortunately the CDZ was fixing one problem and creating another one: the CD ROM motor was much faster and more cache was fitted to speed up load times, but the system suffered from an over heating problem due to poor ventilation in the systems (doesn’t this remind you the xbox 360?).
1993 – PIONEER LASERACTIVE - Popular in Japan for use in the Love Hotel circuit it the LaserActive plays the 31 extremely hard to find LaserActive games:3-D Museum (U.S.), D Virtual Australia (Japan), Akuma no Shinban (Japan), Angel Mate (Japan), Back To The Edo (Japan), Bi Ryojon Collection I (Japan) and Bi Ryojon Collection II (Japan), Don Quixote (U.S.), The Demon’s Judgment, Dora Dora Paradise (Japan), Dr. Paolo No Totteoki Video (Japan), Ghost Rush! (U.S.), Goku (U.S.), The Great Pyramid (U.S. And Japan), High Roller Battle (U.S. And Japan), Hyperion (U.S.), I Will: The Story of London (U.S. And Japan), J.B. Harold - Blue Chicago Blues (U.S.), J.B. Harold - Manhattan Requiem (U.S.), Manhattan Requiem (Japan), Melon Brains (U.S. And Japan), Pretty Illusion - Minayo Watanabe, Pretty Illusion - Yuko Sakaki, Pyramid Patrol (U.S. And Japan), Quiz Econosaurus (U.S.), Road Blaster, Road Prosecutor (U.S.), Rocket Coaster (U.S.), Space Berserker (U.S. And Japan), Steel Driver, Time Gal (Japan), Triad Stone (U.S. And Japan), Vajra (U.S.), Vajra Ni (Japan), Virtual Cameraman I and II (Japan), Zapping TV Satsui (Japan). In addition to LaserActive games, separately sold add-on modules (referred to as “PAC” by Pioneer) expanded the hardware to include compatibility with the Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis and PC Engine/TurboGrafx 16 game cartridges and HuCards and CDs.
The LaserActive is believed to be one of the most expensive game consoles ever released. With a total cost topping out at about $3000, to purchase the complete system with some games. (the console was released at around $970).
This is an extremely rare system and a real collector jewel.
1995 – SEGA SATURN - The Sega Saturn was released on November 22, 1994 in Japan and on May 11, 1995 in the U.S.. It will be discontinued in 1998. The Saturn came out only a couple months apart from the rival Sony Playstation. The PSX’s lower price tag attracted many buyers. Retail price on the Saturn was $399 and that didn’t help if you compared to PSX’s $299. Included with the console was an eight button control pad and the game Virtua Fighter. The core system was later released for $349.99.
Unfortunately the direction chosen by Sega in the U.S. would pretty much kill the system very fast. Many of the best games from Japan (including many shooters) were never imported, RPG were ignored and good initial sales start to fail pretty fast . While Sony’s system earned the title of best all-around game machine, the Saturn was almost completely ignored. At today we still don’t know how many consoles have been sold in the U.S. (According to the 2006 book Invisible Engines: How Software Platforms Drive Innovation and Transform Industries by David S. Evans, Andrei Hagiu, and Richard Schmalensee, the Saturn had sold 17 million units;owever, according to a July 2007 GamePro article, the Saturn had sold 9.5 million units.)
Answer.com has a good and reliable list of Sega Saturn Games.
1995 – SONY PLAYSTATION Released in December 1994. The Playstation is the most controversial console in history. The concept dated long before in 1986 when Nintendo tried to apply the new development of CD-ROM to his video game business. The 2 companies developing the CD-Rom at the time were Sony and Philips. Nintendo decided to approach Sony to develop a CD-ROM add for the Supernintendo system and in 1988 the 2 companies signed a contract for the development of what was supposed to be call the SNES-CD. The new system was to be announced at the CES in 1991, but history tell us that Nintendo discover that the contract signed with Sony in facts was giving Sony unacceptable power over the rights of the console and even of the games developed for the console. So instead of announcing the partnership with Sony and the new SNES-CD project Nintendo announced that the project with Sony was abandoned in favor of a new alliance with Philips.
1995 – NINTENDO VIRTUAL BOY – Priced at 179.99 when released it's the only black spot on Nintendo history. Gunpei Yokoi, the man behind both the Game Boy and the Game & Watch handhelds, was the team leader behind the VR32 (Virtual reality 32 bit), after renamed Virtual Boy.
The system was supposed to be a new kind of experience for the consumer. For the first time a portable game console was capable of displaying "true 3D graphics" .
1996 – NINTENDO 64 Released in September 1996 at the rice of $199.99. The Nintendo 64 was the Nintendo answer to the 32 bit consoles of Sega and Sony. The system was working on 100Mbit cartridges, instead than CDs. The decision to choose cartridges over CDs was controversial and made few software developers turn away from the system. Cartridges were more expensive, and Nintendo would be the only supplier, making much easier to enforce licenses plus cartridges storage had bigger limitation that CD's making more difficult for software developers to fit game content into a such constrained space. Nintendo's defense was to say that cartridges were still the media of choice for home consoles because they did not suffer from slow load times and were more practical and less delicate than CDs.
Between 1996 and 2005 Nintendo sold over 32 millions unit worldwide. 387 games were produced for the system and the last game was published on August 20, 2002: the North American-exclusive Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3.
1999 – SEGA DREAMCAST Released on November 27, 1998 in Japan and on September 9, 1999 in the United States, where it retailed for $199.99.
The Dreamcast was the first console to include a built-in modem and Internet support for on-line gaming. In the United States alone, a record 300,000 units had been pre-ordered before launch and Sega sold 500,000 consoles in just two weeks (including over 225,000 sold on the first 24 hours which became a video game record until the PlayStation 2 launched a year later).
However, Sony's launch of the much-hyped PlayStation 2 in 2000 marked the beginning of the end for the Dreamcast, that from 1998 and 2001 sold only 10.6 million units.
Sega announced that it was discontinuing Dreamcast support by March of 2001. With the company announcing no plans to develop a next-generation successor to Dreamcast, this was Sega's last imprint on the console business.
The Dreamcast has 688 official games available in its library, and unofficial, independent games continue to be released by certain companies. The last Dreamcast games published by Sega were the 2007 Trigger Heart Exelica and Karous, released by Sega of Japan.
Still at today few companies in Germany continue to produce independent games for the Dreamcast console, mostly bullet hell shooters as Last Hope, Dux, Last Hope Pink Bullet, Fast Strikers and puzzle or racing as Wind and Water: Puzzle Battles and Rush Rush Rally Racing.
2000 – SONY PLAYSTATION 2 The PlayStation 2 was released in Japan on March 4th, 2000, selling over 980,000 units in one day. In the United States the Playstation 2 hit the shelves on October 22nd and it was such a hot item at its release that it was near impossible to find one at any retailer, leaving those wanting a PlayStation 2 to either wait or purchase the console on-line, where the console was being sold by many people for twice and sometimes five times as much as the manufacturer's listed price ($299.99).