- The Sega Dreamcast was the first console to implement online play over a phone line, calling the system Sega Net.
- The Microsoft Xbox was the first video game system to provide full support for HDTV.
- Popular Science recognized the Sega Dreamcast as one of the most important and innovative products of 1999.
- The Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972, contained 40 transistors and no microprocessor. The Pentium 4 microprocessor contains 42 million transistors on the chip itself!
- The PlayStation 2 was the first system to have graphics capability better than that of the leading-edge personal computer at the time of its release.
- The Nintendo N64 marked the first time that computer graphics workstation manufacturer Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) developed game hardware technology.
- While the original Atari Football game was first created in 1973, it wasn't released until 1978. It was delayed because the game couldn't scroll the screen -- players couldn't move beyond the area shown on the monitor. When the game was finally released, it became the first game to utilize scrolling, a key part of many games today.
- The Atari Pong video game console was the No. 1 selling item for the holiday season in 1975.
- The first console to have games available in the form of add-on cartridges was the Fairchild Channel F console, introduced in August 1976.
- The PlayStation 2 was the first video game system to use DVD technology.
- On the original Magnavox Odyssey, players had to keep score themselves because the machine couldn't.
- The Nintendo GameCube's proprietary disc held 1.5 gigabytes of data -- 190 times more than what an N64 game cartridge could hold.
- On the market from 1991 till 2004, the SNK NeoGeo AES has tied the Atari 2600 (1977-1990) as the longest supported gaming console in history.
- The Sega Genesis featured a version of the same Motorola processor that powered the original Apple Macintosh computer.
- Mattel's Intellivison system, introduced in 1980, featured an add-on called "PlayCable," which delivered games by cable TV.
- Nintendo's Game Boy was the most successful game system ever, with more than 100 million units sold worldwide.
- The word atari comes from the ancient Japanese game of Go and means "you are about to be engulfed." Technically, it is the word used by a player to inform his opponent that he is about to lose, similar to "check" in chess.
- In the 1980s, a service called Gameline allowed users to download games to the Atari 2600 over regular phone lines. It was not a success, but did form part of the foundation for America Online, the world's largest Internet service provider.
- The first color portable video game system was the Atari Lynx, introduced in 1989 and priced at $149.
- Introduced in 1993, the 3DO was the first video game system to be based entirely on CD technology.
- The Sony PlayStation was originally intended as a CD add-on to the Super Nintendo. When licensing problems and other issues arose, Sony decided to develop the PlayStation as a machine of its own.
For more information on video game systems, video games, buying a console and related topics, check out the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
More Great Links
- Microsoft. "Xbox 360." (Dec. 1, 2008) http://www.xbox.com/en-US/hardware/
- Nintendo. "Wii." (Dec. 1, 2008) http://www.nintendo.com/
- Porcaro, John. "Xbox 360 HD DVD Support Statement Updated." Feb. 23, 2008. (Dec. 1, 2008) http://gamerscoreblog.com/team/archive/2008/02/23/557671.aspx
- Sony. "PlayStation 3." (Dec. 1, 2008) http://www.us.playstation.com/PS3