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What was the crash of 1983 like?

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The video game arcade as shown in movies like Wargames, Tron, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High died with the rise of the NES.

I knew Nintendo was to blame.

I bet they're responsible for the crash as well.

Edited by high voltage

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I don't recall the crash or bargin bins. I had an Apple II by then and having floppy drives and a modem mean't I had no need to buy software.

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It's safe to say that the NES proved to be the final nail in the Arcade coffin. And while vestiges of the arcades still exist in Chuckie Cheese and Dave and Busters, they are predominately filled up with ticket and prize games. The video game arcade as shown in movies like Wargames, Tron, and Fast Times at Ridgemont High died with the rise of the NES.

 

I agree that early 80s arcades as seen in early 80s films disappeared after the early 80s, but I do not agree that the NES was "the final nail in the Arcade coffin." There were thousands of successful arcade games released after the NES in 1985.

 

Just a few examples. Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 2 were extremely popular in US arcades. Even in 1995 the arcade still mattered because Ridge Racer sold millions of PlayStations and Virtua Fighter millions of Saturns.

 

The Dreamcast was the last console with a large number of arcade ports in its library, many of those never seen in US. In the US "the final nail in the Arcade coffin" happened sometime between the release of the Saturn and PlayStation (1995) and the release of the Dreamcast (1999).

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Because there was so much change going on in my life at that time, for me, the crash of 1983 wasn't even a thing until I read about it here.

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Because there was so much change going on in my life at that time, for me, the crash of 1983 wasn't even a thing until I read about it here.

 

That's downright amazing considering it's one of those things that has gotten repeated constantly since the 80s.

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I learned about the crash of 83 here as well. I was into the Apple and pirated s/w at the time so missed the all the clues. Then I went off to college and was too busy studying/drinking/chasing girls to even think of video games. I played a little NES around 89 when my roomate worked at Blockbuster and could bring the system/games home for free. Then I got a job, got married, etc. I didn't start thinking about the vintage consoles/computers until I joined AA in 2009.

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That's downright amazing considering it's one of those things that has gotten repeated constantly since the 80s.

I can see how that would be a normal person's perspective. :)

 

I didn't know, didn't care and really don't feel now like I missed out on anything. My life excluded luxuries for a long time. There was nobody in my life who was connected to video games in any way. I did walk past arcade games from time to time, and played a round of pinball now and then on the very rare occasion that I had a spare quarter, but home video game systems or the industry just were in no way part of my life.

 

I guess you had to be there to understand how it seems like I wasn't there. :)

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I was A bit young for this, but by the time i was old enough to buy games with My allowance in 84 & '85, I was loving the $1 & $3 games! Of courseI I had No idea what it meant

Edited by spawnshop

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Same here, although sadly there were only 1-3 games available to buy at the time. I did pick up Asteroids and probably one of the others out of my allowance since they were going for 99 cents each. I didn't know there was an actual "crash" going on back then or why it was going on. Things just mostly dried up - but since I lived in a small town I probably just assumed that was the reason for it.

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I never really noticed a crash at all. I was 7 or 8 back then and we had some other issues going on. My Dad did notice the prices were dropping, though, and he picked up a

TON of 2600 games for $1 each. These were titles I would later inherit, lose, and then find out the hard way they were rare and expensive. He would hand out games to us as rewards and was very diligent about making sure we hung on to the instructions for each one. I played the crap out of each of them no matter how bad they were. A few years later my friends started coming up with Nintendo and Sega systems. To them, Atari was nothing.
I never knew Atari had resurrected the 2600 until about ten years ago. I did know the 7800 was made.
Many years and two major expos later I have acquired as many of the games Daddy bought us as I can remember (around 250), but some of the manuals still elude me. If only my Dad knew what he had started... and one year I am going to convince him to attend Super Bitcon just to see the dramatic effect that Christmas gift in 1981 had.

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Seems like a fun topic so I'll offer what I can remember about the event. I too was somewhat young at the time but I do retain some scattered memories of it.

 

At the time, it never really occurred to me that there was a "crash" going on. Bins showed up outside of Kaybee Toys with a glut of mostly the same dozen or so Atari games, but it was still conspicuous that you could buy games for an average of $5 a pop - sometimes just $1. Once in a while you'd find a unique title all by itself. That is how I located Swordquest Waterworld, which was going for the atypically high price of $13. Most of my personal collection was amassed during this time, truth be told.

 

I think I shifted focus to my Apple IIe at this point, until eventually the NES appeared out of nowhere. As I hadn't had any direct experience with the ColecoVision before then, the idea of games that were essentially arcade-perfect was so unprecedented that it felt literally surreal. Certainly, coming from a background of mainly just the 2600 will ingrain the idea that arcade ports are going to be very rough outlines of what they're supposed to represent.

