1970s Video Games: History, Pictures & Consoles


Please raise your hand if you weened your video game playing skills at the arcade in the 1970s?


Thought so. In the early 1970s, you had to go to the arcade for the good games. Home video games were far behind.

Grab your quarters, hop on your bike and waste a few hours having the time of your life bouncing a square “ball” that is a few pixels off a rectangle that you control.

Now that’s real gaming.

I’m not going to act like you should play these games all day because you are a video game purist or something.

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Compared to games in the ’80s, these games are very basic and child-like.

But the fun wasn’t confined to the arcade. There was a revolution going on in the household as well. Suddenly, people had a whole new option when it came to home entertainment.

People of all ages and pay grades were getting in on the fun. Game systems weren’t overly expensive. The average console was about $100 ($400 in today’s money), so the average middle class family could afford it.

Many folks thought it would be a fad, that video games would pass because, honestly, they weren’t that much fun to play. Few could have predicted that it was a start of something that would change everything.

Top Ten 1970s Arcade Games

  1. Space Invaders
  2. Pong
  3. Galaxian
  4. Asteroids Breakout
  5. Tank
  6. Computer Space
  7. Anti-Aircraft
  8. Death Race
  9. Lunar Lander
  10. Star Raiders

List of 1970s Video Games

1971 — Galaxy Game, Computer Space, Empire, Star Trek, The Oregon Trail, Baseball
1972 — Pong, Hunt the Wumpus, Star Trek ; launch of Magnavox Odyssey
1973 — Gotcha, Space Race; BASIC Computer Games book
1974 — Tank, Maze War, Spasim, Gran Trak 10, Speed Race
1975 — Colossal Cave Adventure, Gun Fight, Indy 800, dnd, pedit5; launch of Magnavox Odyssey Series
1976 — Artillery, Breakout, Blockade, Death Race, Sea Wolf, Night Driver, Sprint 2, Microchess; launch of Coleco Telstar and Fairchild Channel F
1977 — Empire, Combat, Space Wars, Super Bug, Zork; launch of Apple II, Atari 2600, Bally Astrocade, Color TV Game, Commodore PET, Compucolor II, and TRS-80 Model I
1978 — Space Invaders, Atari Football, Beneath Apple Manor, MUD1; launch of Magnavox Odyssey and Exidy Sorcerer
1979 — Galaxian, Asteroids, Head On, Adventure, Star Raiders, FS1 Flight Simulator, Temple of Apshai, Lemonade Stand; launch of Atari 400/800, Intellivision, and Microvision


1970s Video Game Consoles

  • Telstar (Telstar, Classic, Deluxe, Ranger, Alpha, Colormatic, Regent, Sportsman)
  • Odyssey (300,2000,3000)
  • Radio Shack TV Scoreboard
  • Unisonic Sportsman/Tournament
  • Philips Tele-Spiel ES2203 and ES2204
  • Zanussi/Seleco Play-O-Tronic
  • Videomaster (Strika, Strika 2,ColourScore 2, SuperScore)
  • APF TV Fun (Model 401)
  • BSS 01
  • Telstar Colortron
  • Telstar Marksman
  • Telstar Galaxy
  • Odyssey 4000
  • Philips Tele-Spiel ES2218
  • Videomaster Sportsworld
  • Philco/Ford Telejogo II
  • Philips Tele-Spiel ES2208
  • Telstar Combat!
  • Telstar Gemini
  • Telstar Arcade
  • Commodore TV Game 2000K/3000H and Colorsport VIII
  • National Adversary
  • Philips Odyssey 2001
  • Videomaster (ColourScore, VisionScore, ColourShot)
  • Philco/Ford Telejogo
  • Philips N30
  • Philips Odyssey 2100
  • Indy 500 system (Video Action 4)
  • Sears/Atari Speedway e Speedway IV
  • Interton Video 2800
  • MBO Tele-Ball VIII
  • Tele-Match 3300R
  • Ricochet Super Pro (modello MT-4A)
  • Venture Electronics Video Sports VS-5
  • Atari PONG
  • Atari PONG Doubles
  • Sears PONG IV
  • Atari/Sears Super PONG
  • Atari Super PONG Ten
  • Atari Video Pinball
  • Color TV Game 6
  • Color TV Game 15

1970s Video Game Videos

Rare 1972 Magnavox Odyssey Promo Video

1978 Atari Commercial w/ Pete Rose, Pele & Don Knotts

1970s Video Games Print Ads


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13 thoughts on “1970s Video Games: History, Pictures & Consoles

  1. John Warchol

    I have Sears Tele-Game console, model # 99747 which I think is from the 1970’s.
    It is a Demolition Derby / Hockey console. I am trying to find any info on it , such as when it was sold through Sears and if it has any value.
    Thank you.

  2. Tim

    Iv been looking for 20 years for a game i played in the early 70s at our ELKS club. The board was high on the wall so you can see it anywhere in the club. It was lit up with two boys throwing darts.you would get a black box with nothing more than a red button. You simply press the button and hold it down until you wanted the boy to release the darts.you would take turns. The boys even had names (Frank&Izzy).The control box was wireless. Can anyone help with name or Make????

    1. rae

      I recall the game too. My parents owned a small town hotel & had this in the bar. I can’t find info on it either. Good memory on the names of the 2 players.

  3. brett

    I trying to remember toy I had in the 70s . it ran on batterys . it look like robot it it was atoy u put 4 marker on the side it would draw designs on paper I hope u can help me

  4. Michael Mcfadden

    Somewhere around 1972 a friend took me to an arcade in vaguely midtown or lower Manhattan where they had an AMAZING game (for the time!) It was basically an ASTEROIDS on steroids with little flying saucers that would fly out to shoot at you and spice things up. There was only one of the machines at the place and it cost 50 cents a pop instead of 25 cents…

    And it wasn’t until Asteroids itself appeared in ’78/’79 that I saw anything similar.

    Anyone have any idea what game it was that I played back in ’72?

    1. neider xavier

      sure friend, what you played in 1972 was called computer space from 1971, first commercial arcade video game

    2. chef Mark K

      I played that game to the point of bankruptcy and finally beat it. Had the entire arcade surrounding the machine cheering me on. I think I walked away after 30-35 minutes and never played again. If memory serves me (and it frequently does not anymore) I believe it was called Space Odyssey. I too am looking for info on it. I think that it was in a curvy futuristic plastic enclosure and the gamer controlled a rocket type ship that could go forwards only but you could rotate it to reverse direction. I remember that it wrapped around if you went off of the screen as did the (photon torpedoes) that you fired so you could hit one of those alien saucers by firing off the screen and have it come around and hit it from behind’

  5. cecil adams

    multi player game in which answering questions took you to a higher level. the trip took you thru a “forest” and swamp infested with crocidals and I believe hippos. Incorprated learning and working your way thru this maze of animals and terrain at the same time. I don’t remember it as a compition as much as an educational game.

  6. Kevin KNAPP

    Impossible game to find..the spaceship crashes and by typing in commands you get the alien to search for the parts of the soceship that are scattered around..rebuild the spaceship so you can leave the planet you crashed on..pc game that I played in the 70s ..basic game but I couldn’t figure out what command to type..miracle if someone knows this game..was on old floppy disk

  7. Q. Green

    There was a video game at the theater I used to go to in 76-77 that I remember putting a lot of quarters in, despite it being graphically hard to look at; huge block graphics, one of which was the Enterprise from ST:TOS. It was a shooter, and I don’t remember if it was using a primitive color monitor or it had a colored lens, but the Enterprise was yellow!. No ideal what the name was, but it was there about the same time Death Rase was out.


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