The 1970s may have been the beginning of home video gaming as we know it. However, it was the 1980s that saw the premature death of the industry and its phoenix-like rise from the ashes. People were tired of PONG and software developers were seriously getting the knack of programming cartridges. Fairchild Semiconductors walked away from what they felt was an industry “fad” and left the Atari Video Computer System (2600) as the cart-based king of the mountain. Atari would pick up the rights to arcade hits such as “Space Invaders” and would become a must have holiday gift. The year was 1980 and Atari became synonymous with home video gaming.
Video gaming, especially arcade titles, became a commercial success. You could see game characters such as Pitfall Harry, Frogger, and Q-bert become televised cartoons. There were even Pac-Man and Donkey Kong breakfast cereals. Many home consoles would rise to challenge Atari’s dominance and earn their market share.
Atari would keep the competition in check by buying licensing rights to most arcade titles and movie tie-ins. Mattel’s Intellivision brought the first real commercialized console war, and arcade clones would be used to get past licensing issues. Some clones such as Lady Bug and Mouse Trap (both Pac-Man clones) became successful in their own right. ColecoVision would pack in an amazing port of Nintendo’s arcade hit Donkey Kong. The gaming market continued to grow at a phenomenal rate and everybody wanted a piece of the action!