AbstractHome_video_games_have_come_a_long_way_in_what_seems_free_search_college_1071200134 by huangyuarong


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Home video games have come a long way in what seems like a short time. In the past 25
years, the advancements and popularity have exploded in America. This paper will show
the progression from the most primitive of systems to the latest systems on the market

Pong to Playstation: The History of Home Video Games

Today, when "gamers" think of video games, most think about the movie quality graphics
of the games, the innovations of technology used to create it, and especially the
outrageous price tags of the newer systems. It is amazing how real and life-like the
games have become. You sometimes feel that you are actually part of the action. The
technology advancements have grown to almost unlimited possibilities to the point where
it seems like there is a new system out immediately after buying the last one. The high
price of the consoles and games is nothing new. It is almost like the designers are always
trying to get you to dig deeper into your wallet to own the most current video game.
Even twenty-five years ago, the price was very steep to be one of the first people to own
Pong. When we think of Pong, we think about two vertical lines on each side of the
screen which we move back and forth to hit a dot that is coming toward the line. Pong
actually started as a simple game to entertain visitors at Brookhaven National Laboratory,
a nuclear research lab in Upton, New York.

In 1958, William A. Higinbotham wanted to create something to ease the boredom of the
guests at the lab. He used a small analog computer to graph and display the movement of
a ball on an oscilloscope with which users can interact. This was going to be an easy task
for Higinbotham because he was the head of Brookhaven's Instrumentation Division,
where he built many intricate things. Robert V. Dvorak also had a hand in this
conception; he was the one who assembled the device. The project was finished in three
weeks and they named it "Tennis for Two." They debuted their creation in October 1958,
and it was a huge hit with the visitors. Unfortunately, neither of the men marketed or
copyrighted the invention, thinking it was too obvious and not worth pursuing.

A few years later, Ralph Baer, an engineer, had an idea to create an interactive television
based game system. With the help of a few of his co-workers, they began to develop the
system. By December of 1966, they were ready to try out the game. By using two
circuits known as Spot Generators, they created a simple electronic game of "tag" with
two spots chasing each other. If one gets caught by the other, it is wiped out. In January
of 1967, Bill Harrison went to work on building the first multi-game unit. He named the
system the Home TV Game. Baer was very excited about this. Years later he said in his
writings, "Little did I know that I started the ball rolling towards the establishment of
what was to become a very large Home Video Game industry within 10 years!" (Baer,
1999, [Online])

This new invention was very difficult to sell. Most companies did not think that it was a
winning product. It was not until 1971 that Baer finally found a buyer. Magnavox
licensed and patented the product and renamed it as the Odyssey. Later in his writings,
he talked about what he went through to impress the executives at Magnavox:

In order to make sure that we would not "blow" the demo to the President and the
Executive VP of the company, I had tape-recorded comments describing each game in
advance of the demo date. We had also designed and built some circuitry for adding the
sound signals from the tape recorder to the video signal. That ensured that my pre-
recorded voice-announcements describing each of the games would come from the
speaker of our color TV set. That all worked like a charm....and impressed everyone
present at the demo. (Baer, 1999, [Online])

On May 24, 1972, they unveiled this first home video game system with a price of $100.
Consumers were not too happy with this price and sales were slow. This forced the
company to cut their costs and lower the prices by changing the system to black and
white graphics and no sound effects. With the help of Frank Sinatra's advertising, it sold
over 100,000 units during the first year. Magnavox then knew that they had stumbled
onto a very profitable product.

Atari saw the success that Magnavox was experiencing. They needed an idea to have
competition against the Odyssey. Their most popular arcade game to date was Pong,
which was bringing in excesses of over $100 a week in just quarters. The next step was
to have a home version of Pong. In 1974, Atari employees Bob Brown and Harold
Lee proposed a home version of Pong, which would be able to be hooked up to any
television set. The executives agreed and production began later that year. Sears jumped
on the chance to sell this new system and in 1975, at $100, the home version of Pong
became their biggest selling item.

It is hard to believe that people would stop buying the video game systems. This new
invention in entertainment was the most sought after item for several years, but then
people became bored. Between 1982 and 1985, sales of all types of gaming systems
were very low, and the whole video game industry almost came to a standstill.

