A Brief History of Gaming,  Part 3 – The Blossoming – The early 80s

By September 2, 2017History of Gaming

Humans have always loved to play games.  From Peek-a-Boo and Hide-and-Seek, to Laser Tag and Pokemon Go, to more adult games like Poker and Chess, or traditional games like Mah Jongg, we love to play our entire lives.  

In the last few decades, the world of video games has seen a spectacular explosion of transformation and evolution.  

We left off in 1979 with the release of Mattel’s Intellivision.  

Elsewhere in the industry, Toru Iwatani was inspired by a pizza missing a slice.  Namco’s Pac-Man was born.  Released in July of 1980, the arcade version was a huge hit, and a few months later was released for home console on the Atari 2600.  Shortly thereafter, Ms. Pac-Man became the best-selling arcade game of all time.  

1981 saw the rise of Donkey Kong, which featured a character who would go on to fame and fortune the world over.  Jumpman became the star of his own game and got a new name.  Shigeru Miyamoto of Nintendo, gave Jumpman his own world, and took the video game industry and market by storm when he introduced Mario as the star of the Super Mario Brothers.  

1982 was the year the movie Tron was released by Disney.  A huge hit that became a classic, Disney got its fingers into the pie.  The movie inspired an arcade game which featured contests from the film, which was also a hit.  

In 1983, Dan Munten’s M.U.L.E. took multiplayer gaming to the next level (get it).  Players competed against each other on the planet Irata, gathering resources to save their colony.

In 1984, a Russian mathmetician named Alexey Pagitnov created a little game called Tetris.  Sweeping across the globe in no time, the game gained such popularity that just a few years later it was bundled with every purchase of Nintendo’s Game Boy, and later inspired a slew of similar puzzle games.

Two years after its release in Japan under the name Famicom, the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) home console was released in the United States.  In 1985 the American video game industry was flooded with this new console and its interchangeable games, and families everywhere added this new toy to their home gameplay options.  

Stay tuned for more 80s!!