User:Nintendog master 54/Video Game Page

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A video game console is an interactive entertainment computer or electronic device that produces a video display signal which can be used with a display device (a television, monitor, etc.) to display a video game. The term "video game console" is used to distinguish a machine designed for consumers to buy and use solely for playing video games from a personal computer, which has many other functions, or arcade machines, which are designed for businesses that buy and then charge others to play.

Use of the term[edit]

The "video" in "video game console" traditionally refers to a raster display device.[1] However, with the popular use of the term "video game" the term now implies all display types and formats. The term "console" is used in the user manuals of several early video game systems. Its use, however, is not synonymous with "video game system" or the same as its modern usage. It refers to a specific part of the video game system. The Atari 2600, NES, and other consoles from those decades were called "video game systems" at the time.[2][3]

The first company to use the term "console" to officially refer to its video game system was Fairchild with the Video Entertainment System (VES) in 1976.[4] Since then, definition has widened to include entire systems, as well as to describe alternate platforms such as handheld game consoles, TV games, and multimedia devices.[5] In common usage a "console" is a specialized electronic device that connects to a standard television set or composite video monitor. A "handheld" gaming device is a self-contained electronic device that is portable and can be held in a user's hands.

Common elements[edit]

  • Controllers: Devices that allow the user to input information and interact with onscreen objects. They are like the keyboards and joysticks of personal computers.
  • Power supply: a power supply converts 100-240 volt AC utility power into direct current (DC) at the voltages needed by the electronics.
  • Console/Core Unit: The core unit in a video game console is the hub where the television, video game controllers, and game program connect. It usually contains a CPU, RAM, and an audiovisual coprocessor. Core units are similar to towers of personal computers.
  • Game Media: Most video game consoles have their programs stored on external media. They are the ROM of consoles.


First generation[edit]

Although the first computer games appeared in the 50s,[6] they used vector displays, not video. It was not until 1972 that Magnavox released the first home video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, invented by Ralph H. Baer. The Odyssey was initially only moderately successful, and it was not until Atari's arcade game Pong popularized video games, that the public began to take more notice of the emerging industry. By the autumn of 1975 Magnavox, bowing to the popularity of Pong, cancelled the Odyssey and released a scaled down console that only played Pong and hockey, the Odyssey 100. A second "higher end" console, the Odyssey 200, was released with the 100 and added onscreen scoring, up to 4 players, and a third game – Smash. Almost simultaneously released with Atari's own home Pong console through Sears, these consoles jump-started the consumer market. As with the arcade market, the home market was soon flooded by dedicated consoles that played simple pong and pong-derived games.

  1. ^ PONG-Story: Main page
  2. ^ "Atari 2600 Game Catalog Scans
  3. ^ Atari 2600 Manuals Scans
  4. ^ Channel F manual
  5. ^ Dominic Arsenault. "Company Profile: Nintendo" (PDF). Université de Montréal. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  6. ^ "The First Video Game". Brookhaven National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy. Retrieved 2008-04-15.