In 1986, Japan took the video game market to a new level when the first 8-bit system, the
Nintendo, was released nationwide. The game initially offered with this system, Super
Mario Brothers, made Nintendo an instant hit. At the same time, Sega noticed that the
video game market was not dead and released their improved system, the Sega Master
System. It could not compare. Nintendo easily won the battle and outsold all their
competitors ten to one in the United States.
The following year Nintendo released the new 16-bit system in Japan. It was an
overnight hit and they immediately brought it to the United States. As did the 8-bit
system, the 16-bit did wonders for the company and allowed them to continue their
overwhelming success in the market.

Nintendo started to achieve historic sales records. However, their dominance was
nearing its end.

Nintendo tried another console on the consumers. Neo-Geo was unveiled in 1990, and
with the much better graphics and sound, it crushed their own other systems.
Unfortunately, with the price being $399, it did not sell very well. This started to open
doors for other companies to have a chance at making their mark.

Sega continued to have victory with their games in arcades, while NEC tried to join the
race with Turbo Express. Management of NEC thought the Turbo Express was an
extraordinary device because it was the first portable game machine put on the market.
Unfortunately, the system cost $299.95 and did not last very long.

Nintendo came back and released Super Nintendo in 1991. It called for a $249.95
investment, so NES-dedicated people wondered if it was really worth putting their money
into a brand new system. At the same time, Sega introduced Sonic the Hedgehog on their
new Sega Genesis system. Most of the critics chose Sonic over Mario; but in the end,
Mario won.

The year 1994 set the standard for today's hi-tech systems. Sony Playstation was released
in Japan, as was the Sega Saturn. By the end of the year, critics were hailing the
Playstation as the superior machine.
Sega announced in 1995 that their Sega Saturn would be launched in the United States in
September. The company then "jumped the gun" and actually released the console in
May for $399. Since third-party companies were surprised by this early arrival, very few
games for the Saturn were released and the overall sales were very poor. Sony also
debuted the Playstation in the United States in 1995 for $299. This price was actually
$100 less than expected.

Sales were very strong and a collection of good titles received high praise from the media
and the consumers.
Nintendo followed by making a comeback with the Nintendo 64, the new 64-bit system
to compete against the Playstation. Sales were very high in Japan, but the company sold
out of the initial stock very early and that frustrated the consumers. But when the unit
was introduced to America, over 1.7 million units were sold in only three months.
Nintendo rushed to keep up and cash in on the great popularity. Unfortunately, the
popularity did not last long because Sony kept enhancing the Playstation and it continued
to be the "must have" system.
Sega once again tried to make it to the top with their Sega Dreamcast, which was released
in Japan in 1998.

Sales skyrocketed, and the initial 150,000 systems were sold immediately. When the
console was unleashed in the United States in 1999, sales were high, but not as high as
Sega expected. This was caused by rumors of a new video game system by Sony.

Sony employees were hard at work through 1999 on the Playstation 2. Sony was very
tight-lipped about the project at first, but independent developers leaked out some tidbits
about the unit. The only relevant information was that the system would be released
sometime in 2000. Forecasts included the console being DVD-based and the system
being faster than the Sega Dreamcast.
In the latter part of 1999, Sony finally released specs on the Playstation 2. They revealed
a groundbreaking microprocessor called the Emotion Engine, the capability to play
games from the original Playstation, an audio and DVD player, and a retail price of $800.
People started to get on waiting lists to own a piece of history. In the fall of 2000, the
much-anticipated Playstation 2 was released in the United States. Sony had a short
supply of parts needed to produce the unit; as a result, only 100,000 consoles were
shipped. Needless to say, it was nearly impossible for those who were not on the waiting
list to purchase it. However, Sony expects most orders to be filled by the spring of 2001.

In closing, it is apparent that the video game industry is always evolving. What will be
next? It is not far-fetched that the player will actually be a part of the game someday.
Given how quickly the technology for producing these games has advanced in recent
years, that day will not be far down the road.


Hunter, W. (2000). The dot-eaters - Classic video game history [Online]. Available:


Herman, L., Horwitz, J., Kent, S. (2000). The history of video games [Online].

