A Brief History of Game Consoles, as Seen in Old TV Ads
- — 03 October, 2007 12:18
- 1975: Atari PONG
- 1976: Fairchild Channel F
- 1977: Atari VCS/Atari 2600
- 1982: Milton Bradley Vectrex, Coleco ColecoVision, Atari 5200
- 1983-1985: Magnavox Odyssey 3 Command Centre, Sega SG-1000 Mk II
- 1985: Nintendo Entertainment System
- 1986-1987: Sega Master System, Atari 7800, Atari 2600 Jr
- 1988-1989: NEC TurboGrafx-16, Sega Genesis
- 1990-1991: SNK Neo Geo, Nintendo Super NES, Philips CD-i
- 1992-1993: TTi TurboDuo, Amiga CD32, 3DO Interactive Multiplayer, Atari Jaguar
- 1995: Sega Saturn, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo Virtual Boy
- 1996-1999: Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast
- 2000: Sony PlayStation 2
- 2001: Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo GameCube
- 2004-2005: SSD Company XavixXport, Microsoft Xbox 360
1982: Milton Bradley Vectrex, Coleco ColecoVision, Atari 5200
In 1982, a number of companies took a shot at the game console sweepstakes. Among the contestants were board-game heavyweight Milton Bradley, leather supplier and Cabbage Patch Kids mass-producer Coleco, and Atari, back for another round and ready to up the ante.
Milton Bradley Vectrex
The unique, portable Vectrex came with a built-in 9-inch vector monitor. Instead of relying on the sprite/raster-based methods that other consoles used, it incorporated wire frame-like vector graphics. Though this idea provided sharp lines, the Vectrex depended on plastic screen overlays to add colour to games
At its launch, the US$175 ColecoVision qualified as the most technologically advanced console ever. Games like Defender, Frogger, and Zaxxon came closer to "arcade-quality" than did competing titles for the Atari VCS or Intellivision. And many units came bundled with a near-arcade-quality port of Nintendo's Donkey Kong.
Coleco offered several hardware expansion modules that delivered extras such as Atari VCS cartridge support, driving controls (including a steering wheel), and a trackball-like roller controller. Another expansion module transformed the ColecoVision into a PC. Though the ColecoVision was a market success, Coleco chose to focus on its ill-fated Adam PC instead, and stopped production of the ColecoVision in 1984.
Essentially an Atari 400 computer without a keyboard, the 5200 Super System succeeded the Atari 2600 console. Among its innovations was a pause button, automatic switching between TV viewing and game play, and a new controller that combined an analogue joystick with a numeric keyboard and two fire buttons. Unfortunately, the joystick proved unreliable, and gamers were unhappy that their older Atari 2600 cartridges were incompatible with the new console (a separate adapter was released the next year).