Early Commercials for 10 Best-Selling Game Systems

1. Atari 2600, 1977

This is probably the first Atari 2600 commercial to air in the U.S., just before Christmas 1977. Poor George leaves empty-handed, but we’re willing to bet he got his hands on an Atari eventually: 30 million other people did.

2. Nintendo Game & Watch, 1981

“Neentendo” illustrates an early version of the cinematic game trailer here; when your graphics don’t hold up, just hire animators. The Game & Watch kept 43 million kids occupied through the 80s and early 90s.

3. ColecoVision, 1982

Coleco released just over two million of the “most advanced video game system you can buy” into the world in the early 80s.

4. Nintendo Entertainment System, 1985

In these kids’ defense, Legend of Zelda was pretty rad. The NES sold just over 61 million units during its lifetime.

5. Sega Genesis, 1990

Sega’s marketing plan wasn’t subtle. The Genesis (or Mega Drive for everyone outside of the US) sold about 40 million units.

6. Super NES, 1990

Nintendo’s response was a bit more civilized. It paid off eventually: the SNES made its way into 49 million homes.

7. Game Boy, 1990

Nintendo one-upped itself by sending the Game & Watch packing to make room for Game Boy, which would release in color the next year. Nearly 120 million handheld systems flooded the market and school buses.

8. Game Gear, 1991

Sega’s plan to (obliquely) talk smack about Game Boy’s lack of color ended up being a bad idea. When the Game Boy Color released, Game Gear’s edge was gone. Regardless, it still ended up being one of the best-selling early portable systems; whether or not those 11 million kids actually wanted a Game Boy is debatable.

9. PlayStation, 1994

We’re not sure if humiliation was the driving force for sales or just a perk, but Sony’s PlayStation went gangbusters, totaling more than 102 million consoles sold.

10. Xbox, 2001

Right from the start, Xbox commercials were weird. But Microsoft did well for themselves, though: the original Xbox now resides in 24 million attics.

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Clemens Bilan, AFP/Getty Images
Purchased a PlayStation 3 Between 2006 and 2010? You May Be Entitled to $65
Clemens Bilan, AFP/Getty Images
Clemens Bilan, AFP/Getty Images

All that time you spent playing video games in the late aughts could finally pay off: According to Polygon, if you purchased an original-style "fat" PlayStation 3 between November 1, 2006 and April 1, 2010, you're eligible to receive a $65 check. You have until April 15 to file your claim.

PS3 owners first qualified to receive compensation from Sony following the settlement of a lawsuit in 2016. That case dealt with the "OtherOS" feature that came with the console when it debuted. With OtherOS, Sony promised a new PlayStation that would operate like a computer, allowing users to partition their hard drive and install third-party operating systems like the open-source Linux software.

OtherOS was included in the PlayStation 3 until April 2010, when Sony removed the feature due to security concerns. This angered enough PS3 owners to fuel a lawsuit, and Sony, facing accusations of false advertisement and breach of warranty, agreed to settle in October 2016.

PlayStation 3 owners were initially told they'd be receiving $55 each from the settlement, but that number has since grown to $65. To claim your piece of the $3.75 million settlement, you must first confirm that you're qualified to receive it. The PlayStation 3 you purchased needs to be a 20 GB, 40 GB, 60 GB or 80 GB model. If that checks out, visit this website and submit either your "fat" PS3 serial number or the PlayStation network sign-in ID or online ID associated with the console.

[h/t Polygon]

Barbie Is Now Giving Coding Lessons

Mattel wants to help 10 million kids learn to code by 2020, and the toy giant is enlisting one of its most career-focused assets: Barbie. According to Engadget, Mattel is working with the coding education company Tynker to make seven Barbie-themed computer programming lessons.

Barbie has been a pilot, an architect, the president, and a computer engineer, so there may be no better character to teach kids the joys of coding. The lessons, arriving in summer 2018, will be designed for youngsters in kindergarten and up, and will teach Barbie-lovers more than just how to make apps. They’ll use Barbie’s many careers—which also included veterinarian, robotics engineer, and astronaut—as a way to guide kids through programming concepts.

An illustration depicts Barbie and her friends surrounded by cats and dogs and reads 'Barbie: Pet Vet.'

A screenshot of a Barbie coding lesson features a vet's office full of pets.

There are plenty of new initiatives that aim to teach kids how to code, from a Fisher-Price caterpillar toy to online games featuring Rey from Star Wars. This is the third partnership between Mattel and Tynker, who have already produced programming lessons using Hot Wheels and Monster High.

Kindergarten may seem a little soon to set kids on a career path as a computer programmer, but coding has been called “the most important job skill of the future,” and you don’t need to work for Google or Facebook to make learning it worthwhile. Coding can give you a leg up in applying for jobs in healthcare, finance, and other careers outside of Silicon Valley. More importantly for kids, coding games are fun. Who wouldn’t want to play Robotics Engineer Barbie?

[h/t Engadget]

All images by Tynker


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