1982 in video gaming
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1982 was the peak year of arcade and console games during the Golden age of arcade video games. Troubles at Atari, Inc. late in the year triggered the North American video game crash of 1983. Many games were released that would spawn franchises, or at least sequels, including Dig Dug, Pole Position, Mr. Do!, Pitfall!, Q*bert, and Xevious. Additional consoles add to a crowded market. The new Commodore 64 goes on to eventually dominate the 8-bit home computer market.
- December 27 - Starcade, a video game television game show, debuts on TBS in the United States.
- Electronic Games holds the third Arcade Awards, for games released during 1980-1981. Pac-Man wins the best arcade game award, Asteroids (Atari VCS) wins the best console game award, and Star Raiders (Atari 8-bit family) wins the best computer game award.
- The US arcade game market is worth $4.3 billion, equivalent to $11.2 billion in 2019.
- The US home video game market is worth $3.8 billion, equivalent to $9.87 billion in 2019.
- The Japanese home video game market is approaching ¥300 billion, equivalent to $3.55 billion in 2019.
- Eidansha Boshu Service Center shortens its name to Enix and in August establishes itself as a computer game publisher.
- New companies:
- January, Sega releases Zaxxon, which introduces isometric graphics, and looks far more 3D than any other raster game at the time.
- January 13, Midway releases Ms. Pac-Man (despite it being copyrighted as 1981); it is (as the name suggests) the sequel to Pac-Man, but was created without Namco's authorization. They also release Baby Pac-Man and Pac-Man Plus without Namco's authorization later in the year; the former is a pinball/video game hybrid.
- April 19, Namco releases Dig Dug, manufactured by Atari in North America.
- August, Nintendo releases Donkey Kong Jr., the sequel to Donkey Kong.
- August, Taito releases parallax scroller Jungle Hunt.
- September 24, Namco releases Pole Position, one of the first games with stereophonic and quadraphonic sound. Featuring a pseudo-3D, third-person, rear-view perspective, it becomes the most popular racing game of its time.
- September, Sega releases maze game Pengo, starring a cute penguin.
- October, Namco releases Super Pac-Man, the third title in the Pac-Man series.
- October, Universal releases Mr. Do! solely as a conversion kit, the first game in the series.
- November, Konami releases Time Pilot,
- December, Namco releases Xevious which sets the style for scrolling shooters to come.
- December 31, Gottlieb releases Q*bert.
- Bally/Midway releases the Tron arcade game before the movie.
- Atari releases Gravitar which, though extraordinarily difficult, inspires a number of gravity-based home computer games.
- Williams Electronics releases Joust, Robotron: 2084, Sinistar, and the second game of the year with parallax scrolling, Irem's Moon Patrol. Robotron popularizes the twin-stick control scheme for fast action games.
- Data East releases BurgerTime.
- Taito releases Front Line, which creates the blueprint for mid-80s, vertically scrolling, commando games.
- Electro Sport releases Quarter Horse, the first Laserdisc video game.
- Kangaroo is one of the first Donkey Kong-inspired games to become popular in arcades.
- February, Atari releases the early survival horror game, Haunted House.
- March, Atari's Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man hits stores. 12 million cartridges are produced, 7 million sold; it's believed to be one of the causes of the North American video game crash of 1983.
- April, Activision releases Pitfall!, which goes on to sell 4 million copies.
- May, Atari releases Yars' Revenge.
- August, overlooked arcade games are revitalized as ColecoVision launch titles, including Cosmic Avenger, Mouse Trap, Lady Bug, and Venture.
- October, Atari releases Swordquest: Earthworld, the first title in a planned four-game contest.
- December, Atari releases E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Written in five and a half weeks, it's one of the games that sparks the crash of 1983.
- Activision releases River Raid, Megamania, Barnstorming, Chopper Command, and Starmaster for the Atari 2600. River Raid becomes one of the all-time bestselling games for the system.
- Starpath releases Dragonstomper (the only RPG for the Atari 2600) and Escape From the Mindmaster.
- Parker Brothers releases Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back for the Atari 2600, which is the first Star Wars video game.
- Imagic releases Demon Attack, Atlantis, Cosmic Ark, and Dragonfire for the 2600. Atlantis sells over a million copies while Demon Attack doubles that.
- March 11, Infocom releases their first non-Zork title, Deadline.
