You love them. You play them on large-screen televisions via special consoles. You play them on your smartphones. You play them on your computer. What are we talking about? None other than video games!

Today, video games remain as popular as ever. Each year, the video game industry rakes in over $17 billion in revenue. Gaming fanatics are always on the lookout for the latest and greatest in graphics and gaming experiences. A look back in time will reveal exactly how far video games have come.

So who invented the very first video game? Although it seems like a simple inquiry, the history of video game development is a bit complicated.

As early as the late 1940s, Thomas T. Goldsmith, Jr., and Estle R. Mann patented a device they called a Cathode-Ray Tube Amusement Device. It was an electronic device with screen overlays users could use to play basic games. As you might guess, it didn't really resemble what we think of as video games today.

In 1958, William Higinbotham created an electronic game called Tennis for Two that could be displayed on an oscilloscope. His creation was a basic game, but again it wasn't a widely-available game that could be played easily by the masses.

The first true video game wouldn't be invented until 1967 when an engineer named Ralph H. Baer created the first prototype of what would eventually become the Magnavox Odyssey, the world's first video game console. Baer, often known as the “Father of Video Games," was the first person to create a system that transformed electronic signals into pictures on a television screen via a raster pattern…or what we now know as a video game.

The original Magnavox Odyssey featured a few simple games, such as a chase game, checkers, and a shooting game using a rifle peripheral device. The system came with two paddle controllers, as well as a few other accessories usually associated with board games. It was a huge success, selling over 700,000 units in its first three years of production.

As video games made their way into homes, their popularity skyrocketed and others soon began to develop competing systems. Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney created Atari Computers in 1972. In 1975, Atari released Pong as a home video game, leading to a huge increase in the popularity of video games.

Since those early years, many different types of video games and consoles have come and gone. Today, Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's Playstation remain the two most popular video game consoles, while children and adults alike still enjoy playing video games on their computers and smartphones.

Wonder What's Next?

Can a dog be a bookworm? Find out in tomorrow's Wonder of the Day!