Codex Gamicus
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History of video games
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Early history (1971–1977)[]

  • At Stanford University, two students realise the PDP-11-based machine Galaxy Game. It is a clone of Spacewar!, one of the earliest video games, developed in 1962.
  • Syzygy Engineering, a precursor to Atari, Inc. launches Computer Space, the first commercial video arcade game, also being a Spacewar! derivative.
  • Atari, Inc. launches Pong, the first commercially successful video game. It is also the first arcade sports video game.
  • Taito releases Speed Race, which introduces scrolling sprite graphics,[1] and features a racing wheel controller.[2] Midway releases it as Racer in the United States.[1]
  • Midway Manufacturing releases Gun Fight, an adaptation of Taito's Western Gun and the first arcade video game to use a microprocessor, which the original incarnation did not use, allowing for improved graphics and smoother animation.[3]
  • SEGA releases Moto-Cross, which features haptic feedback, causing the handlebars to vibrate during collisions.[4] SEGA-Gremlin re-brands it as Fonz.[5]
  • Atari Inc. releases Night Driver, an early example of a first-person perspective racing video game.
  • Atari releases Breakout, which inspires a number of Breakout clones.
  • Exidy releases Death Race.

Golden age (1978-1986)[]

  • Williams Electronics releases Joust.
  • Namco releases Pole Position, one of the most popular racing games of all time.[16] This is also Namco's first game to feature a 16-bit CPU making it the first 16-bit video game.
  • Bally Midway releases Journey, the first game with digitized sprites.
  • Astron Belt, the first laserdisc video game, is released by SEGA.
  • Dragon's Lair, the first video game to use cel-animated video instead of computer generated graphics was advertised as the first truly 3D video game and as the meeting point of video games and animated films.
  • Atari brings Star Wars to the arcades in the form of a 3D vector graphics simulation of the movie's attack on the Death Star sequence and featuring digitized samples of voices from the movie.
  • Gauntlet is released by Atari Games
  • Gradius (Nemesis in some countries) is released by Konami.
  • Space Harrier is released by SEGA
  • Vs. Super Mario Bros., the arcade version of Super Mario Bros. originally on the Nintendo Entertainment System (Family Computer in Japan), is released into arcades.
  • Tehkan World Cup, the father of soccer games with an above view of the field, is released by Tehkan,[17] who also release its stablemate, Gridiron Fight.
  • Air Race was also planned to be released by Atari in 1985. Due to the high cost of the hardware, the game also was cancelled. If released, it would have been the first arcade racing game to use 3D polygon graphics.[18][19]
  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back is released and became Atari's last major vector-based arcade game.[20]
  • Taito releases Bubble Bobble.
  • SEGA releases Out Run.
  • Chiller by Exidy is released and is an early example of blood and gore.[21]
  • Top Gunner by Exidy is released and is the last commercial arcade video game to use vector-based(wireframe) graphics.
  • Turbo Kourier is released by the Vivid Group and is the first coin-operated Virtual Reality arcade video game to use 3D Polygon Graphics.[22][23]

Post-golden age (1987-present)[]

