The Golden Era of Video Games was a time of great technical breakthroughs and game design creativity in arcade games. Video arcade games were designed in a wide variety of genres, while game developers had to work within strict limits of available processor power and memory. This era also saw the rapid spread of video arcades and gamerooms across North America, Europe and Japan. At the same time, video games started to appear in supermarkets, restaurants, bars, pubs, liquor stores, gas stations, bowling alleys storefronts and many other retail establishments looking for extra income and customer traffic.Very popular video arcade games would more than on occasion cause a crush of teenagers at arcades, eager to try the latest in public entertainment.
The two most successful arcade game companies of this era were Namco (the Japanese company that created Pac-Man, Pole Position, and Dig Dug) and Atari (the US-based firm that first introduced video games into arcades). These two companies wrestled for the top slot in American video arcades for several years. Other prominent arcade companies such as Sega, Nintendo, Capcom, Konami, Taito, Williams, Bally / Midway Manufacturing Company, Cinematronics and SNK were among many others also played major roles in the early development of the video arcade game industry.
The arcade game industry truly entered its “Golden Age” in the late 70’s and early 80’s,with consumer awareness and market penetration of video arcade machines in bars, pubs, malls, storefronts and restaurants rising rapidly with introductions of such classic video arcade machines like Asteroids, Space Invaders, Galaxian, Donkey Kong, and the timeless video arcade classic game, Pac-Man.
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Towards the end of the Golden Era, national chains emerged such as Chuck E. Cheese’s, Dave and Busters and other similar entertainment center concepts that combined a traditional restaurant and/or bar environment with arcade games, and helped established the rapidly growing “family entertainment center” (FEC) and digital out-of-home entertainment industry that continue to grow be wildly successful to this very day…