Viral 1977 Article Predicted Video Games' Downfall

95 11/07/2022

A particularly interesting article published in 1977 is going around the internet today. The article comes from The Tampa Times newspaper for Saturday, December 3, 1977. It features a quotation from Michael Moon, an official representative of the board gaming company Milton Bradley. Within, Moon delivers a quotation of a lifetime. He's paraphrased as saying that "video entertainment is just a passing fad."

"Americans love gadgets and this is just another gadget," is how Moon describes the growing popularity of electronic video games in 1977. This is the year of the Atari Video Computer System, the Space Wars arcade game, and Zork. Moon goes on to describe how video games will share a similar fate to CB radios, 35mm photography, and stereo components. He says games become boring "after about a month."


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However, Moon also acknowledges that his company and the broader toy industry are only growing in their support of the video game industry. "The problem with the toy industry historically is that it overreacts to trends." Moon points to Milton Bradley releasing two standalone games in 1977: Comp IV and Electronic Battleship. He also implies that this investment is likely to only grow, perhaps a contrary thought to what he initially said.

The short article is going viral due to the now explosive popularity of video games. Moon's prediction about video games being a fad have, over 40 years later, have proven disastrously wrong. Video games are more popular than ever and continue to be a growing market worldwide.

To be fair to Moon, however, he was at least partly right. In 1983, six years after Moon's article, the video game industry crashed. The rise of personal computers and the saturation of low-quality video games led to a 97% drop in revenues between 1983 and 1985. Moon may have accurately forecasted the US market at the time, but he didn't foresee Nintendo and how it would forever change the console market.

Just a passing fad huh? This aged like curdled milk. from gaming

This isn't the first time that this article has made the rounds on the internet and it certainly isn't the last. Still, whenever it crops up it serves as an excellent reminder not only the video game market in the early years, but also the negative way it was viewed. Even through the 90s and early 00s video games were blamed for violence and the degeneracy of children. The video game industry of today is typically better-regarded, though that's perhaps in part to how much money it makes. Even Milton Bradley saw that in 1977.

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Veteran reporter and editor with over ten years of experience. Probably reading comic books.

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