Video Game Systems in the 70’s

The way we entertained ourselves underwent a dramatic change in the 1970’s. Long before affordable electronics hit the shops. We were well satisfied with board games and cards. But all this was about to change. The coming electronic revolution was to have a dramatic effect on our leisure time.

On holiday, I spent my childhood pocket money on shoot-em up games in the arcades. Out went the pinball machines and in came Space Invaders, Galaxian shortly followed by Pacman. Priority was staying on the machine for as long as possible and beating the high score.

Home video console systems were sold as early as 1972 but they were relatively expensive. It was the arrival of Atari’s pong game and 2600 console that broke ground and and caught the public’s imagination. Video games were sold in millions. By the end of the 1970’s, home computers began to appear, initially as hobby kits but quickly followed by commercially viable machines. The world had changed.

The Atari 2600 – 1977. The most popular cartridge-based video game machine for use on a home television. It came with two joysticks and a pair of paddles. Atari initially had the monopoly on game production – releasing nine games in their first year – but later allowed third-party developers to market games. Tens of millions of 2600 consoles were sold and millions have survived to feed the retro-gaming market today. The original wood effect (woody) console must not be confused with the later silver version. I still have my ‘woody’ in it’s box. Happy days.

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