1953. The year that Stalin died, the first colour TV sets went on sale, Dwight D. Eisenhower was inaugurated as the 34th president of the United States and Queen Elizabeth II was coronated.
In August 1953, a Japanese company called Taito Trading Co., Ltd. was founded by Ukrainian Michael Kogan, becoming the first business in Japan to distil and sell vodka. During the ‘60s it produced electro-mechanical games and jukeboxes before a name and direction change saw the company enter the fledgling video arcade business in the early ‘70s as Taito Corporation. Enter one-man band designer Tomohiro Nishikado and his little project released in 1978 that would turn the world on its head: Space Invaders.
And it was Space Invaders that in 1982, five years after release, kept the Atari 2600 at the top of the home entertainment console market tree. The arcade hit had been ported to the 2600 two years prior, sending sales through the roof and putting Atari in a dominant position.
Not too dissimilar to Taito’s vodka-infused humble beginnings, Coleco began as a leather goods manufacturer before specialising in paddling pools. Somehow, the company eventually entered the console business with its Pong clone, Telstar. But in August 1982, Coleco introduced the ColecoVision to the US. So, what made the ColecoVision so special? Well, it was the first console to feature a computer processor, thus enabling almost-arcade quality graphics. Its domination wouldn’t last long though – the video game crash was just a year away and by 1984 it had dropped its interest in the industry to focus on the lucrative manufacture of none other than the Cabbage Patch Kids!
Notable games released in August
The Legend of Zelda (1987)
Super Mario Kart (1992)
Goldeneye 007 (1997)