Put down your Halo headsets for a moment and remember, if you will, a time before “gaming.” In the early 1980s, video games were a still a standing sport, as much a social activity as entertainment. Arcades served as de facto recreation centers for a generation of soda guzzling, sticky-fingered kids. Pockets stuffed with quarters, they gathered in dark, carpeted rooms to shoot bad guys and chase frogs across busy motorways. And they did it together.
The years between 1978 and 1983 are generally considered the golden age of video games. Most recognize Space Invaders as the original, arcade game to reach mass audiences, quickly followed by Asteroids (1979), Centipede (1980), and Pac-Man (1980). Space Invaders was such a hit it was rumored that Japan suffered a shortage of ¥100 coins in its wake. But Pac-Man was the real game-changer. Stateside, reception of the groundbreaking character-driven game was ravenous, and by the end of the 20th century it was estimated that Pac-Man’s total gross consumer revenue had hit $2.5 billion (or 10 billion quarters)… read more and view the gallery >