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When Atari’s Pong first came out, Popular Science had a succinct opinion: Playing a game on a video screen was “one of those novelties that everyone will shortly get tired of.” We’ve never been so glad to be wrong.
As videogame designers rush forward in their perpetual quest to revolutionize the gaming experience, perhaps the most astounding achievement is just how far we’ve come in one lifetime.
Modern videogames are nearly unrecognizable from their early days of simple flashing lights and monotonous beeping. Here are 10 electronic games from America’s not-too-distant past, including Pong, Nintendo’s short-lived Virtual Boy and the awkward beginnings of online multiplayer. Whether the goal is paddling a tiny ball across the screen or defending a fictional world from a dragon god, gamers throughout time have one thing in common: They can never get enough playtime.
Playful machine: December, 1940
Games Computers Play: October, 1970
Pong: March, 1976
TV Games: November, 1976
Electronic Teasers: December, 1979
Adult computer games: July, 1984
16-bit games: December, 1990
CD-ROM games: December, 1992
Nintendo’s Virtual Boy: March, 1995
Internet gaming: December, 1996