Gaming through the ages

The gaming industry has changed in leaps and bounds. From simple coin operated machines to high impact, fully immersive virtual reality experiences. We take you back to the 70s, through to the 00s and touch on some of our most loved games and consoles along the way. 


Pong (1972)

The very first commercially successful arcade video game was Pong - Atari’s first game that brought video games to the masses. The secret to Pong’s success was simplicity – the only instructions were “Avoid missing ball for high score”. When Atari's test unit malfunctioned due to an overflow of coins, Atari knew they were onto a winner. The home version, released in 1975 and sold 200,000 units in the first year.

Atari (founded 1972)

The modern video games industry wouldn’t exist without Atari. They made it all – arcade games (Asteroids, Missile Command and Centipede), home consoles, games, and home computers. The iconic Atari 2600 game console (1977) sold over 30 million units, with the 1980 home version of Space Invaders cementing Atari's dominance. Fun fact: Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak built the game Breakout for Atari before forming Apple Computer.


Donkey Kong (1981)

Did you know Mario was originally named Jumpman? Or that Donkey Kong was going to be Popeye until licensing fell through? The 1981 arcade game was fairly simple – Mario had to avoid obstacles and climb platforms and ladders to rescue girlfriend Pauline from the brutish ape ‘Donkey Kong’. DK became a worldwide hit. It spawned many sequels, and is one of the highest grossing arcade games of all time.


Commodore 64 (19821994)

 The Commodore 64 (C64) took personal computers into millions of homes in the 1980s. At US$595 it was much cheaper than competitors like the Apple II and IBM PC. The original brown ‘breadbox’ was an 8-bit, 64-kilobyte machine that doubled as an office computer and games machine. Memorable C64 games include Impossible Mission (1984), Bubble Bobble (1987) and International Karate + (1987).


Sega (home video game consoles produced 1983

 Sega (then called Service Games) was founded in Hawaii in 1940 and moved to Tokyo in 1951, but really got its run during the arcade boom of the 1970s and ‘80s with games like Out Run, Space Harrier and Daytona USA. Sega got into home consoles in the 1980s, releasing the SG-1000 (1983), the Master System (1985), the 16-bit Mega Drive (1988), the Saturn (1994) and finally the Dreamcast (1998). Sonic the Hedgehog (1991) is Sega’s most successful game, having sold more than 13 million copies. 



PlayStation (1994)

The PlayStation began life as a joint project between Sony and Nintendo – a CD-ROM drive add-on for the Super NES, but the collaboration fell through. Sony didn’t give up, and the PlayStation was born. Released in 1994 and marketed to an adult audience rather than the usual eight- to 16-year-old demographic, the PlayStation console was a huge success. It has sold over 100 million units worldwide, and established Sony as a serious player in the video games console market.

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Nintendo 64 (1996)

The Nintendo 64 (N64) introduced the analog stick to console gaming. Previously, D-pads allowed only eight directional choices – the analog stick provided the full 360-degree control needed for 3D gaming. The N64 was the first true 64-bit video game console (competitors PlayStation and Sega Saturn were only 32-bit.) The N64 came in a range of colours and was home to classic games including Super Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart 64, GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark.

Super Mario 64 (1996)

Super Mario 64 is famous for being the first really good 3D console video game. It was released by Nintendo in 1996 as one of the N64 launch titles. Super Mario 64 is set in Princess Peach’s castle – Bowser has invaded and Mario has to rescue her. It transported Mario from 2D to 3D, and really showcased the N64’s 64-bit power. Not surprisingly, it was the bestselling N64 game of all time, with over 11 million copies sold.

GoldenEye 007 (1997)

GoldenEye 007 was the first successful first-person shooter for console gaming. A tie-in to the 1995 movie with Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, game play involved single or multi-players using stealth, gadgets and Bond-style weapons in a variety of deathmatch games. Developed by Rare and published by Nintendo, GoldenEye 007 was one of N64’s bestselling games. Although you can only play as Pierce Brosnan, digital versions of Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Timothy Dalton are hidden in the game’s code.


Xbox (2001)

The Xbox was Microsoft’s first video game console, and the first console to have a built-in hard drive. Online multi-player games Halo: Combat Evolved (2001), bestselling Halo 2 (2004) and the Xbox Live service helped the Xbox popularise online console gaming. The console sold more than 24 million units worldwide, and was succeeded by the Xbox 360 in 2005.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare (2007)

Call of Duty (COD) is a hugely popular and critically acclaimed military first-person shooter franchise. COD4: Modern Warfare moved the game from WWII to a modern-day setting, and was the world’s bestselling game of 2007. Single players can get involved, but COD4 is best known for online multi-player gameplay. Published by Activision on heaps of platforms (Windows, OS X, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and Nintendo DS), Activision reported in 2013 that daily COD play time around the world amounted to 1900 years!


Minecraft (2009)

Minecraft (2009) is a revolutionary, open-world, 3D sandbox game developed and published by indie studio Mojang. Gameplay mainly involves collecting different types of 3D blocks from the environment and building LEGO-like structures. Originally released on PC, but now available on almost every platform, it’s incredibly popular, especially with younger gamers. It has sold over 70 million copies worldwide, and even has its own convention – MineCon. Amazing Minecraft creations include the Acropolis of Athens, the Westerosi town of Winterfell and Minas Tirith fromThe Lord of the Rings. In 2014, Mojang was sold to Microsoft for a whopping $2.5 billion.

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