Computer Space - History of Video Games"Computer Space" (1971) promotional flyer (crop) Nutting Associates, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Quiz on the History of Video Games

How well do you know video game history?

Are you a gaming aficionado? Test your knowledge with this engaging quiz on the epic saga of video game history.

From the pixelated adventures of the '70s to the high-definition realms we explore today, this quiz covers the milestones that have defined the gaming landscape.

Dive into questions that span decades of digital innovation and see if you can score a perfect playthrough. Ready to prove your mastery of gaming lore? Let the quiz begin!

Start the Video Game History Quiz

Video Game History Q&A

  • What is the first commercially successful video game?

    The first commercially successful video game was Pong. Released in 1972 by Atari, Pong is often credited as the game that kickstarted the video game industry. It is a simple table tennis simulation game where players control paddles on the screen to hit a ball back and forth. Its simplicity and accessibility made it incredibly popular in arcades and led to numerous home console versions, establishing video gaming as a popular entertainment medium.

    • Pong
    • Space Invaders
    • Pac-Man
    • Asteroids
  • What classic arcade game involves shooting at descending aliens?

    The classic arcade game that involves shooting at descending aliens is Space Invaders. Released in 1978 by Taito in Japan and later in the United States by Midway, Space Invaders became one of the most iconic video games of its time. Players control a laser cannon that moves horizontally at the bottom of the screen, shooting at waves of aliens descending from the top. The game's success sparked the golden age of arcade video games and led to the development of many other shooting games.

    • Space Invaders
    • Galaga
    • Asteroids
    • Defender
  • What game features a character eating dots while avoiding ghosts in a maze?

    The game that features a character eating dots while avoiding ghosts in a maze is Pac-Man. Created by Toru Iwatani and released by Namco in 1980, Pac-Man quickly became an arcade sensation and an enduring icon of pop culture. The gameplay involves navigating a maze to eat all the dots while dodging four colorful ghosts named Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde. Power pellets allow Pac-Man to temporarily eat the ghosts, adding a strategic element to the game.

    • Pac-Man
    • Ms. Pac-Man
    • Gobbleman
    • Maze Runner
  • In which arcade game does a character climb ladders to rescue a damsel from a giant ape?

    The arcade game in which a character climbs ladders to rescue a damsel from a giant ape is Donkey Kong. Released in 1981 by Nintendo, it marked the debut of both its titular character, Donkey Kong, and Mario, the game's hero who initially was known simply as "Jumpman." Players navigate Jumpman through a series of platforms and ladders while dodging obstacles, including barrels thrown by Donkey Kong, to rescue the damsel, Pauline. Donkey Kong's innovative gameplay and storyline were pivotal in the platform game genre's development.

    • Donkey Kong
    • King Kong Climber
    • Barrel Jump
    • Monkey Mayhem
  • What game stars a plumber on a quest to rescue a princess from an evil turtle?

    The game that stars a plumber on a quest to rescue a princess from an evil turtle is Super Mario Bros.. Released in 1985 by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), it introduced players to Mario, a plumber who travels through the Mushroom Kingdom to save Princess Peach from the villain Bowser. It became one of the best-selling video games of all time and established many elements that would become staples of the platform genre.

    • Super Mario Bros.
    • Plumber's Journey
    • Princess Rescue
    • Turtle Invasion
  • In what year was the first home video game console released?

    The first home video game console was released in 1972. Known as the Magnavox Odyssey, it was designed by Ralph H. Baer and released in September 1972. It allowed players to play games on their television sets, a revolutionary concept at the time. Although it featured simple games and graphics by today's standards, the Magnavox Odyssey marked the beginning of the home video game console industry.

    • 1972
    • 1968
    • 1975
    • 1980
  • What's the first sports video game?

    The first sports video game is Tennis for Two. Developed in 1958 by physicist William Higinbotham at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, New York, Tennis for Two is considered the earliest form of a video game. It was designed to entertain visitors at the laboratory, simulating a game of tennis on an oscilloscope screen. Players used a controller to hit a ball back and forth over a "net." Though simplistic by today's standards, Tennis for Two paved the way for the development of video games as a form of entertainment.

    • Tennis for Two
    • Pong
    • Virtual Tennis
    • Paddle Battle
  • What adventure game series follows a hero named Link on a quest to rescue a princess?

