“Pong”, released by Atari in 1972, was the first videogame to gain popularity in both arcade and home versions. Although a very simple ‘electronic tennis’ game, “Pong” quickly became a massive hit and launched the videogame industry. Most people remember playing “Pong” on their television sets with friends and family, as it was released for many different home consoles.
A classic arcade game only us real old school slackers fondly remember. Invented in Japan in 1978 and brought over to the U.S. by Midway Games, “Space Invaders” became a hit wherever it was played, from arcades to pizza parlors. In fact, in Japan it was responsible for a shortage in 100-yen coins! Due to technical limitations “Space Invaders” was monochrome; one version of the game used strips of orange and green cellophane on the monitor to color the graphics. This “shoot the aliens” game is indeed one of the forerunners in the video game industry.
Here’s an excellent tribute video to Pac-Man:
Another import from Japan, “Pac-Man “didn’t become a hit until it reached North American arcades. Then it became a cultural phenomenon, with ports to various game systems and various sequel games such as “Ms. Pac-Man”. The Killer List of Videogames website has “Pac-Man” as number one in their top 100 video games list.
I remember this game as being one of my all-time favorites. Save the girl from the giant ape! The Japanese creator of this game, Shigeru Miyamoto, choose the word “donkey” for this game’s title because he thought “Donkey Kong” would mean “stupid ape” in English. It was released in 1981, and Mario was originally called “Jumpman”.
“Defender” was released in 1981 by Williams Electronics. Even though it was a difficult game to play, having five buttons and a joystick, “Defender” still caught on with the public. It is remembered as one of the most popular arcade games of the 1980’s era.
Another classic game of the 80’s, “Frogger” was released by Sega/Gremlin. “Frogger” was also ported to many different home console systems. The arcade version has no official sequels (although Sega did release a Frogger-type game called “Ribbet” in 1991) but the various home console systems do, such as “Frogger II: Threedeep!”.
Another Atari game released in 1979, this vector-graphic based game quickly caught on with the public, in fact becoming Atari’s best selling game of all time. “Asteroids” was ported to many home game systems, and was even included in the original “Microsoft Arcade” software bundle.
Created by Atari in 1981 in part by Dona Bailey, this game is regarded as the first videogame programmed by a woman. There are many home versions, even for the Xbox and PlayStation 2.
Created by Russian programmer Alexy Pajitnov, “Tetris” is now available world-wide on a wide variety of electronic devices but it was the hand-held Game Boy version that made it extremely popular. It has a long history of legal battles over ownership, however..
This popular game hit the arcades in 1982 thanks to Namco and is a nostalgic favorite by many. Attack the monsters by inflating them until they burst! An innovative game all-around where the player makes their own maze by digging in the earth while avoiding death by creature or boulder. Classic.