1972 It begins: Pong is invented
1978 Space Invaders blips its way into arcades everywhere
1977 The Atari 2600 game system sells millions of units and brings arcade action home
1980 Pac-Man released
1982 First hit song based on a video game, Pac-Man Fever: "I got a pocket full of quarters ..."
1981 First all-video game magazine: Electronic Games
1982 Video games first appear on the cover of TIME
1982 Tron, the first movie about video games, tanks at the box office
1983 E.T. becomes a video game --and flops
1983 A-list athletes star in games like Julius Erving & Larry Bird: One-On-One
1983 Journey is the first rock group to have its own arcade game. It's not much better than ...
1990 ... the King of Pop's Michael Jackson's Moon-walker
1993 First legislative outcry: the Senate investigates video-game violence
1993 Myst is released. People start to wonder, Are video games art?
1993 First movie based on a game: Super Mario Brothers
1995 Sony releases the PlayStation in the U.S.
1994 Big-name actors are popping up in video games. Dennis Hopper lends his voice talents to Hell
1996 Video games get their first sex symbol, Lara Croft
1996 Suddenly game sound tracks are seriously hip: WipeOut XL features the Prodigy, the Chemical Brothers and others
1997 Tamagotchi mania!
1998 Seinfeld's "Frogger" episode airs, in which George obsesses over his high score on an old arcade game
1999 First Classic Gaming Expo opens in Las Vegas. Vintage games sell for top dollar. Video-game nostalgia is officially a phenomenon
1999 The Columbine shootings create new wave of video-game anxiety
1999 First game with an old-skool rap sound track. Thrasher: Skate and Destroy boasts Run DMC, Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa and the Sugar Hill Gang
2000 Games imitate life as The Sims sells millions of copies
2002 G4, the first all-games TV network, debuts
2005 The Detroit Symphony Orchestra performs Japanese composer Nobuo Uematsu's score for the video game Final Fantasy