Fun facts about video games

Easter Eggs IRL: 23 Video Game Facts All Gamers Should Know

Ever wondered what was the first video game or why Pac-Man looks like a pizza with a slice missing? Well, you're in for a treat. We're diving into the pixelated world of gaming to bring you interesting facts about video games that'll make you the life of any LAN party. From the origins of Mario to the psychology of Tetris, these fun video game facts will level up your trivia game.

1. The First Video Game Was "Tennis for Two," Not Pong

Ah, Pong, the game everyone thinks started it all. But no, it was actually "Tennis for Two," developed in 1958 by physicist William Higinbotham. Displayed on an oscilloscope screen, this game was the star of the Brookhaven National Laboratory open house. So, Pong can pong off.

2. Mario Was Originally a Carpenter, Not a Plumber

Before Mario was dodging sewer creatures, he was dodging barrels thrown by a giant ape. In "Donkey Kong," Mario was a carpenter, not a plumber. The switch to plumbing was probably a career upgrade, considering he went from fighting apes to rescuing princesses.

3. Pac-Man's Design Was Inspired by a Pizza Missing a Slice

The iconic shape of Pac-Man wasn't some genius design—it was inspired by a pizza with a slice missing. Creator Toru Iwatani was literally eating dinner when the idea struck him. The game was initially called "Puck-Man," but they changed it because, well, vandalism is a thing.

4. E.T. the Video Game Was So Bad, Unsold Copies Were Buried in a Landfill

The E.T. video game was so horrendous that it led to thousands of unsold cartridges being buried in a New Mexico landfill. The game was rushed to market in just five weeks to coincide with the movie's release. Spoiler: it didn't go well.

5. The Konami Code Has Appeared in Over 100 Games

Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, B, A, Start. This isn't some secret society code; it's the Konami Code. This sequence of button presses has appeared in over 100 games and is the cheat code equivalent of "Open Sesame."

6. Mortal Kombat Led to the Creation of the ESRB

Mortal Kombat was the bad boy of video games, sparking so much controversy that it led to the creation of the ESRB. The game featured digitized actors and the infamous "Fatality" moves. Ah, nothing says childhood like pixelated gore.

7. The World Health Organization Recognizes Gaming Addiction as a Disorder

Gaming addiction is now officially a "thing," according to the World Health Organization. Symptoms include impaired control over gaming, prioritizing gaming over other life interests, and continuing to game despite negative consequences. It's like the hangover that never ends. If you live in the USA, your healthcare system probably won't help much.

8. The Longest Gaming Session Led to a Man's Death

A Taiwanese man decided to play "World of Warcraft" for 24 hours straight and ended up dead. The cause? A blood clot from sitting too long. Remember kids, even gaming should come with a "stand up and stretch" warning.

9. Action Video Games Can Improve Your Vision

Contrary to your mom's warnings, video games won't make you go blind. In fact, action games can improve your vision. Studies have shown that these games can enhance spatial resolution, making gamers better at distinguishing between different shades of color. Take that, Mom!

10. "Grand Theft Auto V" Was the Most Expensive Game Ever Made (Until Recently)

With an estimated budget of $265 million, "Grand Theft Auto V" was the Hollywood blockbuster of the gaming world. And just like a blockbuster, it raked in over $1 billion in just three days after its release in 2013. Crime does pay, at least in the virtual world. Games today have begun to rival this sum, but based on the era, this amount of cheddar for game development was crazy (about $336 million in 2024 dollars.)

11. The NEW Most Expensive Game In History is "Star Citizen" with a $590 Million Price Tag for Development

The creators of Star Citizen scoff at GTA5's measly $265 million dollar development budget, or Cyberpunk 2077's paltry $174 million cost. This space combat simulator game shattered all records, and did so with the help of crowdfunding (so the budget is public). It has taken the developers over a decade to create and is still in the works (at the time of this post). Oh boy. NOTE: This record is slated to be SHATTERED again next year (2025) by... yup... Grand Theft Auto 6.

12. Nearly Half of All Gamers Are Female

Contrary to the basement-dwelling male stereotype, nearly half of all gamers are female. Women are not only avid gamers but are also making their mark in game development and eSports. So, the next time someone says gaming is a "guy thing," you can tell them to level up their knowledge. The exact stat is almost evenly split with 53% of video game players identifying as male and 46% as female.

But let’s dig-dug deeper into the diversity of the gaming universe with some revealing statistics. Did you know that 62% of adults over 18 are hitting those game pads and keyboards? Even more fascinating is that a whopping 76% of kids under 18 are immersed in virtual worlds. It’s not just the kids and young adults; the average age of a video game player today is 32. That’s right, gaming is not confined to any one age group.