Available: http://videogames.gamespot.com/features/universal/hov/index.html

Baer, R. (1999). How video games invaded the home TV set [Online]. Available:


abstract home video games have come long what seems like short time past years
advancements popularity have exploded america this paper will show progression from
most primitive systems latest systems market today pong playstation history home video
games today when gamers think video games most think about movie quality graphics
innovations technology used create especially outrageous price tags newer systems
amazing real life like have become sometimes feel that actually part action technology
advancements grown almost unlimited possibilities point where seems like there system
immediately after buying last high price consoles nothing almost designers always trying
deeper into your wallet most current game even twenty five years price very steep first
people pong when think pong about vertical lines each side screen which move back forth
that coming toward line actually started simple game entertain visitors brookhaven
national laboratory nuclear research upton york beginning william higinbotham wanted
create something ease boredom guests used small analog computer graph display
movement ball oscilloscope with which users interact this going easy task higinbotham
because head brookhaven instrumentation division where built many intricate things
robert dvorak also hand this conception assembled device project finished three weeks
they named tennis they debuted their creation october huge with visitors unfortunately
neither marketed copyrighted invention thinking obvious worth pursuing years later ralph
baer engineer idea create interactive television based game system with help workers they
began develop system december were ready using circuits known spot generators created
simple electronic spots chasing each other gets caught other wiped january bill harrison
went work building first multi unit named home baer very excited about later said
writings little know that started ball rolling towards establishment what become very
large industry within baer online invention difficult sell companies winning product until
finally found buyer magnavox licensed patented product renamed odyssey later writings
talked what went through impress executives magnavox order make sure would blow
demo president executive company tape recorded comments describing each advance
demo date also designed built some circuitry adding sound signals from tape recorder
signal ensured recorded voice announcements describing would come from speaker color
worked charm impressed everyone present demo online unveiled first consumers were
happy sales were slow forced company their costs lower prices changing black white
graphics sound effects help frank sinatra advertising sold over units during year
magnavox then knew stumbled onto profitable product atari success experiencing needed
idea competition against odyssey their popular arcade date which bringing excesses over
week just quarters next step version atari employees brown harold proposed version
would able hooked television executives agreed production began year sears jumped
chance sell version became biggest selling item crash hard believe people stop buying
invention entertainment sought after item several then people became bored between
sales types gaming whole industry almost came standstill nintendo saves japan took
market level when nintendo released nationwide initially offered super mario brothers
made nintendo instant same time sega noticed market dead released improved sega
master could compare easily battle outsold competitors united states following year
released japan overnight immediately brought united states wonders company allowed
them continue overwhelming success started achieve historic sales records however
dominance nearing grows tried another console consumers unveiled much better graphics
sound crushed other unfortunately being sell well open doors companies chance making
mark sega continued victory arcades while tried join race turbo express management
thought turbo express extraordinary device because portable machine unfortunately cost
last long came back super called investment dedicated wondered really worth putting
money into brand same time introduced sonic hedgehog genesis critics chose sonic over
mario mario standard today tech sony playstation japan saturn critics hailing playstation
superior machine announced saturn launched united states september then jumped
actually console since third party companies surprised early arrival saturn overall poor
sony also debuted less than expected strong collection good titles received high praise
media consumers followed making comeback compete against high sold initial stock
early frustrated unit introduced america million units sold only three months rushed keep
cash great popularity popularity last long because sony kept enhancing continued must
once again tried make dreamcast skyrocketed initial immediately console unleashed
expected caused rumors employees hard work through tight lipped project independent
developers leaked some tidbits unit only relevant information sometime forecasts
included being based being faster than dreamcast latter part finally specs revealed
groundbreaking microprocessor called emotion engine capability play original audio
player retail waiting lists piece history fall much anticipated short supply parts needed
produce result only consoles shipped needless nearly impossible those waiting list
purchase however expects orders filled spring closing apparent industry always evolving
will next fetched player will part someday given quickly technology producing these
advanced recent down road references hunter eaters classic history online available http
emuunlim doteaters index herman horwitz kent available http videogames gamespot
features universal index html invaded available http ralphbaer

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