One of the first video game systems that can be recognized is actually the Atari game system that was used from 1972-1976. This game, although classic, is generally thought of as being the most successful atari videogame system because it was the first to be released and it launched the video game into the mass market.
The other electronic video game systems that were developed were closely related but lacking the artwork and technical graphics power of Atari. These included the ColecoVision which was started in 1979 by a company named Atari Inc. The ColecoVision used mostly lower quality graphics and sound than the Atari introduced.
The second electronic video game system that can be recognized is the Nintendo Entertainment System. Although Nintendo provided the initial entry into the video game systems market, other systems had been introduced prior to its arrival including the Magnavox Odyssey which was introduced in 1972. The Odyssey was reputed for its improved graphics capability.
The third electronic video game system that can be recognized is the Atari 2600 which was introduced in 1977. This gaming system used technology that it had purchased from several different sources and manufacturers. Although the system was popular it was difficult to get anyone to purchase the system for any length of time because it was considered to be a poor value for the then money.
In 1981 and 1982 the company moved on releasing the Intellivision Console. Although considered to be the worst console of all time it was still a strong competitor for the market it was in.
Finally, in 1982 the video game systems market saw the rise of a new competitor called the Atari 2600 Pro. This gaming system took video games to a new level and introduced many new features that the industry had never seen before. Intellivision algebraically faster graphics, more flexibility in gameplay, and more sound effects and some gameplay that still stand to this day. Atari 2600 became the dominant video arcade system in the marketplace and Intellivision was relegated to being “the de charger”.
Many of the originators of the electronic video game systems that are popular today also began their lifespan in early 1972. These video arcade machines were created by a number of companies including Atari, Toshiba, RNeo, CCP, and others.
Many of the larger names in the business today have been around for decades but Atari has been around the longest. Beginning in 1972 and lasting through today, Atari has created some of the most significant arcade console technology in the world. As a result of the technology that Atari created it has become the brand name that many of today’s businesses would challenge in court and to this day they have been able to do well despite losing nearly every legal case that was brought against them.
In addition to the technology that Atari created, they created beloved characters such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Samus, and of course the Atari 2600 which is still a popular arcade system.
In addition to their video game systems, Atari also had a mint of home video game consoles. Their first released system was called the Atari 2600 Deluxe. This system was then referred to as simply Atari 2600. Later on, in the 1970s the company released their next system which was the Atari 5200. To this day it is still one of the most popular home consoles throughout the world.
The timing of when Atari made their decision to leave the video game hardware business was perfect because it hit a generation of people that were starting to become teenagers. Starting around 1985 babies were growing more mature enough to handle the home computers that were coming out. Just as the first generation of teenagers was growing older the second generation did not cut it in their ability to handling these new systems. The marketing of these systems was not appealing to babies.
Baby boomers were starting to show interest in playing video games but just were not yet old enough to deal with these things. Just like you would not want a drug addict in your family, you would not want a teenager that could not handle a home computer. So it was a perfect storm for Atari and Microsoft. The more mature baby boomers were getting involved in home computers and Atari games.
Atari had a hard time trying to market their games to this new generation of computer users. They were coming up with games that were too violent and that did not appeal to the average computer user. So what did they do? They essentially copied Atari games and put them on their newer systems. They cut the price points to the minimum and offered them newer and cuter game graphics. The result was that Atari systems were able to thrive and they were able to increase their market share – enough to warrant another expansion into the home computer market. This is how Atari jumped from being the dominant video game company to a company that has only competed in games, into the hands of a more mature computer user.