No reason to feel bad about not even seeing the light of day on September 12, because it’s National Video Games Day! Video games originated around 1940, but today, the video game industry is an 18 billion dollar industry that constantly churns out new fun favorites for all ages. The term “video game” encompasses all kinds of digital games, from old-school Mario games to hot new VR ones like “Beat Saber.” The huge array of video games means there will be something for everyone to play today — whether it’s an old arcade game or Fortnite. If a day alone doesn’t appeal to you, round up some friends for a multiplayer game!
When is National Video Games Day 2021?
The digital realm of video games is celebrated on National Video Games Day on September 12.
History of National Video Games Day
These days, everyone can find a video game that gets them hooked. Not only does it depend on the gameplay style you like — strategy or combat? — you might have a particular penchant for games from a specific age. Some love old-timey arcade games, while others are excited by cutting-edge VR.
Surprisingly, the origin story of your favorite video game app in your pocket is actually in research labs. The earliest video games began in the 1950s in universities like the University of Cambridge and MIT. Some games that came out of these were virtual tic tac toe, and “Spacewar!”
When the first home console, designed in 1967 by the “Father of Video Games” Ralph Baer, hit the market, it inspired the classic Atari game “Pong.” Though there was a copyright infringement lawsuit, Atari still took off with the public when they released the Atari 2600. Some of the best games of the ensuing era include “Space Invaders” and “Donkey Kong” — sound familiar?
After the video game market crash in 1983, Japanese company Nintendo burst onto the scene. Nintendo is responsible for some of the most important franchises around — Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid. Nintendo found a challenger in Sega, driving the market into the 3D Gaming world.
The modern era of gaming was truly kicked off in the early 21st century with the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and the Wii. Video games then invaded media platforms and video game apps flooded the app stores. Lucrative competitions for skilled gamers have begun to spring up worldwide. These days, big video game console companies like Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft, have their sights set on VR — the exciting future of video gaming gets more and more lifelike every day!
National Video Games Day timeline
The first video game, ‘Nim’ is introduced at the World’s Fair by Edward Condon.
Atari’s first console, the Atari 2600, is released with games like “Frogger.”
For the first time, gamers can travel with their consoles as Nintendo releases the Game Boy in the summer.
Though video gaming as a sport had existed since the 90s, it has seriously taken off since 2010, becoming a viable sport and way to make money for many gamers.
National Video Games Day - Survey Results
NATIONALTODAY NATIONAL VIDEO GAMES DAY SURVEY
Survey according to one of the top Market Research Agencies (Survey of 1,000 Americans)
What’s the best gaming console?
#1: Playstation (38%)
#2: Xbox (38%)
#3: Nintendo (21%)
What’s the best video game franchise?
#1: Super Mario (47%)
#2: Call of Duty (21%)
#3: Donkey Kong (19%)
#4: Grand Theft Auto (19%)
#5: Pokemon (16%)
#6: Zelda (13%)
#7: Sonic the Hedgehog (13%)
#8: Final Fantasy (9%)
#9: Halo (9%)
#10: Crash Bandicoot (7%)
How often do you play video games?
#1: Everyday (31%)
#2: Rarely (31%)
#3: 2-3x a week (23%)
When do mobile gamers like to play games on their phones?
#1: Whenever I’m bored (66%)
#2: When I’m watching TV (41%)
#3: Before I go to sleep (39%)
#4: When I’m on the toilet (34%)
#5: During my breaks at work (21%)
#6: Whenever I’m eating (20%)
#7: Before I leave for work (12%)
#8: On my commute to work (8%)
Traditions of the Day
Video games have come a long way. The virtual worlds emulated by games are no longer just for enjoyment and passing time, it is an entire experience. With storylines and character development sometimes surpassing that of Hollywood movies, National Video Games Day celebrations are exuberant.
