National Video Game Day
National Video Game Day is a holiday that has come about due to the ever-increasing popularity of video games from the 20th through the 21st centuries. It’s an unofficial holiday celebrated on September 12th and shouldn’t be confused with Video Game Day, which is celebrated on July 8th. This day is a great opportunity to show just how much of a fan you are of video games.
The History of Video Games
Before you can appreciate the history of National Video Game Day, you first have to understand the history of video games themselves. While there has been a long tradition of playing games on computers since they were first available on the market during the 1950s, most video game experts would trace the history of home video games to the 1970s—or more specifically, to the year 1971.
In 1971, the game “Computer Space” became the first commercially available video game on the market and was created by Nutting Associates. The following year, Pong was brought to video arcades by Atari. Also in 1972, on the home console front, Magnavox released the Odyssey video game system. This video game system was very basic and used approximately 59 transistors and diodes instead of a microprocessor. Three years later, Atari introduced Pong to the home market.
Atari struck gold in 1977 when it released the Atari Video Computer System (VCS). On this game system, users could use removable cartridges to play a variety of different games. This game system featured a 6502 microprocessor, 128 bytes of RAM, and a Stella graphics chip. This was a pretty advanced setup, and the VCS would go on to become a very popular system. This system would later be known as the Atari 2600 in 1982.
While the Atari 2600, the Atari 5200, Mattel’s Intellivision, and Coleco’s ColecoVision became extremely popular over the next few years, the popularity of these systems began to drop because the quality of the gameplay on these systems wasn’t as good as at the arcade. In 1985, the home video game market received the boost it needed when the Nintendo Entertainment System—or the NES—was released.
The NES energized the home video game market with a system that featured a Ricoh 2A03 8-bit processor, used a pad controller instead of a joystick, and featured faithful reproductions of arcade video games. NES not only produced a better quality home game system but also a better model of selling home video game systems. They made their systems loss leaders—which means they sold them at a loss and made money off the games instead. This allowed more people to buy them and made NES extremely popular. Over the years, the video game market continued to evolve and grow—with some systems losing out and some systems rising to prominence. Today, there are a variety of home video game systems on the market.
Video Game Fun Facts
- World of Warcraft is the highest-grossing game of all time.
- The video game industry is worth over $70 billion worldwide.
- Almost 60% of all Americans play video games.
- The average game player is 32 years old.
- Over 50% of American households have a game system.
Celebrating National Video Game Day
Celebrating National Video Game Day is not only easy but also fun. All you have to do is fire up your favorite video game system and have some fun with your friends. You can play games on a modern system or you can play one of the classics: perhaps a Magnavox Odyssey, a Video 2000, or a Philips Odyssey.
If you’re familiar with writing programs using the antique programming language BASIC, you can always write your own computer game on this day. Provided that you have one of the early personal home computers like the Amstrad CPC (Color Personal Computer), the TRS-80, Commodore VIC-20, or the Commodore 64.
Gamers can enter one of the many game competitions that are usually held on this day as well. Or you can throw a gaming party where everyone brings their own games and everyone competes against each other.
National Video Game Day is a great excuse to spend the entire day playing games with your family and friends. It’s also a great day to learn a little bit more about video games and how they came into existence. So go out there and play your favorite games.