10 Oldest Video Game Consoles in The World (Updated 2021)

Spread the love

Video games trace their history all the way back to the 1950s, but did not really start to find commercial success until the early 1970s. As arcade games exploded in popularity following the release of Pong in late 1972, home electronic manufacturers quickly moved to capitalize on the new craze and the first home video game consoles were released not long after.

All of the earliest game consoles were released throughout the 1970s and were essentially Pong clones. Basically the only games that these consoles could play were Tennis (generic Pong) and its variants. However, some consoles did have target shooting games and could even be played in color. These old consoles paved the way for today’s game consoles, which have come such a long way in only a few decades.

10. Commodore TV Game

Year Released: late 1976
Manufacturer: Commodore
Country of Origin: Canada
Launch Price: Unspecified
No. of Units Sold: Unspecified

Commodore TV Gamephoto source: Wikimedia Commons via ChRiS

With all of the Pong home console knockoffs, another electronics manufacturer, Commodore, decided to enter the fray in 1975 with the release of the Commodore TV Game 2000K and 3000H. Both Commodore TV Game consoles were released following Commodore’s acquisition of MOS Technology, which made electronic chips.

The 2000K and 3000H TV Game models are nearly identical. However, the 2000K has an additional port, a black plastic case, and no built-in controller –  the 3000H had one built-in controller and an  additional port for a second controller. There were four games available for the Commodore TV Game series, including Tennis, Football, Squash, and Game mira, which could be played with the optional optical gun.

Did You Know?

According to the manuals that come with the Commodore TV Game consoles, each game has a different background color other than the standard black of most home video games of the time.


9. APF TV Fun

Year Released: April 1976
Manufacturer: APF Electronics Inc.
Country of Origin: USA
Launch Price: $125 ($937.44 in 2019)
No. of Units Sold:Unspecified

APF TV Funphoto source: Flickr via phreakindee (APF TV Fun in front)

Like every single one of the early game consoles on this list, the APF TV Fun was a Pong clone. The TV Fun was produced by APF Electronics, which made calculators and other small electronics, and built in Japan. APF Electronics manufactured several models of the TV Fun, starting with model 401 in April 1976.

Along with Coleco’s Telstar, the APF TV Fun was one of the first consoles to use General Instruments’  AY-3-8500 chip. The chip had various versions of ball and paddle games (Pong) on it and allowed other manufacturers to compete with Atari’s Home Pong. The APF TV Fun was quite expensive and sold for around $125.

Did You Know?

The APF TV Fun was sold at Sears stores under the name Hockey Jockari.


8. Telstar

Year Released: 1976
Manufacturer: Coleco
Country of Origin: USA
Launch Price: $50 ($226.40 in 2019)
No. of Units Sold: over 1 million

Telstarphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Maddmaxstar

Although the Telstar console created by Coleco wasn’t necessarily unique, it was sold for only $50, which made it appealing to families of the late 1970s. Coleco ended up selling about 1 million Telstar consoles during its first year on the market, an amazing feat considering how cluttered the Pong-like home game console was.

Coleco’s Telstar was the first game console to use General Instruments’ AY-3-8500. The chip was revolutionary and played six games: Tennis, Hockey/Football, Squash, Practice/Solo, Target 1, and Target 2 (four Ball and Paddle variants and two target shooting games). General Instruments’ chip also allowed players to adjust the difficulty of their games (ball speed, player size, and ball angle) on the Telstar.

Did You Know?

In addition to all of the various games and difficulty settings, games on the Telstar could be played in color.


7. Tele-Spiel

Year Released: late 1975
Manufacturer: Philips
Country of Origin: Netherlands
Launch Price: € 60 (€294.30 in 2019)
No. of Units Sold: Unspecified

Tele-Spielphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Alvaro Marques Hijazo

Although several consoles were out in Europe at the time, including the Magnavox Odyssey, Dutch electronics manufacturer released its own home gaming console, the Tele-Spiel ES-2201 in late 1975. The Tele-Spiel was a cartridge-based system and only came with the Tennis catridge.

The Tele-Spiel came with a high price tag about €60 and each additional game cartridge was sold separately. The additional game cartridges on top of an expensive system contributed to the low sales and unpopularity of the Tele-Spiel. Due to this, the first Tele-Spiel model was discontinued in 1976 and replaced with better models.

Did You Know?

Philips released four more game cartridges for the Tele-Spiel, including Ghostchaser, Racing, Pelota, and Skeet shooting.


6. Atari’s Home Pong

Year Released: December 1975
Manufacturer: Atari
Country of Origin: USA
Launch Price: $98.95 ($479 in 2019)
No. of Units Sold: about 150,000

Atari's Home Pongphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Evan-Amos

Pong rightfully holds a very special place in video game history and is credited with turning the now $115 billion video game industry into a viable business. Pong was not only one of the oldest video games released, it was a smash hit from the start. While the first official Pong home console was not released until 1975, every game console that came before featured one game (and variations), Tennis, which was essentially Pong.

Pong finally entered the home video game market in time for Christmas in 1975 with the release Home Pong sold through Sears. Home Pong was assembled by Atari, but sold under the Sears Tele-Games label. Sears order 150,000 units and every one was sold.

Did You Know?

Atari released a more advanced home system in 1976 called Super PONG, which came with detachable controllers and allowed different games to be played.


