With video games embedded in popular culture – and on the anniversary of its invention – Steve Polak presents a retrospective of the games console.

Do you remember the first time you played a videogame? For some of us it was a recent experience, while for others it might have been a long time ago. Amazingly, for a cultural form that has been with us for such a seemingly short time, home videogame consoles are almost as old at television. In fact, it was four decades ago this year that Ralph Baer built and played the first home video game on a machine he called the ‘Brown Box’. Powered by D-cell batteries and connected to a black-and-white TV, the modest invention was the beginning of a home entertainment revolution.

To mark this milestone, we’ve compiled a brief history of some of the key technologies, titles, games, companies and people that fuelled the development of home videogaming over the last forty years.