September 12th

National Video Games Day -

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Every year on September 12th, gamers around the globe unite to celebrate a shared passion that transcends borders, languages, and cultures: National Video Games Day! This day is set aside to honor the incredible world of video gaming, from the nostalgic pixels of retro arcades to the stunning realism of current-gen consoles and everything in between. Video games have evolved from simple entertainment to a complex art form, capable of telling immersive stories and providing engaging experiences that rival any other media.

National Video Games Day is not just a chance for players to indulge in their favorite virtual pastimes; it’s also an opportunity to recognize the immense creativity and technical skill that goes into developing these interactive adventures.

History of National Video Games Day

Tracing back to the mid-20th century, the genesis of interactive videogaming saw creations like the Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device in 1947 laying early groundwork. A significant milestone was the 1962 conception of “Spacewar!” by a group of MIT students, marking one of the initial computer-centric games.

The Magnavox Odyssey, launched in 1972, marked the debut of gaming consoles for home use. Atari soon brought the gaming phenomenon into the mainstream spotlight with its addictive arcade game “Pong” and later, the introduction of the Atari 2600 console. But, the gaming sector experienced a downfall in 1983, as an influx of low-quality games led to an industry-wide crash.

The resurgence of the gaming market came in the latter part of the 1980s, thanks to Nintendo, which brought forth the NES and titles like “Super Mario Bros.” Sega entered the fray with its Genesis system and mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, sparking intense competition. This period also welcomed hand-held gaming, predominantly through Nintendo’s Game Boy device.

The gaming landscape transformed with the emergence of platforms such as the Sony PlayStation, the Sega Saturn, and the Nintendo 64, all which pioneered three-dimensional graphics. The PlayStation 2 emerged as a best-seller in the subsequent console generation, while Microsoft introduced the Xbox along with Xbox Live to connect gamers across the globe.

With the introduction of the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and the innovative Wii, gaming solidified its place in mainstream culture during the latter generations of consoles. Concurrently, the explosion of mobile gaming on smartphones reshaped the industry. Finally, independent developers have made significant strides by utilizing digital distribution channels. The newest trends are now shaping around streaming services and the exploration of virtual reality in gaming.

National Video Games Day Timeline

Tennis for Two

Considered one of the first video games, developed by physicist William Higinbotham.

Pong

One of the earliest arcade video games released by Atari and a commercial success that popularized the medium.

Space Invaders

An iconic arcade game developed by Tomohiro Nishikado and released by Taito, igniting the golden age of arcade video games.

Pac-Man

Created by Toru Iwatani for Namco, Pac-Man became a cultural phenomenon and one of the most famous arcade games of all time.

Super Mario Bros.

Developed by Nintendo, this game set the standard for platformers and became one of the best-selling games of all time.

Sonic the Hedgehog

SEGA introduces Sonic as the company's mascot, directly rivaling Nintendo's Mario.

Nintendo 64

Nintendo's third home video game console introduced 3D gaming to a wide audience with Super Mario 64.

PlayStation 4 and Xbox One

Sony and Microsoft release their next-gen consoles, marking a new era in high-definition gaming.

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S

The new generation of consoles from Sony and Microsoft launch, offering unprecedented performance and graphical fidelity.

Ideas to Celebrate National Video Games Day

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Gaming Marathon Party

Host a gaming marathon with friends or online communities. Choose a mix of classic and new games, set up multiple gaming stations, and have a non-stop gaming session. Provide snacks, drinks, and comfy seating to keep the energy up throughout the event.

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Retro Game Night

Celebrate the nostalgia by setting up retro consoles or using emulators to play games from the 80s and 90s. Encourage guests to come dressed in period-appropriate attire and have a competition for the best-dressed gamer.

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Video Game Trivia Contest

Create a video game-themed trivia night either at a local venue or online. Include questions about game history, soundtracks, iconic characters, and famous quotes. Offer prizes for the winners and ensure the difficulty scales up as the rounds progress.

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Game Development Jam

Coordinate a game jam that challenges amateurs and professionals alike to create a game within a limited time frame. Set a theme for National Video Games Day and encourage creativity and collaboration. Showcase the games at the end of the day.

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Educational Workshop

Hold a workshop or seminar on the art of video game design, storytelling, or coding. Invite industry professionals to give talks or demonstrations, providing insight into the world of game development and inspiring future creators.

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Game Swap Meet

Arrange a community game swap where gamers can bring their old games and accessories to trade with others. This is a great way to declutter, find hidden gems, and meet fellow gamers with similar interests.

8 Interesting Facts About Video Games

1.

The Highest-Scored 'Perfect Game' in Pac-Man

Billy Mitchell achieved the first documented perfect score in Pac-Man, 3,333,360 points, on July 3, 1999. To reach this score, a player must eat every dot, fruit, and enemy in each of the game's 256 levels, all without losing a single life.

2.

Mario’s Original Name

The iconic Nintendo character Mario was originally named 'Jumpman' when he debuted in the arcade game 'Donkey Kong' in 1981. He later got the name Mario from Mario Segale, the landlord of Nintendo of America’s warehouse.

3.

The Most Expensive Video Game Developed

Adjusting for inflation, 'Cyberpunk 2077' is one of the most expensive video games ever developed, with an estimated production and marketing cost of $483 million. It was released in 2020.

4.

Easter Eggs in Gaming

The first 'Easter egg' in a video game was hidden in the Atari 2600 game 'Adventure' (1980). It features a secret room with the creator’s name, Warren Robinett. This term now refers to hidden features or jokes in video games.

5.

Longest Marathon on a VR Game

According to Guinness World Records, the longest time playing a VR (virtual reality) video game was 50 hours, set by Dutch gamers Robin Schmidt and Based AF in 2023.

6.

The Legend of Zelda's Name Origin

Nintendo's famous series 'The Legend of Zelda' was named after Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald. Shigeru Miyamoto, the game's creator, simply liked the sound of her name.

7.

AI Learned to Play Super Mario World

In 2015, a computer program named MarI/O, developed by SethBling, learned how to play 'Super Mario World' on the SNES through neural networks and evolutionary algorithms after only watching the game being played.

8.

The 'Konami Code' Legacy

The 'Konami Code' ('Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start') is one of the most famous cheat codes and was originally used in the game 'Contra' to give players 30 extra lives. It has since appeared in numerous other games and has influenced popular culture broadly.

National Video Games Day FAQs

Next National Video Games Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 September 12th Tuesday
2024 September 12th Thursday
2025 September 12th Friday
2026 September 12th Saturday
2027 September 12th Sunday
What is the pattern? Every September 12th

National Video Games Day Word Search

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  • Arcade
  • Console
  • Controller
  • Strategy
  • Adventure
  • Graphics