  • NARC, by Williams is released and is the first commercially released game to use a 32-bit processor.
  • Namco releases Assault, which was the first game to make use of massive sprite rotation as well as sprite scaling. It also released Splatterhouse, which was the first game to get a parental advisory disclaimer.
  • Namco introduces the Namco System 21 "Polygonizer", the first arcade system board designed for 3D polygonal graphics. The first game to use it is the racing video game Winning Run.
  • Top Landing by Taito is released and is the first coin-operated flight simulation to use 3D polygon graphics and runs on Taito's Air System board.
  • Tetris makes the jump from home to arcade as an Atari coin-op.
  • Exterminator by Gottlieb is released and is the first video game to use fully digitized graphics in every element of the game. This was Gottlieb's last video game.
  • Hard Drivin', by Atari Games is released and is the second arcade driving game to have 3D polygonal graphics.
  • S.T.U.N. Runner is released by Atari Games and is known for early use of high-speed 3-D Polygonal Graphics.
  • Pit-Fighter is released by 'Atari Games and is the first ever fighting game to use fully digitized graphics. Released two years before Midway's Mortal Kombat.
  • Galaxian³ is released by Namco as a video game Theme Park Attraction and is the first to feature 8-players. This game is a sequel to the Galaxian series and is known for combining pre-laserdisc background images and 3D Polygonal graphics. It was later released as an arcade cabinet to the public in 1994.
  • NAM-1975 is released by SNK and is the first game running on a Neo Geo hardware and became the standardized arcade platform throughout the 90s to the early 2000s. Many 2D fighting games like Fatal Fury, World Heroes, and Samurai Showdown ran on this hardware and was very popular in the arcades for its time.
  • Mortal Kombat II is released, featuring high quality digitized graphics, and the most advanced sound system in arcades at the time, the DCS sound system which allowed for MP3 style compression to all sounds.
  • SEGA releases Virtua Fighter, the first 3D fighting game.
  • Killer Instinct is released, the first arcade game with a hard disk, up to that point the game with the highest quality graphics pre-rendered by a rendering program, featuring to this day the highest quality use of the movie background technique.
  • Namco releases Tekken, another fighting game.
  • SNK releases Metal Slug, a run and gun game widely known for its sense of humor, fluid hand-drawn animation, and fast-paced two-player action.
  • Konami releases Dance Dance Revolution, an arcade game with four arrow pads that the players used to "dance." This game would create many sequels and spin-offs.
  • Gauntlet Legends is released by Atari Games and it is the first game in the Gauntlet series to be produced in 3D and is the last Gauntlet game released by Atari Games.
  • Rush 2049 is released, the last arcade game to bear the Atari Games logo. Atari Games in Milpitas is renamed Midway Games West, and closes its coin-op product development division.
  • Hydro Thunder is released by Midway Games a 3D speedboat racing game and was one of the first to run on QuickSilver II hardware, a windows-based hardware setup which was less expensive to use. The game was one of Midway Games most successful arcade games to date.
  • Derby Owners Club which was the first large-scale satellite arcade machine with smartcards, which have become a staple in Japanese game centers since.
  • Namco releases Tekken 4, the first talking game to feature almost all characters talking to one another.
  • SEGA releases Virtua Fighter 4, the first arcade game with online features in Japan.
  • Arctic Thunder : Special Edition is released and is the last arcade game by Midway Games and runs on a PC based Hardware Midway Graphite. It's arcade division was later shut down.
  • SEGA launches World Club Champion Football, which introduced trading cards, which have become a staple in Japanese game centers.

See also[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Bill Loguidice & Matt Barton (2009), Vintage games: an insider look at the history of Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario, and the most influential games of all time, p. 197, Focal Press, ISBN 0-240-81146-1
  2. Speed Race at Museum of the Game
  3. Chris Kohler (2005), Power-up: how Japanese video games gave the world an extra life, BradyGames, p. 19, ISBN 0-7440-0424-1,, retrieved 2011-03-27 
  4. Mark J. P. Wolf (2008), The video game explosion: a history from PONG to PlayStation and beyond, p. 39, ABC-CLIO, ISBN 0-313-33868-X
  5. Fonz at Museum of the Game
  6. Chris Kohler (2005), Power-up: how Japanese video games gave the world an extra life, BradyGames, p. 18, ISBN 0-7440-0424-1,, retrieved 2011-03-27 
  7. Essential 50: Space Invaders. Retrieved on 2011-03-26
  8. Edwards, Benj. Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Space Invaders. Retrieved on 2008-07-11
  9. Mobile Games. Atari. Retrieved on 2013-02-28
  10. Galaxian at Museum of the Game
  11. The Essential 50 - Pac-Man, 1UP
  12. Playing With Power: Great Ideas That Have Changed Gaming Forever, 1UP
  13. Gaming's most important evolutions.
  14. Tempest (Atari 1980). Andy's Arcade. Retrieved on 2015-12-07
  15. Game Genres: Shmups, Professor Jim Whitehead, January 29, 2007, Accessed June 17, 2008
  16. pole position [cockpit model] [coin-op] arcade video game, namco, ltd. (1982). (2012-07-24). Retrieved on 2013-02-28
  17. Tehkan World Cup - Videogame by Tehkan. Retrieved on 2013-02-28
  18. Air Race pcb by Atari, Inc. (1985).
  19. ScottithGames (22 December 2011). Atari 1985 Air Race unreleased arcade game.
  20. Encyclopedia of Video Games: M-Z. ABC-CLIO (1 January 2012).
  21. nathaaan90 (2010-05-11). 15 Firsts In Video Game History. Listverse. Retrieved on 2013-02-28
  22. Mandala Turbo Kourier Module.
  23. Turbo Kourier pcb by Vivid Group (1986).

External Links[]