The first ever electronic game to become available to the public was Pong, released in 1972 by Atari, and created by Allan Alcorn. The game consisted of hitting a ball between two paddles, and trying to not let the ball past your paddle.
In 1975, Atari released the home version of Pong, which connected to a TV and used a controller, an example followed by almost all of the consoles that followed.
Nintendo Entertainment System
The best selling console of its time, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES for short) started life as the Nintendo Family Computer, released in Japan on July 15th, 1983. It was later released in North America throughout 1985, and Europe in 1986. The NES also bought with it the current video game system, where any company could create games if they had a licence. It was crowned the greatest gaming console of all time by IGN in 2009, and it was discontinued in
The Gameboy, released in 1989, revolutionised handheld gaming. Although it was not the first handheld console, it was the first to use a cartridge system, causing it to sell more than 118 million units worldwide (over all the models). It was discontinued in 2000, in favour of the Gameboy Advance, and later the Nintendo DS.
The Playstation (commonly known as the PS, PS1, or PSX) was the first console in Sony's Playstation lineup. It was released in 1994-1995, and it quickly became one of the most popular game consoles of its time. Another version called the Playstation Slim, or PSone, was released in 2000, as was the Playstation 2. It was discontinued in 2005, but games stayed on the shelf until 2006, giving it an impressive 12 year lifespan.
Nintendo DS (original)
The DS was Nintendo's second handheld console, released in 2004. One of its most notable features was it's dual screen system and touchscreen, and it's ability to connect over Wi-Fi with other DSs. It was also backwards-compatible with Game Boy cartridges. All of these features made it extremely popular, generating almost 150 million sales.
The Wii (codenamed the Revolution) was one of the most innovative consoles of its time, with a pointer-style remote, and diverse controls. It sold over 100 million units, and was extremely popular in families. Wii services were discontinued in 2013 to make way for the Wii U.
The Nintendo Switch was released on the third of March. It is one of the most diverse consoles ever, with a gamepad mode (shown here), a controller that connects to a TV, 2 half controllers, a tabletop mode and a tablet mode. It will also bring with it an impressive 126 games, ranging from Nintendo exclusives like the classic Mario games to brand new franchises for Nintendo like FIFA, Skyrim and Steep.
DIY computers have seen a rise in popularity over the last five years, thanks to new components, easier assembly, more affordable components, better performance, more games, and greater choice.
Gaming laptops are also becoming more affordable, but are still more expensive than desktops because of their size.
Virtual Reality (VR)
The concept of virtual reality has actually been around since the 1950s, but headsets have only started becoming available to the mainstream in the past two years. It should be noted that there are two types of VR. Mobile VR and computer VR.
Mobile VR headsets come with just the frame, and work with a mobile phone. They are quite popular due to their low price tag and large range of possibilities. The Google cardboard, one of the most popular Mobile VR headsets starts at only $7, or you can even print out a template for free. However, mobile VR is mainly for viewing, as the only input available for games when using VR is tilt, so its gaming capabilities are limited.
Computer VR is really brings out the reality in virtual reality. Computer VR looks much better than any other VR, thanks to better components and much more games. Computer VR headsets also come with controllers which are moulded to fit in your hands, as if you were holding a sword or a gun or a burger. They have more advanced motion tracking, and allow you to move around a room, to make everything feel completely real.
Augmented reality (or AR) is a mix of virtual reality and real reality, usually overlaying the real world, such as in Pokemon Go. This allows for more interaction with the environment, and to make things look extremely realistic using things like the Microsoft Hololens, which has a transparent screen to allow for holographic objects to appear in the real world. Augmented reality is also starting to appear on mobile devices, such as Pokemon Go, Snapchat, 3D drawing apps, even google translate is starting augmented reality.