This month I'm participating in the A to Z Challenge. My theme is the 80s. Today's letter is:
No retrospective of the 80s would be complete without a mention of video games. It was, after all, the era in which the medium came of age. But would you believe that video games can be traced as far back as 1950?
Bertie the Brain was an electronic game of Tic-Tac-Toe displayed at the Canadian National Exhibition for two weeks, then disassembled. There were many other games over the years, but the first commercially-available arcade game was 1971's Computer Space.
True 80s video game fanatics think of the Atari as the true beginning of gaming. When the Atari 2600 released in 1977, it definitely made an impact. Believe it or not, this seemed pretty advanced for the time.
What really popularized gaming in the 80s, however, was the arcade. Playing games became an event. You left your house and went to the mall or a nearby shopping center, where you could play whatever game you wanted for a few minutes for the cost of a quarter. The first arcade game was Space Invaders and it remained an arcade staple through much of the 80s.
Then came this game...which captured the interest of even total non-gamers like me.
There was even a hit song, Pac-Man Fever.
The industry "crashed" around 1983, with multiple video game equipment/console manufacturers going bankrupt. Arcades remained around for a few years, though. My friends and I always thought of it as "the place where all the cute boys hang out." Of course, they were too busy playing games to pay attention to us.
Arcades are still around (Dave & Buster's, mostly), but somehow it isn't quite the same.
Have you ever played an 80s-style video game?