~THE GOLDEN AGE OF VIDEO GAMES ~
The decade that spanned between the 1980’s and the 1990’s was one of the most important in gaming history, not only because of the publishing companies would start to establish themselves in the industry (Electronic Arts), but because of the pushes in technology both in arcade and personal computing. It allowed for truly original games to be produced that were able to be unique and experimental due in most part to the low publishing costs of the time.
With the success of Space Invaders in 1978, the arcade machine would begin to spring up all across America, and early figures would show that the arcade videogame industry was generating a revenue of $8 billion in quarters at the peak of its popularity (1982)….which is interesting to note was more than both the annual gross income of the Pop music and Movie industry combined at the time.
Crazy stuff……basically was a good indication of where the gaming industry was heading in terms of sheer scale and influence on the entertainment industry as a whole.
Not only were arcade machines taking over in the 80’s, but this decade also saw the evolution and rise of the personal computer, which alongside the continuing development of home games console would more and more bring the magic of the videogame into our home. Though the technology that was being pushed for the creation of these computers was impressive at the time, pretty much every game that first appeared on a home game console was 1) Pong. 2) A variation of Pong. Or 3) some other game, that still managed to play like Pong.
As the gaming evolution started heading into the 80’s however, genre-defining games would be developed that would not only inspire a generation of gamers (like me), but would also be a major influence on all future games.
The likes of Action Adventures, Role-Playing Games, Beat-em-Ups, Platformers, Racing and even Survival Horror Games (amongst many others) would all begin to be defined with the release of original and classic games; The legend of Zelda (1986), Dragon Quest (1986), Prince of Persia (1989), Street Fighter (1987) and Donkey Kong (1981)….and well, the list just too long to stay within my word count limit. Basically any major game you’ve heard of today was either created in this decade or was influenced by a game that was, showing why it was known as the ‘Golden Age of Videogames’.
1983 ~the Great Crash
As successful as the decade was, it was also when one of the biggest setbacks in the games industry occurred, with the 1983 Crash that would last for two years and was so serious that most people at the time doubted that video games consoles had the long-term viability that they originally thought.
There were numerous reasons that caused the crash, but the sheer amount of poor games and consoles that were fluctuating the market at the time, as well as increasing competition from ever-advancing home computers were a couple of the main reasons that led to the main companies going bankrupt. Also the fact that one of the leading companies, Atari lost its publishing control after legal battles with Activision, only led to further degrading of their products.