It is commonly believed that video games originated in 1958 in the United States in an atomic research laboratory when Willy higinbotham decided to plug an oscilloscope into a computer and got what looked like a tennis simulation. In 50 years, a lot has happened in the small world of video games and we invite you to browse the history of our favorite hobby, taking a look at home consoles.
1st generation (from origin to 1976)
Ralph Bear, the inventor of the game console
From 1951, while he is charged by his company (Loral Elec.) to design a new television model, Ralph bear has the idea of making a fun object by integrating a game system, which will be refused. 15 years later, in 1966, he was chief engineer in a radar manufacturer but continued to work on his idea of combining games and television. Several engineers from his team help him with his project and the management of his company even encourages them to improve their prototype. End 1968, the first patent for a game console is filed and the team tries to market its product which responds to the name of Brown Box. The console is offered to several television manufacturers but all refuse, even if contracts are signed with RCA and the General Electric everything is canceled at the last moment and at the dawn of the 70s the console is still not distributed. Finally, in 1970, an engineer from RCA spent at Magnavox and understanding better than the others the stakes of the project pushes the company to acquire the license, which makes it the first official manufacturer of game consoles.
The Odyssey, the start of a great adventure
It is under the name ofOdyssey that comes out the first living room console, born 21 years earlier in the mind of its designer. It worked with removable cartridges and, having no graphics capabilities (it only displayed 3 squares and a line), was sold with covers to be attached to the screen to simulate the backgrounds. The cartridges did not contain a program but were simply used to manage the display and the events of the game by connecting the circuits of the console. In its first version, theOdyssey did not emit sound. For the anecdote, the console is also supplied with paper sheets where the player reports his scores in pen!
Only for sale at distributors Magnavox, people at the time thought that it could only be used on televisions of this brand and it must be said that at the beginning of the 70s the concept of video games was still very vague …
Despite everything, theOdyssey sold 100,000 copies in 4 months at a price of $ 99 and was imported into Europe from 1972 (end 1974 for France).
First commercial for the Odyssey