Monday, July 26, 2021
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What was the first video game console and when did it come out?

Today we have state-of-the-art consoles, technically impressive and able to offer interesting experiments as well. PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X / S, and Nintendo Switch represent the present and future of today’s gamers. But do you know what was the first video game console in history? To find out the answer, you have to go back in time, almost 50 years. It was in fact September 1972 when the Magnavox Odyssey made its debut on the market, becoming the first home video game console of all time. It was designed by Ralph Baer, who had already conceived the first ideas for such products in 1966, with the help of some skilled colleagues to develop the first prototypes over the next three years. One of these, the seventh prototype was known as the “Brown Box”, was shown to several manufacturers in an attempt to find someone interested in fully developing the project. The turning point will come in 1971, when Magnavox, convinced by the work of Baer and his partners, decides to produce the Odyssey. The Odyssey consisted of a largely white, black, and brown box that could be connected to the television, displaying white dots on a completely black background on the screen. The controllers were rectangular in shape with little wheels placed on the sides to move these points. To play it was necessary to place transparent plastic covers on the screen depicting different types of games: depending on which type of “game” was superimposed on the screen, the white dots were moved with the controller according to the selected rules. An extremely primitive approach, but truly surprising for the time. Indeed, one of the Odyssey games, based on ping pong, will become the source of inspiration for Atari in the production of one of the most important video games of every era: Pong, released in November 1972. The Odyssey will arrive in the UK in 1973 and then spread throughout Europe the following year. Its life cycle will be 3 years, with production stopped in 1975 after selling a total of 350,000 units. Many more versions of the console will arrive in the following years, including the Magnavox Odyssey 2 in 1978. Other times, very distant from today’s ones, where video games are now well rooted in world culture as one of the main sources of entertainment. To deepen your curiosity, here are also the best-selling consoles ever, and here are also the most unfortunate consoles in history.



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