- August 24, Ultima II: The Revenge of the Enchantress is released.
- November, Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0 is released for MS-DOS. It becomes a standard compatibility test for early PC clones.
- Big Five Software releases the widely ported Miner 2049er, a platformer with ten screens compared to the four of Donkey Kong.
- Brøderbund releases Choplifter for the Apple II.
- Edu-Ware releases Prisoner 2 for the Apple II, Atari, and IBM PC.
- Koei releases The Dragon and Princess, the earliest known Japanese RPG, for NEC's PC-8001 home computer platform. It is an early example of tactical turn-based combat in the RPG genre.
- Koei releases Night Life, the first erotic computer game.
- Pony Canyon releases Spy Daisakusen, another early Japanese RPG. Based on the Mission: Impossible franchise, it replaces the traditional fantasy setting with a modern espionage setting.
- Sir-Tech Software, Inc. releases Wizardry II: The Knight of Diamonds, the second scenario in the Wizardry series.
- Sierra On-Line releases Time Zone for the Apple II. Written and directed by Roberta Williams, the graphical adventure game shipped with 6 double-sided floppy disks and cost US$99.
- Synapse releases Necromancer and Shamus for the Atari 8-bit family.
- Hiroyuki Imabayashi's Sokoban is released for the NEC PC-8801 and becomes an oft-cloned puzzle game concept.
- Datamost releases the action/adventure game Aztec for the Apple II.
- The Arcade Machine from Broderbund is one of the first general-purpose game creation kits.
- January, Sega releases the Sega Zaxxon, an arcade system board that introduces isometric graphics.
- September, Namco releases the Namco Pole Position, the first arcade system board to use 16-bit microprocessors, with two Zilog Z8002 processors. It is capable of pseudo-3D, sprite-scaling, and displays up to 3840 colors.
- November, Atari renames the venerable Atari Video Computer System to the Atari 2600.
- Atari releases the Atari 5200, a lightly modified Atari 8-bit computer with analog joysticks and no keyboard.
- Coleco Industries releases the Gemini, an Atari 2600 clone.
- Emerson releases the Arcadia 2001.
- Entex releases the Adventure Vision tabletop console.
- General Consumer Electronics releases the Vectrex with built-in vector monitor.
- Coleco launches ColecoVision, the first console with versions of Donkey Kong and Sega's isometric Zaxxon.
- Starpath releases the Starpath Supercharger add-on for the Atari 2600.
- July, Timex Sinclair releases a modified ZX81 in the US as the TS1000. It's the first sub-$100 home computer.
- Commodore Business Machines releases the Commodore 64 home computer, which would become the European market leader and one of the best-selling computers of all time.
- NEC releases the NEC PC-98, which would become the Japanese market leader and one of the best-selling computers of all time. It is released as the APC overseas.
- Sharp releases the X1.
- Sinclair Research releases the ZX Spectrum home computer, which would become the most popular gaming computer of its generation in the UK.
- Dragon Data, initially a subsidiary of Mettoy, releases the Dragon 32 home microcomputer.
- Video Game Myth Busters - Did the "Crash" of 1983/84 Affect Arcades?, The Golden Age Arcade Historian (December 27, 2013)
- Everett M. Rogers & Judith K. Larsen (1984), Silicon Valley fever: growth of high-technology culture, Basic Books, p. 263, ISBN 0-465-07821-4,
Video game machines have an average weekly take of $109 per machine. The video arcade industry took in $8 billion in quarters in 1982, surpassing pop music (at $4 billion in sales per year) and Hollywood films ($3 billion). Those 32 billion arcade games played translate to 143 games for every man, woman, and child in America. A recent Atari survey showed that 86 percent of the US population from 13 to 20 has played some kind of video game and an estimated 8 million US homes have video games hooked up to the television set. Sales of home video games were $3.8 billion in 1982, approximately half that of video game arcades.
- Buchanan, Levi. "Top 10 Best-Selling Atari 2600 Games". IGN.
- "ランダム・アクセス・メモ". Oh! FM-7. August 4, 2001. p. 4. Retrieved September 19, 2011. (Translation)
- Retro Japanese Computers: Gaming's Final Frontier, Hardcore Gaming 101, reprinted from Retro Gamer, Issue 67, 2009
- "Time Zone: An interview with Roberta Williams". Computer Gaming World. May – June 1982. pp. 14–15.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)