The Crash and Revival of Video Games

Most people know that video games have been around for a while, and there have been many successes, and many flops, but could you imagine a time where video games were so bad that their maker had to PERFORM A BURIAL for them?! Yeah folks, you read that right. In 1983, many of the Atari 2600 consoles and many cartridges were buried by its owning company, Atari, because one of the cartridges, “E.T The Extraterrestrial”, considered one of the worst games ever made, had experienced one of the biggest commercial failures in gaming. This incident in gaming history is known as the North American Video Game Crash of 1983, but you have to wonder, what did gaming do to dig their own grave, and how could it have revived?

Atari 2600

After looking at my periodic table of gaming, I counted FIFTEEN different gaming consoles, how could anyone possibly market a single game to all of these different consoles? On top of this problem, could games have been made so bad that they wouldn’t make it? Again, “E.T The Extraterrestrial” is considered the worst game of all time by critics. It probably wasn’t the only bad game at the time, but if this is called the “crash of video games” then there must have been too many bad games for the time.

So I said that there was a crash right? But why do we have video games today if we didn’t recover from the crash? Because Japan sent us the glories that are the Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Mark III (SG-1000 was put out of its misery because of its inferiority to the NES). With games such as Super Mario, we had games that would later save the industry from such a tragedy and bring video games into a better light.

NES and Mark III

From 1985 to 1995, the NES and Mark III gave us many beautiful memories for its lifespan, but why would games stop after seeing how popular the Japanese systems had become? When 16-bit games came about, we were interested by the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, with beautiful games such as Sonic the Hedgehog, Final Fantasy IV (II in America), Phantasy Star, Super Mario World, Mega Man X, Earthbound, and Earthworm Jim.

Gaming has continued to improve and improve, thanks to setting a standard of where our games will be played and other gamers talking about great games. Before the big crash we had a flooded market of countless gaming systems, but thanks to Nintendo and Sega, we were able to have a center of where our games were going.  So was a burial of video games and consoles REALLY needed? If Atari thought that it was necessary we really can’t argue with them, but as a result of “E.T”, other business failures and with how flooded the video game market was, it wasn’t surprising that the industry crashed. But after Nintendo and Sega saved us, where are they now? Sega left the hardware business after the Dreamcast was released and Nintendo is close to releasing their newest creation, the Nintendo NX, to compete with Sony’s PS4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One. Will Video Games have another crash? I personally doubt it; the industry is only going to get stronger in years to come.


[Judson James]