ⓘ 1980 in video gaming


ⓘ 1980 in video gaming

1980 saw the release of a number games with influential concepts, including Pac-Man, Battlezone, Crazy Climber, Mystery House, Missile Command, Space Panic, Zork I, and Olympic Decathlon. The Atari VCS grew in popularity with a port of Space Invaders and support from new developer Activision.


1. Events


  • Electronic Games hosts the first Arcade Awards, the first video game awards ceremony. It awards games released during 1978-1979, with Space Invaders winning the overall Game of the Year award.


  • Mattel creates the original five-programmer Intellivision game design team, later nicknamed the Blue Sky Rangers in 1982 in a TV Guide interview.
  • The arcade game market in the US generates $2.81 billion in revenue equivalent to $8.72 billion in 2020.
  • New companies: Broderbund, Bug-Byte, HAL Laboratory, Human Engineered Software, Mindscape, On-Line Systems, Sirius, Sir-Tech.

2.1. Notable releases Games

  • May 22, Namco releases Pac-Man originally Puckman in Japan. It becomes the highest-grossing game of all time. It has the first gaming mascot character, established the maze chase genre, opened gaming to female audiences, introduced power-ups, and featured cutscenes.
  • Midways Wizard of Wor is released, allowing two players to fight simultaneously in monster-filled mazes.
  • May, Stratovox from Sun Electronics is the first game with voice synthesis.
  • Cinematronics releases Star Castle. In 1982 the Atari 2600 port ends up as Yars Revenge.
  • November 12, Stern Electronics releases Berzerk, with designer Alan McNeils signature on the monitor glass of each cabinet.
  • Atari, Inc. releases first-person, 3D tank shooter Battlezone.
  • July, Atari, Inc. releases the cold war inspired Missile Command.
  • November, Namco releases Rally-X, the first game with a bonus round. It also features multi-directional scrolling.
  • November, Universal releases Space Panic, the first game with platforms and ladders. The term platform game was still several years in the future.
  • October, Nichibutsu releases the vertically-scrolling Crazy Climber, the first video game with a climbing mechanic and an objective of climbing to the top of the level.
  • The multi-stage Phoenix sports one of the first video game bosses, in the form of a purple alien in a mothership.
  • The first batch of games from Activision, all for the Atari VCS, hits stores: Dragster, Fishing Derby, Boxing, Bridge, and Checkers.
  • Atari, Inc.s port of Space Invaders becomes the killer app for the VCS and the first console title to sell a million copies.
  • December, Infocom releases its first game, Zork I, which begins the Zork series.
  • Strategic Simulations releases its first game: Computer Bismarck for the TRS-80.
  • On-Line Systems publishes its first title, the graphic adventure Mystery House for the Apple II.
  • Microsoft publishes Olympic Decathlon for the TRS-80, a track and field video game which precedes Konamis Track & Field and The Activision Decathlon by three years.
  • Edu-Ware releases The Prisoner for the Apple II, loosely based upon the 1960s TV series of the same name.
  • The mainframe game Rogue is written by Michael Toy, Glenn Wichman, and Ken Arnold, eventually spawning a crowded genre of Roguelike games.
  • Nintendo releases the Game & Watch series of LCD handheld electronic games by Gunpei Yokoi.

2.2. Notable releases Hardware

  • December, Data East releases the DECO Cassette System, the first standardized arcade platform, for which many games are developed during the golden age of arcade video games.
  • PPZ Ameprod releases the Ameprod TVG-10 dedicated home video game console in Poland.
  • Mattel releases the Intellivision home video game console.
  • Tandy releases the first version of the Tandy Color Computer.
  • The BSS 01 dedicated home video game console is released only in Germany.
  • The Sinclair ZX80 and Acorn Atom are the first home computers to play games in the UK.