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Sioux Falls Suffered Through Crash of 1983 Along With Rest of Country


When a multi-billion dollar industry loses 97% of it’s value in 2 years, that’s called a crash. And that’s exactly what happened in 1983.

The stock market crash of October 1929 led to what is call the ‘Great Depression’. If you didn’t live through it, your parents or Grandparents (or maybe Great Grandparents) did. The ‘Dirty Thirties’ were the worst economic time’s the country has ever seen.

And the ‘Crash of ’83’? No, it wasn’t the stock market. But it was a multi-billion dollar industry that came crashing down. And it’s an industry that you’re very familiar with. In fact, there’s a very good chance a piece or two of that industry is in your home right now. OK, let’s be honest: You partake of the industry on a regular (maybe too regular?) basis.

It was in 1983 that the video game industry came crashing down and almost went totally off the cliff.

In 1983 revenues from video games were at a staggering $3.2 billion. By 1985 that total had fallen to around $100 million. That, my friends, is a drop of about 97%.

And that is a crash. But why?

The easy answer can be summed up in one word: Saturation.

All of a sudden everybody it seemed was marketing video game consoles. Atari, ColecoVision, OdysseyFairchild, Mattel and more. Many more. Plus there was competition from home computers, and then add in inflation. Now, it’s all a lot more complicated than that and you can read the full story here if you like.

But the bottom line is: There were so many new games released from so many different companies that stores were literally flooded with games. As it turns out, too much of a good thing ain’t a good thing. And so the games didn’t sell, many of the companies folded and stores all around the country had thousands of games that they couldn’t return to the now defunct companies. The crash began in 1983 and bottomed out by 1985. The video game industry had lost 97% of it’s revenues.

Yep, it was a problem. And as we all know, the video game industry essentially died and never returned. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch my Grandkid’s play their Nintendo.

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