1970'sthe History Of Video Games


The legend of Pong, the one-dot and two-paddle sensation that mimicked table-top tennis, was the granddaddy that led to the establishment of Atari and the video-game craze. More than 8,000 Pong stand-up arcade cabinets were sent out into world in the two years following the games release in 1972. Though video games are found today in homes worldwide, they actually got their start in the research labs of scientists early 1950s. Academics designed simple games, like tic-tac-toe and tennis.

By Drew Hendricks In the 1960s video games were very different than they are today.Video game systems were much simpler and the games for them were less complex. The first video game that was made popular in the 1960s was Pong. It was 1966 when the first video game was designed by a man named Ralph Baer. History of Video Game Industry Video game industry is a relatively new field of business. Although video games itself was invented around mid-1950s, it took two decades until it became a commercial product. In November 1972, PONG arcade game from ATARI came out. The Video Game History Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, celebrating, and teaching the history of video games. Contact Us For comments, questions, or media inquiries, send us a note at [email protected]

In the 1970s, social progressive values that began in the 1960s, such as increasing political awareness and political and economic liberty of women, continued to grow.


The hippie culture, which started in the latter half of the 1960s, waned by the early 1970s and faded towards the middle part of the decade, which involved opposition to the Vietnam War, opposition to nuclear weapons, the advocacy of world peace, and hostility to the authority of government and big business.

The environmentalist movement began to increase dramatically in this period.

But enough of that — what about the cars? And the awesome music? And the fashion?!

Learn more about the 1970s by selecting a category below.

In-Depth 1970s Profiles

1970s Fashion: Styles, Trends, Pictures & History »

1970s fashion was expressive and fun. People wore jump suits, turtlenecks, hot pants and everything in between. Year-by-year timeline with over 100 pics.

1970s Cars: History, Pictures & Facts »

Cars in the early 1970s like the Challenger, Cuda and Corvette were great. But muscle cars were overtaken by Gremlins trying to ditch the smog.

1970's The History Of Video Games Article

Movies in the 1970s »

Movies in the 1970s really pushed the envelope. Any and all subject matters were covered. In addition to the increase in aesthetic quality, the 70s also showcased many great rising actors and actresses.

1970s TV Shows: What Did People Watch? »

Television in the 1970s pushed what was considered acceptable to new limits. Many of the shows that came out challenged bigotry by making fun of it.

1970s Toys: What Toys Were Popular in the 1970s? »

What toys did kids play with in the '70s? Research 1970s toys with our timeline and 200+ pictures of the most popular toys in the seventies.

1970s Music: History, Pictures & Artists »

There was more variety in music in the 1970s than ever before. Fans had dozens of genres to choose from and many of them rose to popularity in the decade.

1970s Sports: History, MVPs & Champions »

1970's The History Of Video Games Timeline

Sports in the 1970s were rife with tragedy & triumph. Tragedy was marked most notably by the '72 Summer Olympics. But there was triumph aplenty.

Unique 1970s Pictures


1970s News Headlines

  • In 1972, 11 Israeli Olympians killed in a terrorist attack.
  • Richard Nixon becomes the only President of the United States to ever resign from his position.
  • Despite several apparent violations, the Soviet Union beat the United States to win the gold medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics, ending the Americans’ 63-game winning streak.
  • 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat is considered by many to be the greatest race horse of all time.
  • In April 1973, FedEx opened its doors.
  • In 1974, Hank Arron hit his 715th career home run, surpassing Babe Ruth on the all-time list.
  • The first air bag was fitted to some GM cars in 1974.
  • Miller Lite starts using the tagline “Tastes Great, Less Filling.”?
  • The 1977 movie, Star Wars, features a wookie, a Jedi and Harrison Ford.
  • The hit song “Staying Alive” was written and performed by The Bee Gees.
  • In 1978, the first healthy “test-tube baby,” was born. Her name was Louise Brown.
  • In 1979, Sally Field denies Jane Fonda back-to-back Oscars with her starring role in the movie Norma Rae.
  • 1970s Statistics & Facts in the U.S.