5. Electrotennis

Year Released: September 12, 1975
Manufacturer: Epoch Co.
Country of Origin: Japan
Launch Price: ¥19,000 (¥37,375.57 in 2019)
No. of Units Sold: about 10,000

Electrotennisphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Demolitionist1

Electotennis by Japanese toy and computer game company Epoch, was released on September 12, 1975. Epoch’s Electrotennis was Japan’s very first game console and like every other first generation console, Electrotennis pretty much only had one game available, Tennis. In Japan, Electrotennis was simply known as Television Tennis.

One of the most interesting features of Epoch’s Electrotennis was that the console was completely wireless, the first and only of its kind at the time. The Electrotennis console is powered by four batteries and comes with a small receiver that needs to be connected to a TV. With its built-in antenna, the Electrotennis console transmitted a signal to the receiver, allowing the system to function without any wires.

Did You Know?

The Electrotennis version of Tennis allows players to move the bats in and out as well as up and down, something most systems from the time could not do.


4. VideoSport MK2

Year Released: late 1974/early 1975
Manufacturer: Henry’s
Country of Origin: England
Launch Price: £34.72 + VAT in 1975 (£278.71 in 2019)
No. of Units Sold: over 10,000

VideoSport MK2photo source: Wikimedia Commons via Mads Bødker

The VideoSport MK2 is another relatively known international analog video game console. It was released sometime in late 1974 or early 1975 by Henry’s, a British TV and Hi-Fi equipment retailer. The VideoSport MK2 was one of the first European consoles that could play Tennis and was very similar in design to the early game consoles from America.

Henry’s sold the VideoSport MK2 until about £34.72 + VAT (£344.42 in 2018) and discontinued the console in late 1976 or early 1977. Over 10,000 VideoSport MK2 units were sold during those few years it was on the market.

Did You Know?

There were two different versions of the VideoSport MK2 available, one with gold lettering and the later batches without the gold. This was presumably done to reduce production costs.


3. VideoMaster Home T.V. Game

Year Released: 1974
Manufacturer: Videomaster
Country of Origin: England
Launch Price: Unspecified
No. of Units Sold: Unspecified

VideoMaster Home T.V. Gamephoto source: computinghistory.org.uk

The Videomaster Home T.V. Game was one of the first European-made game consoles, along with the Ping-O-Tronic and VideoSport MK2. This early European console was designed and manufactured by Videomaster, which was most likely the first video game companies in England. Videomaster produced several home systems between 1974 – 1979.

One of the unique things about the first Videomaster Home T.V. Game systems, and the others that followed, was that it was sold fully assembled or in kit form, which allowed people to assemble the console themselves. The Videomaster Home T.V. Game was nearly identical to all of the home consoles at this time and of course had Tennis as a game as well as a few variations.

Did You Know?

The Videomaster Home T.V. Game featured square players instead of the thin rectangle of other consoles. Additionally, the second player square was stripped, which help to avoid confusion during rapid gameplay.


2. Ping-O-Tronic

Year Released: Late 1974
Manufacturer: Zanussi
Country of Origin: Italy
Launch Price: Unspecified
No. of Units Sold: Unspecified (about 1 million units of both the Ping-O-Tronic and its 1977 followup Play-O-Tronic have been sold)

Ping-O-Tronicphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Cyb3rn0id

While the Ping-O-Tronic might not be a household name like many of the first generation video game consoles on this list, it was the first home video game console released in Italy. The Ping-O-Tronic was produced by Zanussi, a well established furniture company.

Not much is known about the initial release of the Ping-O-Tronic. The console was released some time in late 1974 by Sèleco, an Italian consumer electronics manufacturer. Several versions of the Ping-O-Tronic were released in the late 1970s and are numbered PP-1 through PP-10. The Ping-O-Tronic was followed up by the Play-O-Tronic in 1977.

Did You Know?

Starting with the fifth model of the Ping-O-Tronic (PP-5) an additional outlet was added to the left side of these later versions for the Gun-O-Tronic attachment, which allowed users to play shooting games. The Ping-O-Tronic is one of the few early video game consoles that offered a target shooting game.


1. Magnavox Odyssey

Year Released: September 1972
Manufacturer: Magnavox
Country of Origin: USA
Launch Price: $99 ($599 in 2019)
No. of Units Sold: 350,000

Magnavox Odysseyphoto source: Wikimedia Commons via Evan-Amos

The Magnavox Odyssey is the first and oldest home video game console in the world. This home video game system was based on the “Brown Box” prototype invented by Ralph Baer, who is considered the Father of the Video Game. At the time Baer was an engineer working for Sanders Associates Inc., which licensed the game system out to Magnavox.

The first Magnavox Odyssey ended up spawning a line of Odyssey consoles, which were manufactured between 1972 – 1975. In total, about 350,000 Magnavox Odyssey units were sold, which isn’t considered a commercial success. Many customers believed – and were even encouraged by Magnavox salesmen – that the Magnavox Odyssey could only be used with Magnavox TVs and the consoles were only being sold out of Magnavox stores.

Did You Know?

Since the Magnavox Odyssey was such a novel concept, the video game console came with non-electronic accessories, including dice, game cards, plastic tokens, scoreboards, and a sheet of stickers.


Spread the love

Related Post

There are 1 comments

  1. Have you ever seen the older video game called Crazy Creatures? You match 3 or more of the crazy creatures continuing until they’re all gone or lose when it fills up first. ?

    Reply

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *