Videogame Timeline

1966

Ralph Baer invents the ‘Brown Box’ for Sanders Associates.

1969

Oct. 29– First two nodes of Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) connected between UCLA’s School of Engineering and SRI International.  Allows data to be transferred between points.  Successive nodes would expand globally to become the internet.

1972

Pong releases.

Magnavox sells the Brown Box as the renamed Magnavox Odyssey.

1977

Oct. 14– Atari launches the 2600 in North America.

1978

June 1– Space Invaders releases in NA.

1981

April 22Nintendo releases Donkey Kong in NA.  Shigeru Miyamoto’s first game.

1982

Sept. 1E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial releases in NA.  Low quality over saturates already strained market.

1983

Video Game Crash threatens entire industry.

1984

June 6– Alexey Pajitnov releases Tetris in the Soviet Union.

1985

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.

1987

Nintendo releases The Legend of Zelda on North American NES consoles.

1989

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.

1991

March 22Capcom releases Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior in North American arcades.

Sept– Nintendo launches the Super Nintendo in North America.

1992

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.

1993

Dec. 10– iD releases Doom on the PC in NA.

1994

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. 21Bungie releases Marathon on Macs in NA.  One of first games to feature full mouse-driven free-aim.

1995

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.

1996

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.

1997

August 31Squaresoft releases Final Fantasy 7 in NA. Increased interest in cinematic videogames.

Sony releases the Dual Shock controller for the PlayStation in Japan.  First large-scale dual analog control and dedicated force feedback.

1998

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.

1999

Sept. 9– Sega launches the Dreamcast in NA.  First console to have internet connection built in.

2000

Oct. 26– Sony launches the PlayStation 2 in NA.  Built-in DVD player brings format into homes and becomes de facto standard for media.

2001

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.

2002

Sega discontinues the Dreamcast, announces its move to dedicated game development for multiple consoles.

2003

April 1– Rooster Teeth releases Red vs Blue onto the internet.

July 16– Interactive Digital Software Association renamed to Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

2004

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.

2005

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.  Quick Time Events become primary mini games 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.

2006

Nov. 7– Epic Games releases Gears of War in NA.  Popularizes cover-based gameplay for third person action games.

    • Unreal Engine 3.

Nov. 7Harmonix releases Guitar Hero 2 releases in NA. Starts the plastic instrument craze.

Nov. 11– Sony launches the Playstation 3 on the Playstation 2 in NA.

Nov. 19– Nintendo launches the Wii in NA.  Design simplifies gaming and expands market potential.

    • Wii Sports bundled with Wii console.

2007

June 29– Apple launches the iPhone in NA.

Nov. 5- Infinity Ward releases Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare in NA.  Creates paradigm for progression in multiplayer games.

2008

Sept. 22– Capcom releases Mega Man 9. Helps Cave Story usher in retro game boom that would elevate indie game scene.

2009

Minecraft distributed on internet.

June 19– Farmville releases on Facebook.

Aug. 25Rocksteady 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.

2011

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. 4From Software releases Dark Souls. Hidetaka Miyazaki’s title reinvigorates interest in challenging action games from the 8 and 16-bit generations.

2013

Nov. 15– Sony releases the Playstation 4.

Nov. 22– Microsoft releases the XBox One.

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