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I remember this well. I was a teen game developer then, writing and selling games for the Vic-20 and the C-64. It seems now, looking back, it was the classic cycle of technology advancing faster than people expected. We had fairly popular coin-op arcades filled with teens spending quarters in 1980, and then within two years very low cost home computers like the Vic-20 had pixel perfect versions of a few of the same games. The Atari console and similar had "remakes" of the popular arcade coin-ops, and were only beginning to develop franchises of their own. Then the ColecoVision comes out in '82 with pixel perfect versions of every single Namco and Nintendo arcade coin-op, plus expansion hardware gave it first Atari computer compatibility, and then it's own computer branded the Atom. These developments basically caused all the arcades to close, between their reputations as "seedy" places for teens and the sudden flood of previously coin-op titles being easy to play at home, they lost their audience.

There was a lot of entrepreneurial game development in this period, and a lot of really bad games. The market was saturated, the quality was not nearly as high as during the coin-op prime, not enough revenues were being recovered by the major players, and the market collapsed soon after '83. The market seemed to move past games. Computers like the Mac were released.

Only one company seemed to be quietly persevering with a steady stream of quality titles: Nintendo.




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