It’s amazing how far technology and advertising have come! Gaming consoles and video games such as Atari, Game Boy, Activision, Pacman, and Mario Brothers were everything kids talked about in the ’80s and ’90s. Yet today, for the most part, they’ve all but been forgotten.
At one time or another, the advertisements below blew people away by their images and descriptions of just how sophisticated and advanced gaming technology had become. A few short decades later they’re more admirable for their nostalgia than anything they’re selling. Enjoy reliving your favorites below:
The Atari 2600 was a video game console first released in October 1977 by Atari, Inc. The 2600 was typically sold with two joystick controllers and a cartridge game.
The Astrocade was an early video game console, which was originally released in 1977 but had its greatest impact in the early 1980s. At the time, the Astrocade was notable and admired for its powerful graphics.
The Game Boy was released in Japan in April 1989 and came to the U.S. a few months later. It’s the first handheld console in the Game Boy line and was originally bundled with the puzzle and block game “Tetris.”
Atari defined the computer entertainment industry throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. Most commonly remembered for its variety of games, none stand out quite as much as Pong or Space Invaders.
Founded in 1979, Activision was the world’s first independent developer and distributor of video games for gaming consoles. Pitfall II was originally designed for the Atari 2600 console in 1984, and featured everyone’s soon to-be favorite character, an 8-bit jungle explorer named Pitfall Harry.
Successor to the Sega’s Saturn gaming console, the Dreamcast hit stores in late 1998 with nearly 300,000 units preordered in the United States. Within its first two weeks of being released, the Sega Dreamcast sold over 500,000 consoles.
Created by Nintendo in 1983 and first used with the Atari 2600 game console, Mario Brothers became an instant video game success. Mario and Luigi will always be remembered for what they found while investigating the sewers of New York City.
Still continuing its reign as one of the world’s largest toy and game companies, in 1983, Mattel, Inc. released a video game based off the popular television commercial character Kool-Aid Man. A version was released for both the Atari 2600 and Intellivision consoles.
In 1979, less than a year after the Atari 2600 was released, Intellivision introduced its first video game console. Also known as “Intelligent Television,” Intellivision sold over 3 million consoles and offered players 125 games to choose from.
Designed for a single player, the Atari Video Cube was an adventure game released in 1982. Atari, following up on the popularity of the Rubik’s Cube in the 1980s, advertised the game as being easier than the real thing.
As Atari’s major competitor in the early 1980s, Intellivision games and consoles were known for having the best graphics of their time. In this ad, Intellivision suggests that the majority of gamers preferred their games and consoles over Atari’s. Can you see the difference in the graphics?
Sold separately from gaming consoles, Games Partners, Inc. sold a video game saver that allowed gamers to save screens and data onto a disk expandable to 128 megabits. Compare that to today’s gaming consoles with built-in hard drives with as much as 250 gigabytes and it doesn’t sound very impressive. For the time, though, it was pretty legendary.
The Commodore VIC-20 was released in 1980 as an 8-bit home computer. With its small memory and low resolution display, it was most commonly advertised and used for educational software and games.
Following the release of the first Flight Simulator made by Microsoft and subLOGIC came the release of Flight Simulator II. The second generation game was made compatible with Apple II in 1983 and, a year later, could be used with the Commodore 64 and Atari 800.
Nintendo’s Pokemon Red and Green Game Boy games were originally released in Japan. In 1998, their popularity there allowed for the production of an upgraded version that was sent to the United States. They were marketed simply under the titles Red and Blue.
Originally released in North America in 1981 as an Arcade video game, Ms. Pacman became widely popular and was soon transformed into other formats compatible with Atari gaming consoles.
The Game Boy Advance SP was released in February 2003 as an upgrade to the Game Boy Advance. The SP stood for “Special.” Just a month after its release, over 2.1 million units of the hand-held gaming system were sold across the globe.
In 1985, Nintendo’s 8-bit gaming console was released in the United States and, with it, came the option of the Action Set. The Action Set was made exclusively for the American market and included a NES Zapper, two NES controllers and the Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt games. Classic.
For many of us, the Nintendo Entertainment System is synonymous with gaming. The creator of Game Boys and gaming consoles had kids all over the world mesmerized by the quality of gaming and variety of games that it could provide in one small package.
One can easily make the argument that Atari dominated the video game industry during the late 1970s and early 1980s with its 2600 console. However, in 1992 the console was discontinued. Still, by 2004, more than 30 million Atari 2600 units had been sold. By 2006, Atari had also sold more than 7 million Pacman games, making it its most popular game to-date.
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