The Evolution of Game Consoles

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Lawrence Herrera
Miss Magdalena Quiroz
COSC – 1301- W60 2
24th April 2011
Evolution of Game Consoles
Gaming consoles have come a long way from where they started. There was many variations of the game Pong to 3D realistic environments. From the start as a simulator all the way down as way of exercising. There were many consoles at the beginning, and then through time it came down to a final three top selling companies. Every gamer, close to the age of thirty and over, has seen the generations of game consoles evolve. There are 7 generations total of game consoles. Game consoles have become part of our culture, some people do not know it yet, but in some way they are gamers. In the beginning there was Ralph H. Baer, “The Father of Video Games”, and he created the “Brown Box” in 1968. Now the Brown Box was a working prototype. It was the first game console that could connect to ordinary television sets. It could play six very simple games, four of them very similar, which are ping-pong, tennis, handball, and volleyball, and the last two are chase game and a light gun game. Now this brown box is essential to what will happen in the future. First generation of game consoles, now Ralph Baer took his brown box to Magnavox. Right away Magnavox bought it. They change the name and design of the brown box and called it Magnavox Odyssey, and released it in 1972 predating it before Atari’s Pong. It was the 1st official home entertainment system. Now, like the first movies, it did not incorporate sound. It was battery operated, it used cartridges for the built in game to change desired effects, and it came with two overlays to simulate color. This console sparked a fire for the video game industry. In 1975 Atari released Pong, which was scaled down unit of their famous Pong arcade machine in 1973. It included on screen scoring and it included sound when the ball hit the paddle. Now there was competition, so Magnavox released two more consoles the Odyssey 100 and 200. The Odyssey 200 incorporated 2-4 players, when no home console had at that time. Then in 1976 Atari released Super Pong, it had color, built in speaker, and it had 4 built in games. So Odyssey put out three more that year, the Magnavox Odyssey 300, 400, and 500. The Odyssey 500, instead of sticks as paddles, it actually had the figure of the sport you were playing, tennis player, hockey player, and squash player. There were a lot of Pong clones that were being made for a home video console. Some listed are Coleco Telestar, Fairchild Channel F, RCA Studio II, and Wonder Wizard 7702. Now there where such an abundance of Pong clones, that a lot of manufactures were forced to closed, leaving a lawsuit between Magnavox and Atari for stealing the Pong idea. Magnavox won, and is now receiving royalties from anyone that used that Pong program. The Second generation of game consoles starts with Atari. They released the Atari Video Computer System (VCS) in 1977. This was a huge step in the video consoles, because Atari made detachable controllers and the first game console to use plug in cartridges. It was slow to sell at first, but when Atari bought the licensing of Space Invaders, it sky rocketed in sales. Magnavox still holding on to the Pong craze put out three new Odysseys, the 2000, the 3000, and the 4000. Odyssey 3000 had detachable controllers. The Odyssey 4000 then included color. Then in 1978, Magnavox released the Odyssey 2, this was sort of small computer which you could do basic programming. It came with a built in keyboard plus joysticks and it used cartridges. Also, trying to take off Atari from their throne, Mattel made the Intellivision. This bad boy was better than the Atari VCS. It had better graphics, color and sound, and plus it was the first game console to use in game voice. But, the one thing they were pushing was that you can play games and do your checking. They were going to incorporate a keyboard. But it never...
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