It was the end of the 1970s that we started to see games console of a type appear in our rich school friends houses. We all remember that fantastic Tennis game that was nothing more than a white line, moving up and down, which hit a white square backwards and forwards. Oh how technology has changed since Pong.
The Atari 2600 was released in 1977, and was able to change games by just switching cartridges into the unit. These were large and by today’s standards prehistoric. Now the cartridge from memory was nothing more than a sort of cassette tape, that you had to pre-load into the console before you start the game.
The unit came with two hard to use joysticks, and a number of free games, mostly it was Combat that you had free, but it would depend where in the world you were. But Pong was the game we played, however the sales in 1978 started to falter, as people began to realise that they did not have to keep buying a new machine, they could just buy new games instead.
Third party companies started to produce products that would run on the Atari, rather similar to the problem Wii has today with the home-brew channels. Atari fought off of most of its competitors and had a great Christmas 1979, and were also in the process of launching Space Invaders for the 1980 market.
We all remember playing Pong at home, and Space Invaders at the arcades in the late 1970s, but we would have never have guessed that Lara Croft would appear in a film every night on our strange TV set. And it was a film that we controlled. We have moved on from Space Invaders, Defender and Pong.