    The adventure game series that follows a hero named Link on a quest to rescue a princess is The Legend of Zelda. First released in 1986 by Nintendo, the series has become one of the company's most successful franchises. Set in the fantasy land of Hyrule, the games often involve Link attempting to save Princess Zelda from the series' primary antagonist, Ganon. Known for its innovative gameplay, intricate puzzles, and expansive worlds, The Legend of Zelda series has had a significant impact on the adventure genre.

    • The Legend of Zelda
    • Hero's Quest
    • Hyrule Adventures
    • Princess Rescue Saga
  • What was the first game to introduce combos and special moves in fighting games?

    The first game to introduce combos and special moves in fighting games is Street Fighter II. Released by Capcom in 1991, it revolutionized the fighting game genre with its diverse roster of characters, each equipped with unique special moves. Additionally, players could perform combos by stringing together a series of attacks that the opponent couldn't block when hit by the first move. Street Fighter II's mechanics greatly influenced the development of subsequent fighting games, making it a pivotal title in the genre.

    • Street Fighter II
    • Karate Champ
    • Fatal Fury
    • Mortal Kombat
  • What game features a blue hedgehog with super speed?

    The game that features a blue hedgehog with super speed is Sonic the Hedgehog. Developed by Sega, the first game in the series was released in 1991 for the Sega Genesis console. Sonic the Hedgehog was created to compete with Nintendo's Mario series, featuring Sonic, a blue hedgehog who runs at supersonic speeds, as the protagonist. His mission is to thwart the evil Dr. Robotnik, who aims to take over the world. The game's fast-paced gameplay and innovative level design made it a hallmark of early 90s video gaming.

    • Sonic the Hedgehog
    • Flash Rabbit
    • Speedy Porcupine
    • Blaze the Cat
  • What game introduced the concept of the side-scrolling platformer?

    The game credited with introducing the concept of the side-scrolling platformer is Jump Bug. Released in 1981 by Alpha Denshi, Jump Bug is recognized as one of the earliest side-scrolling platform games. Players control a car that can jump, navigating through various environments such as cities, caves, and underwater levels. The game's mechanics of horizontal scrolling and platform jumping laid the groundwork for future titles in the platform genre, influencing countless games that followed.

    • Jump Bug
    • Donkey Kong
    • Pitfall!
    • Super Mario Bros.
  • What groundbreaking first-person shooter was released in 1993?

    The groundbreaking first-person shooter released in 1993 is Doom. Developed by id Software, Doom became a landmark title in the gaming industry, popularizing the first-person shooter genre. It featured fast-paced gameplay, multiplayer options, and modding capabilities that were revolutionary at the time. Players take on the role of a space marine fighting his way through hordes of invading demons from Hell. Doom's influence on the video game industry is immense, inspiring countless games and establishing many conventions of the shooter genre.

    • Doom
    • Wolfenstein 3D
    • Quake
    • Unreal Tournament
  • Who developed Tetris?

    Alexey Pajitnov developed Tetris. Created in 1985 while he was working at the Dorodnitsyn Computing Centre of the Academy of Science of the USSR in Moscow, Tetris is a tile-matching puzzle game recognized for its simple yet addictive gameplay. Pajitnov designed the game inspired by a traditional puzzle game called Pentominoes. The game involves players rotating and arranging falling tetrominoes to complete lines, which then disappear. Tetris became a global phenomenon and is one of the most popular video games of all time.

    • Alexey Pajitnov
    • Vladimir Pokhilko
    • Henk Rogers
    • Minoru Arakawa
  • What was the name of the first arcade game released by Atari?

    While Computer Space is recognized as the first commercial arcade video game, it was released in November 1971 by Atari founders Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, operating under the name Syzygy Engineering, before formally establishing Atari. Computer Space, designed to simulate a spaceship battle, did not achieve significant commercial success but laid the groundwork for the future of arcade gaming. This pioneering effort by Bushnell and Dabney directly led to the founding of Atari, Inc., where they would go on to release Pong, their first game under the Atari brand and the first commercially successful arcade video game.

    • Computer Space
    • Pong
    • Breakout
    • Asteroids
  • What was the maximum amount of RAM available in the ZX Spectrum?

