The 2600 (initially called the Atari VCS) was introduced in October of 1977 and wasn’t officially announced dead by Atari until January of 1992, creating it the longest lived video game program in the history of the industry. And, at over 30 million systems sold, it happens to be equally the most commercially lucrative.
When compared to today’s products, Atari 2600 games have surprisingly primitive graphics. But, the actual gameplay of most system’s titles have a timeless standard that cannot be denied. Some of the more enjoyable releases include: Space Invaders and Phoenix (shooters); Jr. Pac-Man and Jawbreaker (maze games); Kaboom! and Dig Dug (action games); and Super Breakout and Warlords (ball-and-paddle games). Those shopping for more complex titles must find out games like Adventure (a spiritual forefather of The Legend of Zelda), Pitfall! (a progenitor of Super Mario Bros.), and Space Shuttle: A Journey into Space (an innovative flight simulator). Hundreds of games were introduced for the 2600, meaning players of all stripes ought to be capable to obtain anything to their liking.
In 1979, Mattel Electronics introduced the Intellivision, offering birth to the initial true system war. Marketed as a more sophisticated, more effective alternative to the aging Atari 2600, the Intellivision boasted games with superior visual detail and more realistic qualities. The system’s prevalent, groundbreaking sports titles (including Major League Baseball and NFL Football) haven’t aged and also a few of the 2600’s more action-oriented efforts, but armchair athletes can surely discover the Intellivision to become the Golden Age program of choice with regards to sports. Fun non-sports games for the program include Beauty & the Beast (a Donkey Kong-like game), BurgerTime (a superb port of the arcade classic), Diner (the sequel to BurgerTime), Demon Attack (a game that Phoenix fans may love), and Thin Ice (a cute take found on the Qix formula).
Nineteen-eighty-two saw the launch of 2 next-gen systems, the ColecoVision and the Atari 5200, both of which blew away past consoles in terms of sheer audio/visual force. Bolstered by great ports of such coin-op classics as Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Mouse Trap, Lady Bug, and Zaxxon, the ColecoVision was the initial program to provide gamers the true sensation of playing their favorite arcade games in the comfort of their own homes. Released simply a limited months after the ColecoVision, the 5200 was equally a success in terms of arcade standard, offering gamers exceptional ports of Defender, Moon Patrol, Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Robotron: 2084, and countless others. Unfortunately, both systems were victims of The Great Video Game Crash of 1984, which, for a range of factors, brought the industry to a online standstill (until 1985, when Nintendo introduced the NES to broad acclaim).
Additionally to the aforementioned fab 4 (Atari 2600, Intellivision, ColecoVision, and Atari 5200), there were a range of alternative systems introduced during the late ’70s and early ’80s, including the unknown APF MP1000, the interesting Arcadia 2001, the underrated Astrocade, the Odyssey2 (which had its own keyboard), the Vectrex (which had its own monitor), and the Microvision, which was the initial programmable handheld program.