Atari computer console and games, c 1977.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The first plug-in cartridge computer game was introduced by the Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation in the United States in 1977. Unlike earlier TV games, the plug-in cartridges contained eprom (a silicon chip memory) loaded with different information for every game. This meant that the console could be continuously renewed by simply plugging in a new games cartridge. Atari had been developing their own prototype programming system along similar lines and in October 1977 launched the Atari Video Computer System, which remained one of the most popular video game systems until the mid 1980s. The console is shown here with three popular games: 'Space Invaders', 'Superman' and 'Breakout'.