1980 in video gaming
1980 saw the release of a number games with influential concepts, including Pac-Man, Battlezone, Crazy Climber, Mystery House, Missile Command, Space Panic, Zork I, and Olympic Decathlon. The Atari VCS (later the Atari 2600) grew in popularity with a port of Space Invaders and support from new developer Activision.
- Electronic Games hosts the first Arcade Awards, the first video game awards ceremony. It awards games released during 1978-1979, with Space Invaders winning the overall Game of the Year award.
- New companies: Brøderbund, Bug-Byte, HAL Laboratory, Human Engineered Software, Mindscape, On-Line Systems, Sirius, Sir-Tech.
- Mattel creates the original five-programmer Intellivision game design team, later nicknamed the Blue Sky Rangers in 1982 in a TV Guide interview.
- The arcade game market in the US generates $2.81 billion in revenue (equivalent to $8.54 billion in 2019).
- May 22, Namco releases Pac-Man (originally Puckman in Japan). It becomes the highest-grossing game of all time. It has the first gaming mascot character, established the maze chase genre, opened gaming to female audiences, introduced power-ups, and featured cutscenes.
- May, Stratovox from Sun Electronics is the first game with voice synthesis.
- July, Atari, Inc. releases the cold war inspired Missile Command.
- October, Nichibutsu releases the vertically-scrolling Crazy Climber, the first video game with a climbing mechanic and an objective of climbing to the top of the level.
- November 12, Stern Electronics releases Berzerk, with designer Alan McNeil's signature on the monitor glass of each cabinet.
- November, Namco releases Rally-X, the first game with a bonus round. It also features multi-directional scrolling.
- November, Universal releases Space Panic, the first game with platforms and ladders. The term platform game was still several years in the future.
- Atari, Inc. releases first-person, 3D tank shooter Battlezone.
- Cinematronics releases Star Castle. In 1982 the Atari 2600 port ends up as Yars' Revenge.
- Midway's Wizard of Wor is released, allowing two players to fight simultaneously in monster-filled mazes.
- The multi-stage Phoenix sports one of the first video game bosses, in the form of a purple alien in a mothership.
- Atari, Inc.'s port of Space Invaders becomes the killer app for the VCS and the first console title to sell a million copies.
- The first batch of games from Activision, all for the Atari VCS, hits stores: Dragster, Fishing Derby, Boxing, Bridge, and Checkers.
- December, Infocom releases its first game, Zork I, which begins the Zork series.
- The mainframe game Rogue is written by Michael Toy, Glenn Wichman, and Ken Arnold, eventually spawning a crowded genre of Roguelike games.
- Edu-Ware releases The Prisoner for the Apple II, loosely based upon the 1960s TV series of the same name.
- Strategic Simulations releases its first game: Computer Bismarck for the TRS-80.
- Microsoft publishes Olympic Decathlon for the TRS-80, a track and field video game which precedes Konami's Track & Field and The Activision Decathlon by three years.
- On-Line Systems publishes its first title, the graphic adventure Mystery House for the Apple II.
- December, Data East releases the DECO Cassette System, the first standardized arcade platform, for which many games are developed during the golden age of arcade video games.
- Mattel releases the Intellivision console.
- The Sinclair ZX80 and Acorn Atom are the first home computers to play games in the UK.
- Tandy releases the first version of the Tandy Color Computer.
- Video Game Myth Busters - Did the "Crash" of 1983/84 Affect Arcades?, The Golden Age Arcade Historian (December 27, 2013)
- Steve L. Kent (2001), The ultimate history of video games: from Pong to Pokémon and beyond: the story behind the craze that touched our lives and changed the world, Prima, p. 143, ISBN 0-7615-3643-4, retrieved May 1, 2011,
Despite the success of his game, Iwatani never received much attention. Rumors emerged that the unknown creator of Pac-Man had left the industry when he received only a $3500 bonus for creating the highest-grossing video game of all time.
- The Essential 50 - Pac-Man, 1UP
- Playing With Power: Great Ideas That Have Changed Gaming Forever, 1UP
- Gaming's Most Important Evolutions Archived June 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, GamesRadar+