    The maximum amount of RAM available in the ZX Spectrum was 128KB. Initially released in 1982 by Sinclair Research in the UK, the ZX Spectrum began with models offering 16KB or 48KB of RAM. The ZX Spectrum 128, code-named Derby, was developed in conjunction with Sinclair's Spanish distributor, Investronica, and introduced in 1985. This collaboration was partly in response to Spanish market regulations, including a tax on computers with 64KB of RAM or less and a requirement for computers to support the Spanish alphabet and display messages in Spanish. The ZX Spectrum 128 not only met these requirements but also significantly expanded the computer's capabilities in terms of graphics and software complexity. The ZX Spectrum series played a crucial role in popularizing home computing and video gaming across Europe in the 1980s.

    • 128KB
    • 64KB
    • 256KB
    • 512KB
  • Who is the main villain in "The Secret of Monkey Island"?

    The main villain in "The Secret of Monkey Island" is LeChuck. A fearsome pirate turned ghost, LeChuck is obsessed with the game's protagonist, Guybrush Threepwood, and his love interest, Elaine Marley. The game, developed by Lucasfilm Games and released in 1990, is a seminal adventure game known for its witty dialogue, engaging puzzles, and memorable characters. LeChuck's villainous schemes and pursuit of power serve as the primary obstacle for Guybrush throughout the series, making him one of the most iconic villains in video game history.

    • LeChuck
    • Blackbeard
    • Captain Hook
    • Long John Silver
  • What side-scrolling adventure game for the Commodore 64 involves treasure hunting amidst hazards?

    The side-scrolling adventure game for the Commodore 64 that involves treasure hunting amidst hazards is Pitfall!. Released in 1982 by Activision, Pitfall! was designed by David Crane. Players control Pitfall Harry in an expansive jungle environment, avoiding obstacles and hazards such as pits, quicksand, rolling logs, and crocodiles, in search of treasure. The game was groundbreaking for its time, offering 255 screens of fast-paced adventure and is considered one of the greatest video games for the Commodore 64.

    • Pitfall!
    • Gold Rush
    • Treasure Island
    • Jungle Quest
  • Which computer had the cassette deck integrated into the keyboard?

    The computer that had the cassette deck integrated into the keyboard is the Amstrad CPC. Released in the mid-1980s, the Amstrad CPC series was notable for its all-in-one design, with a built-in cassette deck for loading and saving data right next to the keyboard. This innovative feature was a hallmark of the Amstrad CPC's design, making it distinct from many of its contemporaries, which required external cassette players. The integration helped streamline the computer's use at a time when cassette tapes were a common storage medium for software and games.

    • Amstrad CPC
    • Commodore 64
    • ZX Spectrum
    • Atari 800
  • Which 1994 Blizzard game pioneered the real-time strategy genre?

    The 1994 Blizzard game that pioneered the real-time strategy genre is Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. This game set the stage for the future of real-time strategy (RTS) games by offering a compelling blend of base building, resource management, and tactical combat. Players could choose to play as either the human inhabitants of Azeroth or the invading orcs, each with unique units and structures. Its success led to the development of multiple sequels, spin-offs, and even a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft, making the Warcraft series one of the most beloved franchises in gaming history.

    • Warcraft: Orcs & Humans
    • Command & Conquer
    • Age of Empires
    • StarCraft
  • What year was the PlayStation introduced?

    The PlayStation was introduced in 1994. Developed and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment, the PlayStation console was first released in Japan on December 3, 1994, and later in North America, Europe, and other regions. It represented a significant advancement in home console gaming, offering 3D graphics and CD-ROM-based games. The PlayStation quickly became a major success, helping to solidify Sony's position in the video game industry and leading to the development of a series of successors.

    • 1994
    • 1992
    • 1995
    • 1989
  • What game popularized survival horror?

    The game that popularized survival horror is Resident Evil. Released by Capcom in 1996 for the PlayStation, Resident Evil set a new standard for the genre with its atmospheric setting, story-driven gameplay, and emphasis on horror, puzzle-solving, and resource management. Players navigate a series of dangerous environments filled with zombies and other monstrous creatures, unraveling the mystery of the Umbrella Corporation and the T-virus outbreak. Its success spawned a long-running series, numerous remakes, and is credited with defining the survival horror genre.

    • Resident Evil
    • Silent Hill
    • Alone in the Dark
    • Dino Crisis
  • What was the first video game to use a fully-fledged “physics engine”?

