Timeline of arcade video game history

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This article contains a timeline of notable events in the history of arcade video games, arcade system boards and video game arcade cabinets.

Early history (1971–1977)[edit | edit source]


Golden age (1978–1984)[edit | edit source]



Post-golden age (1985–1986)[edit | edit source]


Recovery (1987–1990)[edit | edit source]

  • February: Exterminator, the second game with fully digitized graphics, is released.[121] It had some of the highest quality digitized graphics until the release of Mortal Kombat II.
  • February: Hard Drivin' by Atari Games is released as the second arcade driving game to have 3D polygon graphics.
  • September: S.T.U.N. Runner is released by Atari Games and is known for its use of high-speed 3D polygonal graphics.
  • December: Capcom releases beat 'em up game Final Fight, which represents the peak of beat 'em up popularity in the arcades.[122]
  • Air Inferno is released by Taito and is the last game running on the 3D hardware Taito Air System.
  • Galaxian³ is released by Namco as a video game theme park attraction, based on Namco System 21 hardware, and is the first to feature 8 or more players. This game is a sequel to the Galaxian series and is known for combining pre-rendered laserdisc background video with 3D polygonal graphics. It was later released as a scaled-down arcade cabinet for public arcades in 1994.
  • NAM-1975 is released by SNK and is the first game running on a Neo Geo hardware, which became a standardized arcade platform throughout the 90s to the early 2000s. Many 2D fighting games like Fatal Fury, World Heroes, Samurai Showdown and The King of Fighters ran on this hardware, and it was very popular in the arcades for its time.
  • The North American arcade video game industry faces yet another decline, with revenues falling to $2.1 billion by the following year.

Renaissance (1991–1999)[edit | edit source]

  • By 1994, largely due to the success of fighting games as well as the rise of 3D gaming, North American arcade revenues reach $7 billion, larger than the $6 billion generated by console games as well as the $5 billion generated by Hollywood movies.
  • Sega releases Virtua Fighter 2 for the Sega Model 2 arcade system board. It was considered the best-looking 3D fighting game at the time.
  • Sega releases Virtua Cop, a 3D shooter for the Sega Model 2 that begins a Renaissance for the light gun shooter genre. Many 3D shooters would follow its template over the next few years.
  • Sega releases Virtua Striker, the first football/soccer game to use 3D polygon graphics. Running on the Sega Model 2, it was also the first 3D sports game to use filtered, texture-mapped polygons.
  • Namco releases Tekken, another 3D fighting game.
  • Killer Instinct is released. It used a hard disk, and high-quality graphics pre-rendered by a rendering program, featuring high-quality use of the movie background technique.
  • Konami releases Dance Dance Revolution, an arcade game with four arrow pads that the players used to "dance." This game would create many sequels and spin-offs. It was responsible for popularizing the rhythm game genre and its success renews interest in arcade games in Asia.
  • At the same time, the North American arcade video game industry declines to $1.33 billion.
  • The US arcade game market's revenues decline to $5.7 billion in 1999[148] (equivalent to $8.1 billion in 2019).
  • Konami releases Guitar Freaks, the first guitar-based rhythm game. It would later inspire the Guitar Hero series on consoles.
  • Konami releases Drum Mania, the first drumming-based rhythm game. It could be linked up with Guitar Freaks for co-op gameplay. It would later inspire the Rock Band series on consoles.
  • Rush 2049 is released, the last arcade game to bear the Atari Games logo. Atari Games in Milpitas is renamed Midway Games West, and closes its coin-op product development division.

Modern era (2000–present)[edit | edit source]

  • Konami releases Police 911, the first video game to use accurate, full-body motion controls, which allowed the player to take cover by physically ducking for cover rather than pressing a button or foot pedal (as was the case with Time Crisis).
  • The first commercially successful touch screen game is introduced by Sega, World Club Champion Football. It is a sports strategy game where card placement on a touch surface corresponds to the actions of units on screen; the surface is able to identify each card separately.
  • Worldwide arcade game revenues reach $3.2 billion, roughly the same as the amount generated by PC game sales that same year.
  • The North American arcade video game industry declines to $866 million, the industry's lowest revenues since the 1970s. In contrast, arcade video games remain popular in Asia.
  • Arcade game revenues in Japan reach ¥649.2 billion, equivalent to $7.7 billion, the largest share of the Japanese video game industry.[149]
  • Arcade video game revenues account for a majority of Namco's revenues, largely due to the success of arcades in Asia.[150]
  • Sega releases Sangokushi Taisen, a real-time strategy where card placement on a touch surface corresponds to the actions of units on screen. Like World Club Champion Football, the surface is able to identify each card separately.
  • Japanese arcade game industry revenues reach a peak of $702.9 billion, equivalent to $8.3 billion.[149]
  • The light gun shooter 2 Spicy introduces a unique cover system, where players use foot pedals to move from one destructible cover to the next. It also allows to players to face-off against each other using such a cover system.
  • Due to the economic recession, Japanese arcade game industry begins a slow decline, dropping to $573.1 billion ($6.76 billion).[149] However, this still remains the largest share of the Japanese video game industry, followed by home console games and mobile games at $3.5 billion and $2 billion, respectively.[151]
  • The Japanese arcade game industry reaches a low of $495.8 billion, equivalent to $5.85 billion.[149]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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External links[edit | edit source]