The go-to tradition for the day is to immerse oneself in video games, whether by yourself or with friends. Multiplayer gaming has formed friendships that are cherished and stronger than some real-life relations, so digital celebrations are at their peak with streaming gameplays on websites like YouTube and Twitch, commentaries, and video games played online with team-mates living around the world.
Going old-school and playing classic games at an arcade is also a tradition. The charm and nostalgia of old games are growing and they increase our appreciation for new video games with better graphics and gameplay.
Video game releases and announcements are also made by some companies today. Special discounts and bundles, and free downloads of video games are available on platforms like Steam. Items and character upgrades inside video game shops are offered at reduced prices, too.
By The Numbers
360,000 – the number of arcade cabinets of the game “Space Invaders” sold by 1980.
$80,000 – the amount spent by a Japanese man on playing “Space Invaders”.
40,000,000 – the number of copies sold of “Super Mario Bros” by the game’s 25th anniversary.
3 – the number of discs that held the “Final Fantasy VII” game on PlayStation.
56 – the number of vehicles drivable in “Grand Theft Auto: III”.
3 – the number of days it took “Grand Theft Auto: V” to reach $1 billion in sales.
13 – the number of novels written on the “Halo” universe.
12,000,000 – the number of subscribers to “World Of Warcraft” in 2012.
7 – the number of players originally limited to a football team in “Madden Football” due to hardware restrictions.
92 – the number of production babies who joined the Bungie family in the game “Destiny” since 2010.
National Video Games Day FAQs
Are there any good deals on National Video Games Day?
In the past, retailers like Amazon, Playstation, and Microsoft rolled out big deals on individual games and on consoles — check it out online!
Where can I find more content on National Video Games Day?
Many brands beyond gaming post on social media offering contests, tournaments, and more for National Video Games. Some past companies include Honda, and sports teams like the San Francisco 49ers and the Brooklyn Nets.
Where is National Video Games Day observed?
National Video Games Day is observed annually on the 12 of September within the United States.
National Video Games Day Activities
Round up friends for IRL gaming
Multiplayer gaming is best done together IRL! It’s a great means of getting together with people who have the same console to connect in real life and digitally.
Hit an arcade to relive the classics
Who didn’t love growing up on PacMan? Spend some time at an old-school arcade remembering what it was like to be a kid with a quarter and a competitive spirit.
Treat yourself to a newly released game
If there’s ever a day to splurge on the newest craze in gaming, it’s today. All your friends have been talking about the new release and you’re desperate to give it a try? Go for it, then spend the rest of the day playing it with them!
Take the National Video Games Day Quiz
5 Facts About Video Games That Will Blow Your Mind
Public libraries are in on the trend
In an attempt to get children and teens more interested in books, libraries have started adding video games to their shelves.
Gaming beefs up your brain
In one study, adults who played Super Mario 64 for 2 hours a day developed increased brain volume over time!
According to one study, those who play video games are more likely to have lucid dreams — where they can control what’s happening.
Gaming as a national economic stimulus
After Nokia’s downfall, Finland’s economy was greatly assisted by Clash of Clans.
In 2019, a boy from the US won the largest single-person eSports payout - $3,000,000!
Why We Love National Video Games Day
They can actually be good for you (Sorry, Mom!)
Though not all games offer the same educational value, many that include problem-solving and teamwork have been shown to increase the gray matter in your brain and ultimately grow it! It can also help refine learned and hardwired skills, as well as improve problem-solving and communication with others.
They inspire and push tech boundaries
The first video games were considered modern marvels, and we can’t say it’s changed much since. Who hasn’t seen some great graphics on a game, or been absolutely blown away the first time you slid on that VR headset? Many games push what’s possible for technology, and inspire generations.
They increase happiness
That rush you get when you conquer a level? Unmatched! Recent studies have shown that adults who play video games are less stressed and more relaxed than those who do not. It could be because video games offer a chance to remove yourself from everyday life stresses, or they might just be happier being more connected to their inner child!
National Video Games Day dates