    U.S. Population: 204,879,000
    – Urban/rural: 149/54
    – Farm: 4.8%
    Life Expectancy: Male (67.1), Female (74.8)
    Births per 1,000: 18.4
    Marriages per 1,000: 10.6
    Divorces per 1,000: 3.5
    Deaths per 1,000: 9.5
    Deaths per 100,000:
    – Heart: 521
    – Cancer: 163
    – Tuberculosis: 3
    – Car accidents: 26.9


    Unemployed: 4,088,000
    GNP: $977.1 billion
    Federal budget: $197.2 billion
    National debt: $382 billion
    Union membership: 20.7 million
    Strikes: 5,716
    Prime rate: 7.7%
    Car sales: 6,546,800
    Average salary: $7,564
    % of pop. below poverty level: 12.6%


    Homicides per 100,000: 8.3
    Suicides per 100,000: 11.6
    Labor force male/female ratio: 27/16
    Social welfare: $145.9 billion
    Public education: $40.7 billion
    College Degrees
    – Bachelors: Male (484,000), Female (343,000)
    – Doctorates: Male (22,890), Female (3.976)
    – Movies (weekly): 18 million
    – Baseball (annually): 28.9 million


    Consumer Price Index (if 1967 = 100): 116.3
    Eggs: 61 cents per dozen
    Milk: 33 cents per quart
    Bread: 24 cents per loaf
    Butter: 87 cents per pound
    Bacon: 95 cents per pound
    Round steak: $1.30 per pound
    Oranges: 86 cents per dozen
    Coffee: 91 cents per pound

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    1976 flyer advertising the racing game Fonz.

    The 1970s was the first decade in the industry's history. The 1970s saw the development of some of the earliest video games, chiefly in arcade versions, but also several for the personal computer and the earliest video game consoles.

    Consoles of the 1970s[edit]

    First generation consoles[edit]

    Polistil VG2 Pong clone (1978), made in Italy

    The so-called first generation of consoles were on sale between 1972 and 1980 and included the Magnavox Odyssey, Telstar, Home Pong and Color TV-Game.

    Typical characteristics of the first generation of consoles:

    • Discrete transistor-based digital game logic.
    • Games were native components of consoles rather than based on external or removable media.
    • Entire game playfield occupies only one screen.
    • Players and objects consist of very basic lines, dots or blocks.
    • Colour graphics are basic (mostly black and white or other dichromatic combination; later games may display three or more colours).
    • Either single-channel or no audio.
    • Lacked features of second generation consoles, such as microprocessor logic, ROM cartridges, flip-screen playfields, sprite-based graphics, and multi-color graphics.

    1970's The History Of Video Games Book


    Second generation consoles 1976–1983[edit]

    The Fairchild Channel F, released in 1976, was the first programmable ROM cartridge–based video game console, and the first console to use a microprocessor.
    Microvision (1979)

    The second generation of consoles, on sale between 1976 and 1988, made several leaps forward technologically. Consoles first available in the late 1970s included the Fairchild Channel F, Atari 2600, Bally Astrocade and Magnavox Odyssey². The first handheld console, the Microvision, was released in 1979.

    Typical characteristics of the second generation of consoles:

    • Microprocessor-based game logic.
    • AI simulation of computer-based opponents, allowing for single-player gaming.
    • ROM cartridges for storing games, allowing any number of different games to be played on one console.
    • Game playfields able to span multiple flip-screen areas.
    • Blocky and simplistic-looking sprites, with a screen resolution of around 160 × 192 pixels.
    • Basic color graphics, generally between 2-color (1-bit) and 16-color (4-bit).
    • Up to three channel audio.
    • Lacked features of third-generation consoles, such as scrolling tile-based playfields.


    Golden age of arcade games[edit]

    Classic arcade games of the 1970s include Space Invaders (1978), Space Race (1973), Speed Race (1974), Gun Fight (1975), Fonz (1976), Night Driver (1976), Breakout (1976), Death Race (1976), Space Wars (1977), Barrier (1979), Speed Freak (1979), Warrior (1979), Tail Gunner (1979), Galaxian (1979), Lunar Lander (1979) and Asteroids (1979).

    Notable video-game franchises established in the 1970s[edit]


    • Asteroids (1979)
    • Breakout (1976)
    • Circus (1977)
    • Depthcharge (1977)
    • Galaxian (1979)
    • Gun Fight (1975)
    • Heavyweight Champ (1976)
    • Pong (1972)
    • Space Invaders (1978)
    • Space (1979)
    • Sprint (1976)
    • Stunt Cycle (1976)
    • Superman1 (1978)
    • Tank (1974)

    Home computers and console[edit]

    • Battlestar Galactica1 (1978)
    • Empire (1977)
    • Combat (1977)
    • dnd (1974)
    • Flight Simulator (1979)
    • Hunt the Wumpus (1973)
    • Lunar Lander (1973)
    • MUD (1978)
    • The Oregon Trail (1971)
    • Sargon (1978)
    • Spasim (1974)
    • Star Raiders (1979)
    • Star Trek1 (1971)
    • Zork (1977)


    • 1Game franchises that also accompany major film or television franchises.


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