ADVERTISEMENT |  REMOVE ADS

Timeline: The Early Years of Video Games (1889-1972)

Did you know Nintendo got its industrial start making playing cards in 1889? Check out this timeline (1889-1972) to learn more about the early years of video games, gaming systems, and video game companies.
Grades:
4 |
5 |
6
CREATE NEW FOLDER
Cancel

by Amanda Kudler

1889
Nintendo is founded in Japan by Fusajiro Yamauchi. It begins producing handmade playing cards.
1958
Physicist Willy Higinbotham invents the first "video game" at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York. His game, a table tennis-like game, was played on an oscilloscope.
1961
Steve Russell, a student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), creates Spacewar, the first interactive computer game. It runs on a Digital PDP-1 mainframe computer, and the graphics are made up of ASCII text characters.
1966
Ralph Baer, an engineer at Sanders Associates, receives support from his company (a military electronics consulting firm in NH) to explore his idea of creating interactive games using a television.
1967
Baer and team are successful in creating two interactive TV games—a chase game and a tennis game. They are also able to manipulate a toy gun so that it detects spots of light on the TV screen.
1970
Magnavox licenses Baer's TV game from Sanders Associates


Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney (future founders of Atari) begin their attempt to create an arcade version of Spacewar, calling it Computer Space.
1971
Computer Space becomes first video arcade game ever released. 1500 games are distributed. Public consensus is that it is too difficult to play.
1972
April 25
A U.S. patent is issued to Ralph Baer for "A Television Gaming Apparatus and Method"


May 24
Magnavox's Odyssey, the first home video game system, is showcased at a convention in Burlingame, CA, and is released to the public later that year.


Bushnell and Dabney found Atari. They name the company after a term from the Japanese game "Go". "Atari" is equivalent to "check" in a chess game.


Al Alcorn is hired by Atari to program video games. The first game created by Atari is Pong. Ping-Pong, the original name, is already copyrighted, so the makers name it Pong after the sound of a ball hitting the paddle.

Your Free Gift

The Ultimate Back-to-School Guide

Teachers are always thinking about their students, but devotion to their progress shouldn’t come at the expense of your own. That’s why we’ve created an “Ultimate Back-to-School Guide” for teachers based on our nine future-ready skill domains.

What you can expect from this guide:

  • Learn 9 ways to become a better teacher by developing a positive mindset.
  • Links to dozens of free resources curated by our experts to help you both in and outside the classroom.
  • Clear steps to improve your teaching and general well-being.

Sign up for a premium membership to get your Ultimate Back-to-School Guide absolutely free!

SIGN UP TO CLAIM YOUR FREE GIFT

ultimate back-to-school guide for teachers

Go Premium

Get unlimited, ad-free access to all of TeacherVision's printables and resources for as low as $2.49 per month. We have a plan for every budget. 

Select a plan

All plans include a free trial and enjoy the same features. Cancel anytime.
Learn more about Premium

Register