    The first video game to use a fully-fledged “physics engine” was Trespasser. Released in 1998, Trespasser was designed as a Jurassic Park game that aimed to innovate by incorporating realistic physics for interactions in a 3D environment. This ambitious use of physics in gaming was pioneering at the time. Despite its groundbreaking technology, Trespasser faced numerous challenges and did not meet commercial expectations, partly due to its ahead-of-its-time complexity and the hardware limitations of the era. Nonetheless, its contributions to the development of physics in video games were significant, paving the way for more sophisticated simulations in later titles.

    • Trespasser
    • Half-Life 2
    • Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne
    • Havok physics engine
  • What was the flagship launch game for the Xbox?

    The flagship launch game for the Xbox was Halo: Combat Evolved. When the Xbox was released by Microsoft in 2001, Halo: Combat Evolved quickly became synonymous with the console, showcasing its capabilities and setting a high standard for first-person shooters on home systems. Its engaging story, innovative gameplay, and groundbreaking multiplayer features not only helped to sell the Xbox console but also established Halo as one of the most popular and influential video game franchises.

    • Halo: Combat Evolved
    • Project Gotham Racing
    • Dead or Alive 3
    • Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding
  • Which game popularized open-world gameplay in a Miami-inspired city?

    The game that popularized open-world gameplay in a Miami-inspired city is Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Released by Rockstar Games in 2002, Vice City draws heavy inspiration from 1980s American culture, particularly Miami's. Players take on the role of Tommy Vercetti as he rises through the ranks of the criminal underworld. The game's open-world design, narrative depth, and freedom of action set new standards for the genre, making it one of the most iconic and beloved entries in the Grand Theft Auto series.

    • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
    • Saints Row 2
    • Scarface: The World Is Yours
    • Mafia II
  • When was the Nintendo Wii released?

    The Nintendo Wii was released in 2006. Launched by Nintendo, the Wii console was notable for its innovative motion-sensing controls, which allowed players to interact with games through physical movements. The Wii's accessible and family-friendly games, along with its unique controller design, helped it appeal to a broad audience, including those who traditionally did not play video games. Its success contributed significantly to the expansion of the video game market.

    • 2006
    • 2004
    • 2005
    • 2007
  • Which 2004 game became the most popular MMORPG?

    The 2004 game that became the most popular MMORPG is World of Warcraft. Developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment, World of Warcraft set a new benchmark for the MMORPG genre in terms of scale, depth, and community engagement. Upon its release, it quickly amassed a huge following and has maintained a large and dedicated player base through numerous expansions. World of Warcraft's immersive world, rich lore, and social gaming aspects have made it one of the most influential and successful video games of all time.

    • World of Warcraft
    • EverQuest II
    • Final Fantasy XI
    • Guild Wars
  • What 2012 game is considered a precursor to the battle royale genre?

    The 2012 game considered a precursor to the battle royale genre is DayZ. Originally a mod for the tactical shooter Arma 2, DayZ is an open-world survival game with a focus on scavenging for resources, surviving against zombies, and interacting with other players, often in hostile ways. Its gameplay elements of survival in a large, open map with player vs. player combat laid the groundwork for what would later evolve into the battle royale genre. DayZ's success as a mod led to the development of a standalone version, further solidifying its influence on subsequent battle royale games.

    • DayZ
    • Minecraft Hunger Games
    • H1Z1
    • The Culling
  • What game follows Joel and Ellie across a post-apocalyptic U.S.?

    The game that follows Joel and Ellie across a post-apocalyptic U.S. is The Last of Us. Developed by Naughty Dog and released by Sony Computer Entertainment in 2013 for the PlayStation 3, The Last of Us is an action-adventure game that combines survival horror elements with a strong, character-driven narrative. The story explores themes of survival, loyalty, and the capacity for humanity to persevere in the face of devastating loss and adversity. Its critical and commercial success has made it one of the most highly regarded video games of its generation.

    • The Last of Us
    • Fallout 3
    • Mad Max
    • Days Gone
  • Which early online game genre, played via text, was a precursor to MMORPGs?

    MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons) were text-based online games that laid the groundwork for the MMORPG genre. Originating in the late 1970s, MUDs allowed players to explore, interact, and create in virtual worlds together.

    • MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons)
    • MOOs (MUD, Object Oriented)
    • RPGs (Role-Playing Games)
    • MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online games)
  • Which web technology dominated browser games before the adoption of HTML5?

