The first semblance of popular arcade games history included early amusement park midway games such as ball toss games, shooting galleries, pinball, and the first coin-operated machines that read a person’s fortune or played music. The old midways of the 1920’s era paved the way for later installments of arcade games.
The first coin-operated (coin-op for short) pinball machine was introduced sometime in the 1930’s. These machines differed from their electronic counterparts that were made out of wood. They were also different in the fact that they lacked plungers and lit-up bonus surfaces on the playing field. In 1933, there was a controversy surrounding the development of the first pinball machines. They were banned in New York and in other places around the world for being too ‘luck based,’ and it was therefore considered as something that was synonymous with gambling. However, this issue was resolved in 1947, where flippers were included to make the game based more on skill, thereby making it more family-friendly. By 1977, most pinball machines in pre-production were also switched from mechanical to electronic reading and scoring boards.
The space combat game called Galaxy Game was an expansion of the 1962 Spacewar and was released in 1971, during the early era of video games. The gameplay involves two spaceships named The Needle and The Wedge, both controlled separately by players. The objective for both players is that, with a limited supply of torpedoes, they must attempt to shoot down their opponents while avoiding a massive collision with the gravity well of the star.
In 1978, Taito Corporation released Space Invaders, which went on to become one of the most commercially successful video games of all time. Its success marked the beginning of the golden age of arcade video games, and would serve as the inspiration for many of the later games. Space shooters were dubbed as the most popular genre of arcade video games during this era, and it wasn’t until the 1980 release of Pac-Man that things changed. Pac-Man deviated from what was considered the ultimate precedent of gaming, and set a whole new standard in pop culture. It was a game that appealed to large audiences and it made its mark in video gaming history as one of the most iconic and influential video games of all time.
During the 1980’s, other beloved games including Frogger, Galaxian, Centipede, and Tron were released. These games were not only the first platforming games, but also were some of the first story-driven games that featured multiple levels.
During the mid-1980’s, the focus of gaming slowly shifted to the development of home gaming consoles. The shift from arcade games history to its future lies in recreational gaming within adult and child friendly environments providing large redemption arcades within entertainment businesses now serving the whole family.