The history of video games goes as far back as the 1940s, when in 1947 Thomas T. Goldsmith, Jr. and Este Ray Mann filed a United States patent request for an invention they described as a "cathode ray tube amusement device." Video gaming would not reach mainstream popularity until the 1970s and 1980s, when arcade video games, gaming consoles and home computer games were introduced to the general public. Since then, video gaming has become a popular form of entertainment and a part of modern culture in most parts of the world. There are currently considered to be eight generations of video game consoles, with the seventh and the eighth concurrently ongoing. Early Founders
During the golden age of video games in the 1970s, it was a rush to the start to see which company and which programmer could create a video game and platform that could trump the rest. However, most large video game manufacturers can trace their roots far before that decade, reaching back into the early 1900s or even the late 1800s. While some video game companies, such as Nintendo and Sony, would begin their economic pursuits in other fields, companies like Atari and Sega were created with an eye toward producing the ultimate gaming system. The first major video game company to come into being was Nintendo, which would eventually make video games popular again in the 1980s. Nintendo is a Japanese company that was created in 1889 and was originally named the Marufuku Company. In 1951, this company, which manufactured Western-style playing cards in Japan, would take the name Nintendo, meaning “leave luck to heaven. In 1891, the Philips Company, owner of Magnavox and an important frontrunner in the video game production race, was established in the Netherlands. In 1947, another major video game icon was founded under the name Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Company. After the founders realized this name was too cumbersome to say and remember easily, they modified the Latin word sonus (meaning sound) to form the company name Sony. Sega was founded in 1952, under the name Service Games, as a company that provided coin-operated games and jukeboxes to American servicemen in Japan. It would not be until 1972, well into the beginning of video games, that Atari was formed as a cooperative partnership between leading video game programmers Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney.
First Video Games and Platforms
The idea for an interactive video game was first conceived of by Ralph Baer, an engineer with an airborne electronics company, in 1951. Commissioned to design a television for the company, Baer believed the TV could be more marketable to consumers if it contained a type of interactive game (Kent 2001). His idea was shot down by the company, but other engineers and programmers would not let it settle for long. The first official video games, a table-tennis type game and a computer space game, were developed in 1958 and 1961, respectively. These early video games proved to be the necessary catalyst for game programmers and were the early predecessors of the popular arcade games Pong and Space Invaders. Pong, created by the Atari Company in 1972, turned into an incredible success in arcades and led to the creation of the first home video gaming system, the Magnavox Odyssey. After the moderate success of the Odyssey, several video game companies would follow with their own home gaming systems in 1976 and 1977, including the Atari Video Computer System (VCS). Video Games Take Off
By 1978, home video game consoles were beginning to sell well, and more competitors had entered the market. Nintendo of Japan released its first video game that year, a simplistic version of the board game Othello that was marketed in arcades. The popular toy makers Mattel and Milton Bradley also entered the video game scene in the following two years with a hand-held video game unit from Milton Bradley and the Intellivision by Mattel, the first video game console to offer true...