The ZX80 was the first home computer available under 100 pounds and was the first success for Sir Clive Sinclair in the young home computer market. In order to reduce costs, the graphics were inferior to almost any other computer at that time. Quickly followed by the even more cost efficient ZX81 in 1981, the ZX80 is now an often sought collector's item.
Texas Instruments followed with their first home computer which had impressing technical specs for 1981: The TI99/4A. The 99/4a was one of the first 16 bit home computers. Unfortunately, it wasn't much faster than the average 8 bit computer. The computer enjoyed a mild success in the U.S. but failed in other markets. One of the strengths of the TI99/4a was the expandibility - there was even a PC box available. Software companies like Activision pretty much ignored the TI although Atarisoft released a couple of quite good arcade conversions in 1984.
While the majority of video game companies tries to publish their most promising titles in time for the christmas season, new titles are published throughout the year. However, that was not the case in the late 70's with Atari not quite convinced that video games could sell during the year. The year 1980 brought a change of tactics and Atari published their conversion of the Taito arcade hit Space Invaders in January. The VCS2600 version offered dozens of game variants and became a big hit. It is now considered by many as the first "system seller" in video game history.
A group of talented former Atari programmers created their own company: Activision. Releasing four catridges in October (Boxing, Checkers, Dragster, Fishing Derby), the company quickly renown for their quality games.
Chronology1979 1980 1981
1982 1983 1984
1985 1986 1987
1988 1989 1990
1991 1992 1993
1994 1995 1996