13. A Game Boy Survived a Bombing During the Gulf War

Nintendo's Game Boy is the Chuck Norris of gaming consoles. One unit survived a bombing during the Gulf War and still functions to this day. It's currently on display at the Nintendo World Store in New York, probably flexing its muscles.

14. The Name Atari Means "Success" in the Game Go

Atari wasn't just a cool-sounding name; it means "success" in the game Go. The company was a pioneer in the arcade and home console market, but let's face it, they've seen better days.

15. Nintendo Initially Sold Playing Cards

Before they were making you curse at your friends in Mario Kart, Nintendo was in the playing card business. Founded in 1889, they sold handmade playing cards for a game called Hanafuda. Talk about a glow-up.

Video game creatures

16. The "Madden Curse" Affects Players Featured on the Cover

The "Madden Curse" is the gaming world's version of the Sports Illustrated jinx. Players featured on the cover of Madden NFL games often suffer injuries or a decline in performance. It's like the universe's way of saying, "Don't get too cocky."

17. "Final Fantasy" Was NOT Named for Its Creator's Last-Ditch Effort

The name origin of the legendary series "Final Fantasy" is wrapped in some interesting tales. Contrary to the common belief, it did not stem from the financial troubles of Squaresoft. The name was primarily inspired by the Fighting Fantasy series of RPG gamebooks. Hironobu Sakaguchi and his team sought a name that could be abbreviated in Roman alphabets, akin to "Dragon Quest" being shortened to "Drakue". They initially considered "FF" (Fighting Fantasy) but faced trademark issues and settled on "Final Fantasy" as a last resort.

18. "Minecraft" Is the Best-Selling Video Game of All Time

With over 300 million copies sold (as of 2024), "Minecraft" takes the crown as the best-selling video game ever. It's the digital Lego of our generation, and it's probably responsible for more procrastination than any other game. Honorable mentions: Grand Theft Auto V (100 million sold) and Tetris (100 million sold).

19. "The Legend of Zelda" Was Inspired by Its Creator's Childhood

Shigeru Miyamoto, the genius behind "The Legend of Zelda," drew inspiration from his childhood experiences of exploring caves and fields. The game was a way to recreate that sense of adventure and discovery. Who knew getting lost as a kid could be so profitable?

20. "Doom" Was So Popular It Was Installed on More Computers Than Windows 95

When "Doom" was released, it became so popular that it was installed on more computers than Windows 95. Bill Gates even considered buying the company that made it. Now that's what you call game domination.

21. "World of Warcraft" Has Its Own Language Course

If you've ever wanted to speak Orcish, "World of Warcraft" has you covered. The game offers a language course for its fictional languages. Because why learn Spanish when you can learn to communicate with virtual orcs?

22. Video Games Grant Impressive Benefits (Power-Ups?) to Players

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) conducted a recent survey, asking Americans about the benefits of playing video games. The survey revealed that 90% of players believe video games provide mental stimulation and stress relief, while 88% think they improve cognitive skills. Additionally, 81% agree that video games help build problem-solving skills, and 75% believe they enhance teamwork and collaboration. Furthermore, 80% of players feel inspired by video games, and 74% say games teach kids how to win and lose healthily. The survey also found that 72% believe games can support classroom education, and 85% think video games boost creative skills. Overall, Americans of all ages, genders, and races view video games as freaking awesome for mental stimulation, cognitive improvement, social connections, and educational value. Whew, that's a mouthful!

23. Most Gamers Prefer Playing On Mobile Platforms 📱 

Recent studies have unearthed some surprising preferences when it comes to "consoles of choice". The majority of players, around 64%, prefer gaming on their phones. Likely due to the convenience of it always being an arm length away (is that bad?). Consoles come in second with slightly over half of gamers utilizing one of these puppies. About 54% use a platform like Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo Switch. PCs and Laptops capture the attention of roughly 45% of gamers. These folks have a need for speed and power! Tablet players make up 24% of gamers in 2024 and keep it casual. Lastly, VR Headsets, still emerging, attract a wee 10% of players. Just to sum it up a bit, 58% of all gamers aren't tied to one console or type and use multiple platforms on a regular basis.

This data indicates a robust engagement with video games across a variety of platforms, with a clear trend towards using multiple devices to satisfy different gaming desires and needs.From the first video game to the psychology of Tetris, we've covered the bases. If you're still hungry for more oddities, check out our post on moon facts or ancient civilization fun facts. Ready to hit "Continue" (video game joke:-)?

About the author(s):

Christman & Raelina

Christman and Raelina are both professional designers, writers and have been working with educational content for nigh on 30 years (between the two).

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