Extract from The PC Pioneers
Just when you might have thought that PCs would take over the games business by exercising one of many software attributes, the console makers upped the ante with new products.
The first generation games were released up until 1972 – these were the MagnavoxOdyssey, the Atari/Sears Tele-Games Pong, Coleco Telstar,Videomaster and the Nintendo Colour TV Game.
The second generation referred to the CPU and cartridge based games from 1976 to 1983 – the Fairchild VES aka Channel F console, the Radofin 1292 Advanced Programmable Video System, the Atari VCS/2600 was released in 1977 to sell 30 million+ units. Others included the Bally Astrocade, MagnavoxOdyssey 2, Philips G7000. The MattelIntellivision released in 1980 sold just 3 million units. In 1982 the Atari 5200, the ColecoVision and SegaSG-1000 were all released just before the 1983 console crash. The second generation sold fewer than 40 million units.
The third generation starting from late 1983 would sell over 70 million units – these added scrolling graphcs so that Mario the Plumber could be debuted. These included the NintendoFamicom/NES, SegaSG-1000 Mark II and its Master system. This was also the period when Nintendo’s GameBoy brought handheld games to the fore.