Video Game Industry Timeline: 1985 - 1995

  • 1985
    • The popular game Tetris is developed by Russian programmer Alex Pajitnov. It is played on a PC.
  • 1986
    • Nintendo's NES is released in the U.S. after being test-marketed in NY one year earlier.
    • To compete with the NES, Sega introduces the Sega Master System (SMS).
    • Atari releases the Atari 7800 to stay competitive in the market.
  • 1989
    • Nintendo releases the handheld Game Boy for $109.95.
    • NEC releases the first 16-bit console in the U.S. It is called the TurboGrafx-16 and sold for $189. It is the first system to run video games stored on compact discs.
    • The true arcade experience comes into American homes when Sega debuts the Genesis, it's first 16-bit home video game console, for $249.95.
    • Atari tries to enter the handheld market with the Lynx, a color screen, handheld console for $149.95.
  • 1990
    • November 21st - Nintendo releases the Super Famicom (Super Nintendo) in Japan for 25,000 yen ($210 US)
  • 1991
    • Nintendo Releases the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) in the U.S. for $249.95.
    • June - Nintendo is to announce plans for the SNES-CD and partnership with Sony. Instead, Nintendo secretly cancels the agreement due to Sony getting rights to any and all games made on their CD medium and Nintendo announces that they are allied/partnered with Phillips.
  • 1993
    • Atari releases the Jaguar, attempting to be the first 64-bit console on the market. The console actually runs two 32-bit processors.
    • Senators Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Herbert Kohl of Wisconsin launch a Senate investigation into violence in video games, hoping to initiate a ban on violent games.
  • 1994
    • Resulting from the Senate investigation, the Entertainment Software Rating Board is created. Rating are now given to video games and are marked on the games' packaging to indicate the suggested age of players and violent content.
    • Nintendo unveils next system name as Ultra 64 in the west only. Later the name would stay Nintendo 64 worldwide due to copyright issues with Konami's Ultra Games Division.
    • In Japan, the Sega Saturn and Sony Playstation video game consoles make their debut.
  • 1995
    • Sony brings the Playstation video game console to the U.S. and sells it for $299.99.
    • Nintendo unveils the Nintendo 64 in playable form in Japan. Thought to be named the Ultra Famicom, but wasn't.
Continued to 1996 - present...
Go back to 1975 - 1984


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