Ralph Baer invents the ‘Brown Box’ for Sanders Associates.
Oct. 29– First two nodes of Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) connect UCLA’s School of Engineering and SRI International. Allows data to be transferred between points. Successive nodes would expand globally to become the internet.
Magnavox sells the Brown Box as the renamed Magnavox Odyssey.
Oct. 14– Atari launches the 2600 in North America.
June 1– Space Invaders releases in NA.
Sept. 1– E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial releases in NA. Low quality over saturates already strained market.
Video Game Crash threatens entire industry.
June 6– Alexey Pajitnov releases Tetris in the Soviet Union.
October 18– Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) launches in NA. It would standardize the ‘+’ shaped D-Pad that would be used on every console’s controller for decades.
- Super Mario Bros. released. Created side-scrolling and defined the rules for virtual world and how to interact within it.
Nintendo releases The Legend of Zelda on North American NES consoles.
Apr. 21– Nintendo Game Boy launches in NA.
- Tetris released as pack in game. Helps sell market on Game Boy and portable gaming.
Aug. 14– Sega launches the Genesis in NA.
March 22– Capcom releases Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior in North American arcades. Revolutionizes fighting games.
Sept– Nintendo launches the Super Nintendo in North America.
Jan. 1– Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty releases in NA. Becomes the template for the Real Time Strategy genre.
Aug. 22– Midway releases releases Kombat in NA arcades. Will go on to spark violence in videogames debate.
Dec. 10– iD releases Doom on the PC in NA. Doom’s quick gameplay and cohesive enemy classes popularize the first person shooter.
April- Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA) formed.
Apr. 18– Super Metroid releases in NA.
July 29– Congress approves the IDSA’s proposed Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating system to self-regulate and limit availability of mature content to minors.
Nov. 22– Sega launches the Saturn in Japan
Dec. 21– Bungie releases Marathon on Macs in NA. One of first games to feature fully mouse-driven free-aim.
May 11– Sega Saturn ‘launches’ in North America.
Sept. 9– Sony launches PlayStation in NA. The console’s CD drive allows larger games to be produced.
June 22– iD releases Quake in NA. Influential for being one of the first fully polygonal games, standardizing mouse-look and WASD keyboard movement, and online competitive and cooperative multiplayer.
June 23- Nintendo launches the Nintendo 64 in NA. Introduces analog control.
- Super Mario 64 releases in NA. Game defines movement and camera in three-dimensional world.
Sony releases the Dual Shock controller for the PlayStation in Japan. First large-scale dual analog control and dedicated force feedback.
Mar. 31– Blizzard Entertainment releases Star Craft in NA.
Sept.– Nintendo releases Pokemon Red/Blue in NA. ‘Gotta Catch ’em All’ craze.
Oct. 22– Konami releases Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation in NA. Hideo Kojima proves that videogames could have Hollywood-caliber, cinematic narratives while pushing the unique opportunities of the medium to tell them.
Nov. 19– Valve releases Half-Life in NA. Changes the course of in-game, real time cinematics and player connected storytelling.
Nov. 23– Nintendo releases The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in NA. Defines combat and level design in 3D world.
Sept. 9– Sega launches the Dreamcast in NA. First console to have internet connection built in.
Oct. 26– Sony launches the PlayStation 2 in NA. Built-in DVD player brings format into homes and becomes de facto standard for media.
Dec. 21– Sega releases Sonic Team’s Phantasy Star Online for the Dreamcast, creating the console blue print for online multiplayer RPG’s that Capcom would later use for Monster Hunter.
Aug. 23– Capcom releases Hideki Kamiya’s Devil May Cry, establishing the character action genre as hybrid brawler/fighting game.
Sept. 24– Sony releases Ico in NA. Pushes videogames as art debate.
Oct. 23– Rockstar Games releases Grand Theft Auto 3 in NA. Creates open-world genre.
Nov. 15– Microsoft launches the Xbox in NA.
- Bungie releases Halo: Combat Evolved. Title marries mouse control onto controller interface, helping unite console and PC design. sensibilities.
Sega discontinues the Dreamcast, announces its move to dedicated game development for multiple consoles.
April 1– Rooster Teeth releases Red vs Blue onto the internet.
July 16– Interactive Digital Software Association renamed to Entertainment Software Association (ESA).
Nov. 9– Bungie releases Halo 2 in NA. Pushes online gaming onto consoles.
Nov. 16- Valve launches Steam in NA. Will become premier digital distribution platform for computers.
- Half-Life 2 releases in NA.
Nov. 21– Nintendo Dual Screen (DS) launches in NA.
Nov. 23– Blizzard Entertainment launches World of Warcraft in NA.
Jan. 11– Capcom releases Resident Evil 4 in NA. Revolutionizes action genre with over the shoulder orientation.
March 22– Sony Santa Monica releases God of War in NA, establishing western game development’s take character action genre. Quick Time Events become primary mini game type for medium.
Nov. 22– Microsoft launches the Xbox 360 in NA. It’s Internet integration and PC compatible infrastructure bridges gap between consoles and computers.
- Geometry Wars released on Xbox Live Arcade
Dec. 1 – Capcom releases Monster Hunter Portable in Japan, bringing the Phantasy Star Online-inspired hunting game to the PSP with adhoc multiplayer so players could connect with others nearby. The Monster Hunter series explodes in Japan.
Nov. 7– Epic Games releases Gears of War in NA. Popularizes cover-based gameplay for third person action games.
- Unreal Engine 3.
Nov. 7– Harmonix releases Guitar Hero 2 releases in NA. Starts the plastic instrument craze.
Nov. 11– Sony launches the PlayStation 3 in NA.
Nov. 19– Nintendo launches the Wii in NA. Design simplifies gaming and expands market potential.
- Wii Sports bundled with Wii console.
June 29– Apple launches the iPhone in NA. Dramatically increases access and interest in mobile gaming and in app purchases.
Nov. 5- Infinity Ward releases Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in NA. Creates paradigm for RPG character progression in multiplayer games.
Sept. 22– Capcom releases Mega Man 9. Helps Cave Story usher in retro game boom that would elevate indie game scene.
Minecraft distributed on internet.
June 19– Farmville releases on Facebook.
Aug. 25– Rocksteady Studios releases Batman: Arkham Asylum, considered the best comic-inspired game of all time. Introduces new attack/evade/counter gameplay that would be adopted by many other games for years later.
Dec. 18– James Cameron’s Avatar releases in NA. Ushers in era of Stereoscopic 3D viewing.
March 27– Nintendo releases the 3DS in NA.
United States Supreme Court deems videogames as free speech protected under the First Amendment of U.S. Constitution.
Oct. 4– From Software releases Dark Souls. Hidetaka Miyazaki’s title reinvigorates interest in challenging action games from the 8 and 16-bit generations.
Nov. 15– Sony releases the Playstation 4.
Nov. 22– Microsoft releases the XBox One.
Sep. 26 – Epic Games releases the battle royale segment of their third person shooter Fortnite. The free to play game becomes an instant cultural phenomenon and brings the BR format mainstream.