Classic video game companies are few and far between these days, but in the early days of the industry’s formation, there were plenty of businesses looking to capitalize on this new kind of entertainment that had swept the nation. So who makes it onto our list of best classic video game companies? Read on to find out! We’ve ranked these classic video game companies based on several key factors, including their longevity as a business and their contribution to overall gaming history through either innovation or sheer popularity. This list by us at Duck Blogs is far from comprehensive; feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments section below!
The History of Atari
Atari was founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. At first, it was simply a small Silicon Valley company that sold custom-built computer games to bars and other public places. The business thrived until a downturn in 1974 forced Bushnell to shut down its operation. In 1976, Atari released Space Race, which is often cited as one of the very first video games ever made. Eventually, Atari became one of history’s most successful companies with iconic game titles like Asteroids and Pong. However, after being purchased by Warner Communications in 1976, Atari struggled for several years before eventually filing for bankruptcy in 1984. Today, Atari has been revived under new ownership and continues to produce popular gaming products such as RollerCoaster Tycoon and Alone in the Dark.
In 1889, Japanese entrepreneur Fusajiro Yamauchi opened a small playing card company in Kyoto. Over time, he expanded his business to include other types of toys and then eventually into playing cards, and Nintendo (originally named Nintendo Koppai) was born. In 1951, American businessman Howard Lincoln was sent to Japan by mutual friends at Toyota to negotiate with Yamauchi over a potential card supply deal. However, during their meeting, Yamauchi began talking about another business opportunity. To seal their new partnership, Lincoln bought 51% of Nintendo’s stock for $100K and became its first president.
Sega Genesis Story
The Sega Genesis was SEGA’s entry into a crowded home console market in 1989. With stiff competition from Nintendo and its NES console, as well as Atari and its Jaguar console, it’s hard to believe that SEGA was able to have such success with a system featuring just 16-bit graphics—Nintendo’s NES systems had 128 bits. But what SEGA lacked in hardware power, they made up for with their killer game library. From Sonic to Streets of Rage 2, SEGA created some of gaming’s most memorable characters and games on their Genesis console. What other classic video game company has produced more classics than SEGA? None! That’s why we consider them one of the best classic video game companies ever!
The History of Rare
One of the best and most storied classic video game companies, Rare was founded in 1985. Early titles include R.C. Pro-Am and Snake Rattle ‘n’ Roll, but it wouldn’t be until 1994 that they hit a home run with Donkey Kong Country for Super Nintendo. That led to numerous other hits including Goldeneye 007, Banjo-Kazooie, Perfect Dark, Conker’s Bad Fur Day, and Viva Piñata. After being acquired by Microsoft in 2002, Rare has worked on titles such as Kameo: Elements of Power and Kinect Sports. The company is currently working on Sea of Thieves, an open-world pirate adventure title that was released in 2018.
Founded in 1982 by George Lucas, LucasArts became an industry giant during its two decades in operation. With a catalog of releases that includes some of gaming’s most influential franchises, like Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, as well as beloved classics like the Star Wars Battlefront games from 2005, LucasArts will always be considered a hallmark in gaming history. In 2013, Disney shut down LucasArts, citing a lack of meaningful results after more than three years of experimentation with social and mobile games. However, fans are hopeful that one day they might see another Star Wars game produced by their favorite classic company.
The Interesting Story of Valve
Steam is a revolutionary gaming platform that has not only changed how people buy games but also how they’re made. As a third-party platform, Steam had humble beginnings in Gabe Newell’s garage back in 1996. With over 125 million active users worldwide, it’s one of the most popular game platforms ever created. And while Valve’s success may seem like an overnight success story, there was actually a lot of work and planning involved before Steam became what it is today. Here are some highlights from Valve’s history