1981 in video games

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Fueled by the previous year's release of the colorful and appealing Pac-Man, the audience for arcade games in 1981 became much wider. Pac-Man influenced maze games began appearing in arcades and on home systems. Nintendo broke from their mediocre early releases with Donkey Kong which defined the platform genre.

List of years in video games

Highest-grossing gamesEdit

The year's highest-grossing video game was Pac-Man with $1.2 billion in arcade game revenue ($3.4 billion adjusted for inflation), three times the box office revenue of the highest-grossing film Star Wars (1977) in five years.[1]

Highest-grossing arcade games in the United StatesEdit

Pac-Man was the year's most successful arcade game in the United States, where it grossed an estimated $1 billion ($2.8 billion adjusted for inflation) in 1981.[2] The following titles were the top-grossing arcade games of each month in 1981, according to the Play Meter and RePlay arcade charts.

Month Play Meter RePlay Ref
January Pac-Man Asteroids [3][4]
February [3][5]
March [3][6]
April Defender [3][7]
May [8][9]
June Scramble [3][10]
July Un­known Pac-Man [11]
August Defender Defender [12][13]
September Gorf [14][15]
October Donkey Kong [16][17]
November Un­known [18]
December Un­known Pac-Man [19]

EventsEdit

MagazinesEdit

  • January – Atari computer magazine ANALOG Computing begins 9 years of publication. Most issues include at least one BASIC game and one machine language game.
  • November – The British video game magazine Computer and Video Games (C&VG) starts.
  • Winter – Arnie Katz and Bill Kunkel found Electronic Games, the first magazine on video games and generally recognized as the beginning of video game journalism.

BusinessEdit

Notable releasesEdit

GamesEdit

Arcade
Console
Computer

HardwareEdit

Arcade
Computer
Handheld

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Culhane, John (July 4, 1982). "Special Effects Are Revolutionizing Film". The New York Times. Retrieved February 28, 2021.
  2. ^ "Pac-Man leads video game invasion of Europe". Europe. Delegation of the Commission of the European Communities. 217–234: 26. 1982. Introduced in the United States in 1981 as a coin-operated video game, Pac-Man swallowed in its first year an estimated $1 billion in quarters. Although it is probably the most popular , Pac-Man is, however, only one of several hundred
  3. ^ a b c d e Sullivan, George (1983). "The First Big Hits". Screen Play: The Story of Video Games. F. Warne. p. 38-47 (44). ISBN 978-0-7232-6251-0.
  4. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. January 1981.
  5. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. February 1981.
  6. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. March 1981.
  7. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. April 1981.
  8. ^ "Top Coin-Op Video Game Earners". Play Meter. May 20, 1981.
  9. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. May 1981.
  10. ^ Kubey, Craig (1982). The Winners' Book of Video Games. New York: Warner Books. p. 118. ISBN 978-0-446-37115-5.
  11. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. July 1981.
  12. ^ Kubey, Craig (1982). The Winners' Book of Video Games. New York: Warner Books. p. 34. ISBN 978-0-446-37115-5.
  13. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. August 1981.
  14. ^ Kubey, Craig (1982). The Winners' Book of Video Games. New York: Warner Books. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-446-37115-5.
  15. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. September 1981.
  16. ^ "Donkey Kong". Joystik. 1 (2): 12-19 (13). November 1982.
  17. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. October 1981.
  18. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. November 1981.
  19. ^ "RePlay: The Players' Choice". RePlay. December 1981.
  20. ^ Video Game Myth Busters - Did the "Crash" of 1983/84 Affect Arcades?, The Golden Age Arcade Historian (December 27, 2013)
  21. ^ George Lucas and the Digital Revolution Archived January 29, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, p. 296, 2006
  22. ^ http://2600connection.com/library/magazines/spectrum/spectrum_dec82.pdf#page=7 Archived November 7, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Game Genres: Shmups[permanent dead link], Professor Jim Whitehead, January 29, 2007, Accessed June 17, 2008
  24. ^ "donkey kong [coin-op] arcade video game, nintendo co., ltd. (1981)". Arcade-history.com. Retrieved February 28, 2013.