Top 10 Dates That Changed Gaming Forever

VOICE OVER: Dan Paradis
History class would have been a lot more fun if this is what we'd have been learning! Welcome to and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Dates That Changed Video Gaming Forever!
Top 10 Dates that Changed Video Gaming Forever

It wasn’t always consoles and graphics. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 dates that changed video gaming forever.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the historic landmarks that had the biggest impact on the industry and the culture around video games. The electronic medium hasn’t been around quite as long as film or television, but despite its comparatively short history, this list will be focusing on the most pivotal moments that led us to where we are today.

#10: October 26th, 2000 - Launch of the “PlayStation 2”

Sony had a respectable debut to the gaming world with their original PlayStation, but it was the PS2 that really took the company to new heights. Not only did their platform produce some of the best looking games of its generation, it was the only place to play the newest titles in franchises like Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy. That, combined the ability to read DVD’s right out of the box ensured that it held its place in the home media setups of over 150 million homes, starting the trend of consoles being more than just simple gaming machines.

#9: November 19th, 2006 - Launch of the “Wii”

The “revolutionary” Nintendo console may not have been the hardcore gaming system that fans of the Japanese giant were hoping for after the GameCube, but it really marked the major emergence of casual gaming in the mainstream public eye. I mean, how many other consoles does your grandma own? Exactly. Banking on its innovative, and yes, gimmicky, motion controls, Nintendo had a smash hit on their hands that everyone else tried to cash in on. More importantly, this was when the big N stopped caring about the power of their machines, and really distanced themselves from direct competition with Sony and Microsoft.

#8: May 11th, 1995 - The First “E3”

Christmas for gamers, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is where new titles are announced, demoed, and where wish lists for the entire year to follow are crafted, but it took a while for E3 to become what it is today. The now yearly conference saw a dramatic increase in importance over the more than twenty years since its inception, and has gone from being a business oriented affair, to a full blown convention for the fans, and is now arguably more of a press event than anything else. It’s taken on many forms, but its influence is stronger than ever.

#7: September 12th, 2003 - Launch of “Steam”

Great games have always been available on PC, whether on old floppy disks or on CD-ROM, but it was never easier to get up and running than with Valve’s digital storefront. It had a modest start, but today it sits as the undisputed king of PC gaming, offering thousands of titles, both amazing indies and AAA games included, and has skewed value perception so much with their yearly summer sales that millions of gamers have sworn off full priced console releases altogether. Preferring to further invade your living room, Valve barely even makes their own games anymore, which really shows which side of their business is more important to them.

#6: September 16th, 1994 - Creation of the “ESRB”

“Games are too violent,” and “I don’t want you playing that,” still trigger gamers who grew up in the late 80s and early 90s, with bloody fatalities and shooters drawing parental rage. Enter the now infamous Ratings Bureau, created with a mandate to stamp every title with an age appropriate rating. While it may be incredibly frustrating when you’re barely too young to buy the new Grand Theft Auto thanks to its “M” rating, without it, games might not have ever been as widely accepted as they are today. It’s a small price to pay for the sheer variety of content we have now that everybody plays games and parents aren’t leading a witch hunt.

#5: October 18th, 1985 - Launch of the “Nintendo Entertainment System”

Rising from the ashes of fellow console makers all over the world, Nintendo leveraged the success of its Donkey Kong arcade game to enter your home, and has stayed there ever since. With the success of the Famicom or “family computer” in Japan in 1983, the company brought the system to our shores 2 years later, along with tons of quality games, removing any stigma about the industry and its piles of incomplete or poorly ported console games that caused the crash of ‘83. Characters like Mario and Link revolutionized genres and became names everyone with a controller would come to recognize more than thirty years later. The “NES” changed consoles and gaming for the better.

#4: July 18th-21st, 2014 - “DOTA 2” broadcast on ESPN

E-sports have struggled to find their place in mainstream popular culture, despite its massive rise in recent years. But the mainstream and the world of e-sports came face to face when ESPN, the USA’s largest sports broadcaster took a huge gamble and spent one pivotal weekend covering DOTA’s yearly International tournament. Sports fans were confused and pissed, and the coverage didn’t necessarily carve out a yearly slot on the broadcast schedule, but it was absolutely massive exposure for all electronics competitions, which really raised the credibility of the scene in the eyes of the masses.

#3: September 11th, 1977 - Launch of the “Atari 2600”

Any fan of old movies knows that arcades were the place to be if you were a teen in the 70s, but prior to Atari’s first gaming machine there was no way to keep that experience going after closing time. The 2600 brought games to your TV for the first time, gaining notoriety by porting hits like Asteroids and Space Invaders for everyone to enjoy without trading in their paycheck for quarters. Sure the graphics sucked compared to the cabinets and the games were expensive, but every console game you’ve ever played can be traced back to two people playing the 2600 for hours for the first time on their living room couch.

#2: Year of 1983 - The Video Game Crash

While Atari may have started the home video game industry, they almost ended it as well. The success of the American company inspired competing copycat products like the Colecovision and Odyssey which started an arms race of half-assed, barely functional games which flooded stores, and consumers, with complete garbage. Add an economic downturn an awful ports of the most popular arcade game at the time, and a barely functional movie licensed game, and you have a massive crash that bankrupted companies and almost ended home gaming right then and there. Thankfully a few standout companies like Nintendo and Sega stood up and picked up the slack.

#1: Year of 1962 - “Spacewar!” created at MIT

Many people believe that Pong, with its little paddles inspiring generations of programmers, was the first video game, but this little known title introduced the concept to the public a whopping ten years earlier. Developed at MIT, this space combat game took up a laughable amount of computing power and hardware real estate. If you’ve ever played even a single video game in your life, you can thank Steve Russel, the man behind the project. Aside from the obvious graphical innovation and processing power, countless games borrowed the control scheme of this game, showing just how far ahead of its time SpaceWar! really was.