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- New companies: Mindscape, Inc., Sierra On-Line.
- Mattel creates the original five-programmer Intellivision game design team, nicknamed the Blue Sky Rangers by a magazine writer when the company keeps their names secret in a TV Guide interview.
- The US arcade game market's revenues rise to $7.19 billion in 1980 (equivalent to $20.6 billion in 2018).
- The home video game console market in the US generates $500 million in sales of systems and cartridges (equivalent to $1.44 billion in 2018).
- February: Namco releases Navarone, Kaitei Takara Sagashi (which was originally developed by K. K. Tokki as a prototype) and SOS.
- May: Namco releases Pac-Man, its biggest-selling game. One of the most influential games, it had the first gaming mascot character, established the maze chase video games genre, opened gaming to female audiences, and introduced power-ups and cutscenes.
- June: Namco releases King & Balloon, which was one of the first games to feature speech synthesis.
- October: Namco releases Tank Battalion.
- Namco releases King & Balloon, which is the first game to feature synthesized voices. It also featured dual-core processing, using two Z80 microprocessors, the second to drive a DAC for speech.
- Namco releases Navalone, Kaitei Takara Sagashi, SOS, Tank Battalion, and Rally-X, which is the first game to feature a bonus round.
- Nintendo releases the Radar Scope arcade game and the Game & Watch handheld LCD game by Gunpei Yokoi.
- Universal release the arcade game Space Panic, often cited as the first platform game.
- Stern Electronics (a subsidiary of Universal Research Laboratories) releases the Berzerk arcade game.
- Warner Communications' Atari releases the Missile Command arcade game, and the Battlezone arcade game (it was later enhanced for the US Army for military training) – albeit relying on specialized vector graphics hardware.
- Williams Electronics releases the Defender arcade game.
- Warner Communications' Atari releases the Centipede (by Ed Logg & Dona Bailey) and Warlords arcade games and also the Tempest color vector arcade game.
- Rogue is written by Michael Toy, Glenn Wichman, and Ken Arnold, spawning the category of roguelike games.
- Edu-Ware releases The Prisoner, loosely based upon the 1960s TV series of the same name. Programmed by David Mullich, it became a classic of the Apple II platform.
- Infocom releases Zork I, the first Zork game and the first Infocom game.
- December: DECO releases the DECO Cassette System, the first standardized arcade platform, which many games were developed for.
- Sinclair Research releases the ZX80 home computer and Acorn Computers release the Atom, the first 'domestic' computers to play games in the United Kingdom.
- ↑ http://allincolorforaquarter.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/video-game-myth-buster-did-crash-of.html
- ↑ http://vidgame.info/vid1976.htm
- ↑ The Essential 50 - Pac-Man, 1UP
- ↑ Playing With Power: Great Ideas That Have Changed Gaming Forever, 1UP
- ↑ Gaming's Most Important Evolutions, GamesRadar
- ↑ Steve L. Kent (2001). The ultimate history of video games: from Pong to Pokémon and beyond. Prima. p. 142. ISBN 0-7615-3643-4. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=C2MH05ogU9oC. Retrieved 2011-04-02.
- ↑ King & Balloon at Museum of the Game