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Most people didn't notice the crash of 83, because it was in 84:

 

Me too. 1983 to me was just another year of video games, even if games started to be discounted to about $5 a pop. 1984 was when everything really started going to shit, because of company failures and the perceived notion that video games were a passing fad and a transitional stage toward home computers. My favorite gaming magazine, Electronic Games, ended up being exclusively about personal computers during the last four issues in 1985 when it was renamed Computer Entertainment. That's why I'll never call it "the video game crash of 1983".

Edited by Vic George 2K3

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Hello, I was 9 at the time. I got my atari for Christmas the previous year. It came with pac-man and another game I can't recall. Not long after I remember my family and I walking through the mall in front of toys R us or maybe KB toy store, and seeing a gigantic bin out front full of 2600 games for like 3 for a dollar or something close. My dad bought one of each game in the bin. My sister and I had a secondary Christmas that year. It took us a few years to finally grow tired of them. We had some great memories. My parents never had a lot of money and I know the crash hurt a lot of people, but my sister and I made out like bandits. So there was an upside if you were poor, and willing to snatch up an opportunity.

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The video game crash happened in 83, the interviewer just stated the wrong year, the crash happened BEFORE Jack Tramiel bought Atari in 1984, it started in 1983 and lasted effectively until 1985 when the release of the NES revitalized the video gaming industry and here is further reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_video_game_crash_of_1983

Most people didn't notice the crash of 83, because it was in 84:

 

 

As acknowledged here by famous Activision programmer Alan Miller:

 

videogamecrashof1984AlanMiller_zpsbc3456

 

and famous Activision programmer Garry Kitchen:

 

videogamecrashof1984GarryKitchen_zps7baa

 

and the excellent Video Game magazine Electronic Game wrote about:

 

cead2479-10fc-4193-9d42-d30ccacf266f_zps

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The video game crash happened in 83, the interviewer just stated the wrong year, the crash happened BEFORE Jack Tramiel bought Atari in 1984, it started in 1983 and lasted effectively until 1985 when the release of the NES revitalized the video gaming industry and here is further reading:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_video_game_crash_of_1983

 

The Crash was not a single month or year. It happened in parts of 1982 and 1985 as well, so technically it occurred from 1982 - 1985. Electronic Games had it right originally by calling it a shake-out. The industry shake-out brought a lot of companies and businesses down in those years before the recovery started to happen.

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If you look at my other posts instead of singling out that particular one I DID say that, if you interpret what I say literally it happened as in originally OCCURRED in 1983 and lasted until 1985, and that information IS present in my post so you are effectively belaboring the obvious

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The Crash was not a single month or year. It happened in parts of 1982 and 1985 as well, so technically it occurred from 1982 - 1985. Electronic Games had it right originally by calling it a shake-out. The industry shake-out brought a lot of companies and businesses down in those years before the recovery started to happen.

 

And even then, they hadn't recovered to pre-crash levels ($$$) until 1988 or something.

 

So there were signs in 1982, implosion by 1984, depression through 1985, first signs of recovery in 1986 and back to normal by 1988.

 

If you look at industry revenues and profits and bankruptcies, there was definitely what you'd have to call a crash, in North America.

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At the time of the crash I would have been going on 11 years old when it started, it originally initially occurred in September of 1983 and lasted until 1985 so it all started 2 months shy of my birthday

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And even then, they hadn't recovered to pre-crash levels ($$$) until 1988 or something.

 

So there were signs in 1982, implosion by 1984, depression through 1985, first signs of recovery in 1986 and back to normal by 1988.

 

If you look at industry revenues and profits and bankruptcies, there was definitely what you'd have to call a crash, in North America.

replace depression with RECESSION and you have it right, the 1983 crash was a recession not a depression

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The crash began December 18th, 1982 at 2:00 pm EDT in Sunnyvale CA at the Toys R Us on the corner of El Camino and Sunnyvale-Saratoga Rd. Over the next few weeks, it spread throughout the Bay Area and eventually, covered the rest of the country. Fortunately, the oceans prevented it from spreading beyond that. Just ask anybody who lived in Italy or Hungary at the time and they'll say "What crash?"

 

If it hadn't been for the fact that we all needed personal computers to balance our checkbooks and keep our kitchen recipes in alphabetical order, technological progress might have come to a standstill and we might all still be playing Atari 2600 games every day.

 

(oh, wait...!)

 

 

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The video game crash happened in 83, the interviewer just stated the wrong year, the crash happened BEFORE Jack Tramiel bought Atari in 1984, it started in 1983 and lasted effectively until 1985 when the release of the NES revitalized the video gaming industry and here is further reading:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_video_game_crash_of_1983

Wikipedia not actually a reliable source you know (the magazines and the Activision programmers were ACTUALLY there at the time)

 

But I go along with it..... getting serious Sept - Dec 1983, highpoint 1984 (before Tramiel bought Atari), slowly levelling after that, with Activision going bust late 80s/early90s.

 

Actually just seen an interview with David Crane, and someone asked him about the 1983 crash, and he just went along with it.

Edited by high voltage

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