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1970s in video gaming

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1970s in video gaming

The 1970s saw the development of some the earliest video games, chiefly in arcade versions, but also several for the personal computer and the earliest games consoles.


First generation consoles

The so-called first generation of consoles first went on sale between 1968 and 1977 and included the Magnavox Odyssey, Telstar, Home Pong and Color TV-Game

Their typical characteristics were:

  • Discrete transistor-based digital game logic.
  • Games were native components of consoles rather than based on external or removable media.
  • Entire game playfield occupies only one screen.
  • Players and objects consist of very basic lines, dots or blocks.
  • Colour graphics are basic (mostly black and white or other dichromatic combination; later games may display three or more colours).
  • Either single-channel or no audio.
  • Lacked features of second generation consoles, such as microprocessor logic, ROM cartridges, flip-screen playfields, sprite-based graphics, and multi-color graphics.
  • Second generation consoles

    The second generation, first on sale 1976–88, were more advanced. Consoles first available in the late 1970s included the Fairchild Channel F, Atari 2600, Bally Astrocade and Magnavox Odyssey². The first handheld console, the Microvision, was released in 1979.

    Typical tech specs:

  • Microprocessor-based game logic.
  • AI simulation of computer-based opponents, allowing for single-player gaming.
  • ROM cartridges for storing games, allowing any number of different games to be played on one console.
  • Game playfields able to span multiple flip-screen areas.
  • Blocky and simplistic-looking sprites, with a screen resolution of around 160 × 192 pixels.
  • Basic color graphics, generally between 2-color (1-bit) and 16-color (4-bit).
  • Up to three channel audio.
  • Lacked features of third-generation consoles, such as scrolling tile-based playfields.
  • Golden age of arcade games

    Classic arcade games of the 1970s include Space Invaders (1978), Space Race (1973), Speed Race (1974), Gun Fight (1975), Fonz (1976), Night Driver (1976), Breakout (1976), Death Race (1976), Space Wars (1977), Barrier (1979), Speed Freak (1979), Warrior (1979), Tail Gunner (1979), Galaxian (1979), Lunar Lander (1979) and Asteroids (1979).

    Home computers and console


  • 1Game franchises that also accompany major film or television franchises.
  • References

    1970s in video gaming Wikipedia

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