    Flash technology was the leading platform for browser games prior to HTML5, facilitating the creation of interactive multimedia content, including animations, videos, and games, within web browsers.

    • Flash
    • Silverlight
    • JavaFX
    • Adobe AIR

OXO, first video gameRound simulated screenshot from the game OXO. About, Public domain

History of Video Games

The history of video games spans several decades, evolving from simple electronic games into a vast and complex industry that encompasses a wide variety of genres and technologies. Here's an overview of the key milestones in the evolution of video games:


1950s to 1960s: The Origins

- 1952: Alexander S. Douglas developed "OXO", also known as Noughts and Crosses, as part of his doctoral dissertation at the University of Cambridge. Played on the EDSAC computer, it allowed users to play tic-tac-toe against an artificial intelligence, making it one of the earliest examples of a computer game.
- 1958: Physicist William Higinbotham created "Tennis for Two" to entertain visitors at Brookhaven National Laboratory. This simple tennis simulation displayed on an oscilloscope is considered one of the first video games.
- 1962: Steve Russell and his team at MIT developed "Spacewar!", the first game intended for computer use. Played on the PDP-1, it was a two-player space combat game that became popular in academic settings.

1970s: Birth of the Arcade and Home Console Market

1971: Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney founded Atari, setting the stage for the company to become a significant force in the video game industry. They released "Computer Space," the first commercial arcade video game. While innovative, it did not achieve widespread commercial success, but it paved the way for future developments in the arcade game market.
- 1972: Atari released "Pong", which became a massive commercial success and brought video games into public consciousness. This same year, Magnavox released the Magnavox Odyssey, the first commercial home video game console, introducing a new way for families to enjoy video games in the comfort of their homes. The Odyssey, though limited in capabilities and game variety compared to later consoles, marked the beginning of the home video game market.
- 1977: The home console market expanded with the release of the Atari 2600, introducing interchangeable game cartridges.


1980s: The Golden Age of Arcade Games and the Rise of Home Gaming

- The 1980s saw the golden age of arcade video games, with titles like "Pac-Man", "Donkey Kong", and "Space Invaders" becoming cultural phenomena.
- Home computers and consoles, such as the Commodore 64 and Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), became popular, shifting gaming from arcades to living rooms.
- 1985: Nintendo's "Super Mario Bros." redefined platform gaming and became one of the best-selling games of all time.


1990s: Technological Advances and the Birth of 3D Gaming

- The 1990s introduced major advancements in graphics and gameplay, with the emergence of 3D graphics and CD-ROM technology.
- Popular consoles included the Sony PlayStation, Nintendo 64, and Sega Saturn.
- The decade also saw the rise of the personal computer as a major gaming platform, thanks to games like "Doom" and "Half-Life".


2000s: Online Gaming, Mobile Games, and Console Innovations Begin to Dominate

- Online gaming became mainstream with "Massively Multiplayer Online Games" (MMOs) like "World of Warcraft".
- The emergence of web browser games, powered by technologies like Flash, brought gaming to casual audiences and demonstrated the potential for interactive content on the web.
- The introduction of Xbox Live in 2002 revolutionized online gaming on consoles, creating a new model for digital distribution and multiplayer gaming.
- The late 2000s saw the rise of mobile gaming, thanks to the proliferation of smartphones and app stores.
- This era also saw the dominance of home consoles with Sony's PlayStation 2 becoming the best-selling console of the time, influencing the direction of gaming with its DVD playback capability, expansive game library, and online features.


2010s to Present: The Era of Streaming, Virtual Reality, and Evolution in Consoles

- Streaming services and cloud gaming, such as Google Stadia and NVIDIA GeForce Now, began to change how people access and play games, reducing the need for physical consoles.
- Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies, through devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, introduced new ways of experiencing games, offering immersive experiences.
- The release of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One marked a new generation of consoles with enhanced graphics, social features, and a focus on digital services, while Nintendo Switch blended portable and home gaming in an innovative way.
- Independent (indie) games gained prominence, enabled by digital distribution and platforms like Steam and, showcasing the creativity and innovation of smaller studios.


The video game industry continues to grow and evolve, constantly pushing the boundaries of technology, storytelling, and interactive entertainment. From arcades to multi-billion dollar online platforms, video games have become a significant part of global culture and entertainment.