Atari Space Invaders Tournament 1980

Atari Space Invaders Tournament 1980. The world’s first electronic sports event, it attracted more than 10,000 participants.

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Space Invaders was one of the first true blockbuster video games after Pong. In Japan, where the game was developed by Taito in 1978, it even caused a shortage of 100-yen pieces (the coin used in arcade machines there). The game was no less popular in the U.S. so of course there was a port for the popular Video Computer System (Atari 2600). It became the first killer app for a video game console and was responsible for quadrupling Atari 2600 sales.

In 1980, the year that Space Invaders was released for the Atari 2600, a tournament was held to determine the best Space Invaders player. Four people were picked from four regional competitions to compete in the final in New York. A total of 10,000 people participated from all of the regions combined. It wasn’t the first video game competition but the Space Invaders Championship was the first such event on a large scale and is the predecessor of today’s eSports.




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