Evolution of Video Games [Infographic]

Video games have evolved dramatically since their inception in 1972, and this infographic does its best to boil down almost 40 years of gaming history into one image. Infographics like this one by Ricky Linn are a great way to really understand some of the basics without browsing dozens of Wikipedia articles, something which can best be seen in the top portion of the image, which gives us the technical specs and controller layouts of some of the most popular consoles. Given that video games are, well, video, images are also ideal for conveying information about them. Looking at the original Super Mario, he was a simple 8-bit sprite, replaced with a more detailed 16-bit sprite in Super Mario World. Today, according to the chart, some character models exceed 10MB in size, making those original sprites seem truly primitive.


Back in 1985, the average child in a Western nation played video games for approximately 4 hours per week. By 2002, this amount of game time had doubled, and in 2010 it reached a total of 14 hours per week. No doubt, much of that time is due to the rise of MMORPGs and other multiplayer games which allow gamers to both play “alone” and socialize at the same time. Another very interesting portion of the infographic lists some games which pioneered new genres, such as how 1980’s Battlezone was the first true 3D game, 1989’s SimCity spawned the simulation/strategy genre, and 1996’s Quake brought us the first FPS which could be played online. Video game console prices haven’t changed much when inflation is taken into account, seen by how the SNES cost an adjusted $333 and the PS3 retails for $299, with the majority of other consoles falling into the $200s. The Atari 2600, however, had a retail price which today would be equal to a wallet-draining $896.

It’s claimed that 150 million U.S. citizens have at least one video game console in their homes. With modern consoles including the ability to watch movies and use online services such as Netflix, it’s clear that console manufacturers want the video game console to be a standard part of a family’s entertainment center rather than just something for the kids. As video games become more popular and companies continue to merge into massive ones like EA and Activision, lawsuits also become more popular and. One example is how developer Infinity Ward is suing Activision for over $36 million in damages as well as the rights to the incredibly-popular Modern Warfare series. If you enjoy infographics and video games, check out some of the others we’ve featured such as this Nintendo Facts Infographic and the Social Evolution of Gaming.