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6 Lesser-Known Facts from Video Game History

Posted on the 26 February 2013 by Findthebluekey @FindTheBlueKey
6 Lesser-Known Facts from Video Game HistoryMany people know about the very beginnings of the video game industry, the major players involved, and how it shifted from arcade cabinets to consoles in our living rooms. But there are always a few small facts that tend to slip through the cracks, small tidbits about the origin of characters, or changes within the industry. I've attempted to pull together a list of a few lesser known facts from the history of the video game industry, a few that I simply found interesting, fascinating or entertaining.

1. Mario's Origin

6 Lesser-Known Facts from Video Game HistoryThe first appearance of the character we now associate with Mario was in the original Donkey Kong arcade game, but that character was never called Mario, instead his name was Jumpman. The character was eventually renamed, being called Mario based on the landlord of the warehouse where Nintendo of America stored it's first shipments of Donkey Kong arcade cabinets. I'd love to be at the board meeting where they decided that...

2. The Look of Pac-Man

6 Lesser-Known Facts from Video Game HistoryThanks to Scott Pilgrim, many people are already familiar with the idea that Pac-Man's name was originally Puck-Man, but was changed do to the ease of vandalism. But that isn't the only fact from Pac-Man's origin that may be overlooked. Many people have joked that Pac-Man looks just like a pizza with a slice missing, but few know that this was exactly what Pac-Man is meant to look like. Allegedly, Toru Iwatani - a Namco employee - got the inspiration from two sources. One was the notion of rounding the Japanese character for mouth - kuchi () - and the other was receiving a pizza with a slice missing.

3. The Beginning of the Arcade

6 Lesser-Known Facts from Video Game HistoryThe very first arcade game ever created was a game called Computer Space, produced by Nutting Associates. It was an arcade adaptation of Spacewar!, a project completed by a student at MIT, and widely considered to be one of the earliest examples of video game technology. Computer Space predated the arrival of Pong by about a year. Interestingly, the project was completed by two workers at Nutting Associates, Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, who would go on to found Atari.




4. From Humble Beginnings

6 Lesser-Known Facts from Video Game HistoryEarly on, Atari began hiring young engineers and developers to work for its fledgling video game company. One of the first engineers they hired was a 19 year old with no degree, who many of the leaders of Atari described to be a bit of a mess. That engineer was named Steve Jobs. The father of Apple computers got his start working on arcade cabinets for Atari.
Oh, and it seems his tendency to lean on Wozniak started even then.

5. Chuck E. Cheese

6 Lesser-Known Facts from Video Game HistoryIn 1977, the very first Chuck E. Cheese restaurant was opened in San Atari founder, Nolan Bushnell. The notion was to have a restaurant centered around an arcade and amusements, in order to make video games a family attraction. That's right, the man considered to be the father of video games is also the father of terrible pizza for high prices, tickets-for-prizes and that annoying mouse...thing. So take a minute to thank Bushnell for those childhood memories of spending twenty dollars in tokens for five dollar prize.

6. Sports Licensing

6 Lesser-Known Facts from Video Game History
Games based on sports had been created for years, and some had even worked out deals with associations like the NBA or NFL, but it wasn't until Electronic Arts was formed that the first athlete's were licensed to a video game. EA signed basketball starts Julius Erwing and Larry Bird to a game entitled Dr. J and Larry Bird Go One-on-On.
Soon after, EA decided to develop a football game, licensing football legend John Madden. And you can see where this is going. By doing this, EA created the longest running sports franchise of all time. And paved the way for EA Sports, perhaps one of the most complained-against groups of all time. 

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