The Atari 2600. (Image: Evan-Amos)

You wouldn’t think it by seeing the powerhouse that the video game industry has become today, but anybody with a basic knowledge of the medium’s history knows that it went through the roughest of rough patches in 1983. This is known as the video game crash of 1983, and it was so catastrophically bad that it has its own Wikipedia page. Now, it also has its own short documentary from Ahoy.

The 7-minute video is a cleverly presented and visually pleasing trip down repressed memory lane that establishes context (arcade games were booming in the early 1980s) before getting into the early home console success of Atari. They sparked a veritable gold rush, but unfortunately, with licensing not being as stringent back then as it is today, the market became flooded with sub-par titles. This and other factors (lame arcade ports, E.T.) led to profits falling significantly short of expectations, which led to Wall Street losing its collective cool, which led to the demise of the video game industry.


Fortunately, the Nintendo Entertainment System saved the day a few years later, recapturing the public’s imagination and making video games cool again. Fast-forward to today and we have titles like Goat Simulator, Rocket League, and I Am Bread. So… thanks?