What’s Next? Video Game Consoles Through the Years

By on May 19, 2013
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Video game sales accounted for nearly $15 billion in the U.S. last year. In 2012, the U.S. box office sold about $11 billion worth of tickets, the home video industry made about $18 billion and the publishing and music industry each brought in $7 billion.

Four decades of mainstream gaming have turned the video game industry into a major player in the entertainment business. With last year’s release of Nintendo’s next-gen console Wii U, the February announcement of this fall’s Sony PlayStation 4 and the expected unveiling of Microsoft’s “Xbox 720” this coming Tuesday, May 21st, the video game industry is ready to take another leap into cultural dominance.

Let’s take a look back at some of the most popular home video game consoles of the past 35+ years, starting with one of the most famous and beloved consoles of any generation, the Atari 2600.

1977: Atari 2600

Not the first video game console—the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey was the first—but the Atari 2600 was certainly the one that started the modern age of video games.


1978: Magnavox Odyssey 2

The successor to the original video game console had no third-party games but still sold over a million consoles.


1979: Mattel Intellivision

It never could get out of the shadows of the Atari 2600, but with unique add-ons like Intellivoice, the speech synthesizer, the Intellivision still has many fans to this day.


1982: ColecoVision

It had better graphics than the Atari 2600 and Intellivision, and it included the arcade smash Donkey Kong. But there was also a depressing Smurfs game.


1982: Atari 5200

The inevitable sequel to the legendary 2600, the 5200 would eventually fall victim to the video game crash of 1983, but had an analog joystick with a numeric keypad and pause button.


1982: Intellivision II

Yeah… sneaky name since it was the same exact thing as the Intellivision, only smaller.


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About Joe Warner

I'm the senior editor of The CheckOut. I am an aficionado of shiny gadgets and classic Hollywood movies and can also tell you the names of the late '80s Swedish Davis Cup team members.

One Comment

  1. dave_c

    May 20, 2013 at 9:13 am

    No Atari 800XL or Commodore 64? I first learned to program on those. Having cassette and floppy drives available at “reasonable” prices opened up new possibilities for the consumer.

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