History of Video Games

What? There was a time when there were no video games?

Video games are a relatively recent human invention when you consider how old games themselves are. While there is no exact date, historians estimate that the first known games (which some records show as the Royal Game of Ur and others, mancala) originated around 5000 B.C., over 7000 years ago! The earliest video game only dates back to the 1950's. So if we were to give video games an age on a human scale, they are the equivalent of newborn babies!

History of the Video Game

Video games

Exercise 1

Watch the GameHeadz video to the right and keep track of the major milestones in game development.

ATARI launches Pong

Taito launches Space Invaders

Atari launches Asteroids and then BattleZone in 3-D

Atari launches their home console with game cartridges in 1977


Atari bought, team split up, Activision launched to make cartridges (Pitfall)

PC Computers (Commodore, TI-99) allowed people to make their own games, if they had the skill.

Donkey Kong - We meet Mario

Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) launches

Mario Series


Duck Hunt

Launch of GameBoy in 1989

Exercise 2

Compare the reputation of arcades (like Funspot) to today's concerns over online gaming.


The Royal Game of Ur, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago