Video game crash of 1983
The video game crash of 1983 was a large-scale recession in the video game industry that occurred from 1983 to 1985 in America. The crash was attributed to several factors, including market saturation in the number of game consoles and available games, waning interest in console games in favor of personal computers. Revenues peaked at around $3.2 billion in 1983 fell to around $100 million by 1985. The crash was a serious event which abruptly ended what is retrospectively considered the second generation of console video gaming in North America. Lasting about two years, the crash shook the then-booming industry, led to the bankruptcy of several companies producing home computers and video game consoles in the region. Analysts of the time expressed doubts about the long-term viability of video game consoles and software; the North American video game console industry recovered a few years mostly due to the widespread success of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. Prior to 1982, the most significant home console was the Atari VCS.
The Atari VCS was launched in 1977. In 1980, Atari's licensed version of Space Invaders from Taito became the console's killer application. Spurred by the success of the Atari VCS, other consoles were introduced, both from Atari and other companies: Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Odyssey² and Intellivision. In addition to this and Coleco created devices that allowed them to play Atari 2600 games on their consoles; each of these consoles had its own library of games produced by the console maker, many had large libraries of games produced by third-party developers. In 1982, analysts noticed trends of saturation, mentioning that the amount of new software coming in will only allow a few big hits, that retailers had too much floor space for systems, along with price drops for home computers could result in an industry shakeup. In addition, the rapid growth of the video game industry led to an increased demand for video games, but which the manufacturers over-projected. An analyst for Goldman Sachs had stated in 1983 that the demand for video games was up 100% from 1982, but the manufacturing output increased by 175%, creating a surplus in the market.
Raymond Kassar, the CEO of Atari, had recognized in 1982 that there would become a point of saturation for the industry, but did not expect this to occur until about half of American households had a video game console. In 1979, Atari unveiled the Atari 400 and 800 computers, built around a chipset meant for use in a game console, which retailed for the same price as their respective names. In 1981, IBM introduced the IBM 5150 PC with a $1,565 base price, while Sinclair Research introduced its low-end ZX81 microcomputer for £70. By 1982, new desktop computer designs were providing better color graphics and sound than game consoles and personal computer sales were booming; the TI 99/4A and the Atari 400 were both at $349, the Tandy Color Computer sold at $379, Commodore International had just reduced the price of the VIC-20 to $199 and the C64 to $499. Because computers had more memory and faster processors than a console, they permitted more sophisticated games. A 1984 compendium of reviews of Atari 8-bit software used 198 pages for games compared to 167 for all other software types.
Home computers could be used for tasks such as word processing and home accounting. Games were easier to distribute, since they could be sold on floppy disks or cassette tapes instead of ROM cartridges; this opened the field to a cottage industry of third-party software developers. Writeable storage media allowed players to save games in progress, a useful feature for complex games, not available on the consoles of the era. In 1982, a price war began between Commodore and Texas Instruments, home computers became as inexpensive as video-game consoles. Dan Gutman, founder in 1982 of Video Games Player magazine, recalled in 1987 that "People asked themselves,'Why should I buy a video game system when I can buy a computer that will play games and do so much more?'" The Boston Phoenix stated in September 1983 about the cancellation of the Intellivision III, "Who was going to pay $200-plus for a machine that could only play games?" Commodore explicitly targeted video game players. Spokesman William Shatner asked in VIC-20 commercials "Why buy just a video game from Atari or Intellivision?", stating that "unlike games, it has a real computer keyboard" yet "plays great games too".
Commodore's ownership of chip fabricator MOS Technology allowed manufacture of integrated circuits in-house, so the VIC-20 and C64 sold for much lower prices than competing home computers. "I've been in retailing 30 years and I have never seen any category of goods get on a self-destruct pattern like this", a Service Merchandise executive told The New York Times in June 1983. The price war was so severe that in September Coleco CEO Arnold Greenberg welcomed rumors of an IBM'Peanut' home computer b
Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south; the kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", it is called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands; the four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one; the population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. 90.7 % of people live in cities. About 13.8 million people live in the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people. Archaeological research indicates; the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD.
Influence from other regions China, followed by periods of isolation from Western Europe, has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma – and the Empire of Japan was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism; the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation led by SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the G20, is considered a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, it is the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a skilled and educated workforce. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, influential music industry, video gaming, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern technology; the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, pronounced Nihon or Nippon and means "the origin of the sun".
The character nichi means "sun" or "day". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun"; the earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country; this name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises"; the message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you". Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato and Wakoku were used; the term Wa is a homophone of Wo 倭, used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period.
Another form of Wa, Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called Nakoku during the Han dynasty. However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa 倭, it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa, meaning "togetherness, harmony"; the English word Japan derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. The Old Mandarin or early Wu Chinese pronunciation of Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本; the old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These Early Portuguese traders brought the word
Home video game console
A home video game console, or home console, is a video game device, used for home gamers, as opposed to in arcades or some other commercial establishment. Home consoles are one type of video game consoles, in contrast to the handheld game consoles which are smaller and portable, allowing people to carry them and play them at any time or place, along with microconsoles and dedicated consoles. Below is a timeline of each generation with the top three home video consoles of each generation based on worldwide sales. For a complete list of home video consoles released in each generation please see the respective article of each generation. Legend – Unit with the highest sales of its generation. – Unit with the second highest sales of its generation. – Unit with the third highest sales of its generation. -- Manufacturer did not sell the most units. – – Manufacturer didn't release a home video game console during this generation. † – Indicates the current generation consoles on the market. Although the first video games appeared in the 1950s, they were played on massive computers connected to vector displays, not analog televisions.
Ralph H. Baer conceived the idea of a home video game in 1951. In the late 1960s while working for Sanders Associates he created a series of video game console designs. One of these designs, which gained the nickname of the "Brown Box", featured changeable game modes and was demonstrated to several TV manufactures leading to an agreement between Sanders Associates and Magnavox. In 1972 Magnavox released the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game console which could be connected to a TV set. Ralph Baer's initial design had called for a huge row of switches that would allow gamers to turn on and off certain components of the console to create different games like tennis, volleyball and chase. Magnavox replaced the switch design with separate cartridges for each game. Although Baer had sketched up ideas for cartridges that could include new components for new games, the carts released by Magnavox all served the same function as the switches and allowed gamers to choose from the Odyssey's built-in games.
The Odyssey only sold about 100,000 units, making it moderately successful, it was not until Atari's arcade game Pong popularized video games, that the public began to take more notice of the emerging industry. By autumn 1975, bowing to the popularity of Pong, cancelled the Odyssey and released a scaled-down version that played only Pong and hockey, the Odyssey 100. A second, "higher end" console, the Odyssey 200, was released with the 100 and added on-screen scoring, up to four players, a third game—Smash. Released with Atari's own home Pong console through Sears, these consoles jump-started the consumer market. All three of the new consoles used simpler designs than the original Odyssey with no board game pieces or extra cartridges. In the years that followed, the market saw many companies rushing similar consoles to market. After General Instrument released their inexpensive microchips, each containing a complete console on a single chip, many small developers began releasing consoles that looked different externally, but internally were playing the same games.
Most of the consoles from this era were dedicated consoles only playing the games that came with the console. These video game consoles were just called video games, because there was little reason to distinguish the two yet. While a few companies like Atari and newcomer Coleco pushed the envelope, the market became flooded with simple, similar video games. Fairchild released the Fairchild Video Entertainment System in 1976. While there had been previous game consoles that used cartridges, either the cartridges had no information and served the same function as flipping switches or the console itself was empty and the cartridge contained all of the game components; the VES, contained a programmable microprocessor so its cartridges only needed a single ROM chip to store microprocessor instructions. RCA and Atari soon released their own cartridge-based consoles, the RCA Studio II and the Atari 2600, respectively. Both Bally and Magnavox brought their own programmable cartridge-based consoles to the market.
However, it was not until Atari released a conversion of the golden age arcade hit Space Invaders in 1980 for the Atari 2600 that the home console industry took off. Many consumers bought an Atari console. Space Invaders' unprecedented success started the trend of console manufacturers trying to get exclusive rights to arcade titles and the trend of advertisements for game consoles claiming to bring the arcade experience home. Throughout the early 1980s, other companies released video game consoles of their own. Many of the video game systems were technically superior to the Atari 2600, marketed as improvements over the Atari 2600, but Atari dominated the console market in the early 1980s. However, a severe crash occurred in 1983 in the video game business. In 1983, Nintendo released the Family Computer in Japan; the Famicom supported high-resolution sprites, larger color palettes, tiled backgrounds. This allowed Famicom games to have more detailed graphics. Nintendo began attempts to bring their Famicom to the U.
S. after the video game market had crashed. In the U. S. video games were seen as a fad that had passed. To distinguish its product from older game consoles, Nintendo released the
Brazil the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, its most populated city is São Paulo; the federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 kilometers, it borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile and covers 47.3% of the continent's land area. Its Amazon River basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats; this unique environmental heritage makes Brazil one of 17 megadiverse countries, is the subject of significant global interest and debate regarding deforestation and environmental protection.
Brazil was inhabited by numerous tribal nations prior to the landing in 1500 of explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, who claimed the area for the Portuguese Empire. Brazil remained a Portuguese colony until 1808, when the capital of the empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. In 1815, the colony was elevated to the rank of kingdom upon the formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves. Independence was achieved in 1822 with the creation of the Empire of Brazil, a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system; the ratification of the first constitution in 1824 led to the formation of a bicameral legislature, now called the National Congress. The country became a presidential republic in 1889 following a military coup d'état. An authoritarian military junta came to power in 1964 and ruled until 1985, after which civilian governance resumed. Brazil's current constitution, formulated in 1988, defines it as a democratic federal republic. Due to its rich culture and history, the country ranks thirteenth in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Brazil is considered an advanced emerging economy. It has the ninth largest GDP in the world by nominal, eight and PPP measures, it is one of the world's major breadbaskets, being the largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years. It is classified as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country, with the largest share of global wealth in Latin America. Brazil is a regional power and sometimes considered a great or a middle power in international affairs. On account of its international recognition and influence, the country is subsequently classified as an emerging power and a potential superpower by several analysts. Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, BRICS, Union of South American Nations, Organization of American States, Organization of Ibero-American States and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, it is that the word "Brazil" comes from the Portuguese word for brazilwood, a tree that once grew plentifully along the Brazilian coast.
In Portuguese, brazilwood is called pau-brasil, with the word brasil given the etymology "red like an ember", formed from brasa and the suffix -il. As brazilwood produces a deep red dye, it was valued by the European textile industry and was the earliest commercially exploited product from Brazil. Throughout the 16th century, massive amounts of brazilwood were harvested by indigenous peoples along the Brazilian coast, who sold the timber to European traders in return for assorted European consumer goods; the official Portuguese name of the land, in original Portuguese records, was the "Land of the Holy Cross", but European sailors and merchants called it the "Land of Brazil" because of the brazilwood trade. The popular appellation eclipsed and supplanted the official Portuguese name; some early sailors called it the "Land of Parrots". In the Guarani language, an official language of Paraguay, Brazil is called "Pindorama"; this was the name the indigenous population gave to the region, meaning "land of the palm trees".
Some of the earliest human remains found in the Americas, Luzia Woman, were found in the area of Pedro Leopoldo, Minas Gerais and provide evidence of human habitation going back at least 11,000 years. The earliest pottery found in the Western Hemisphere was excavated in the Amazon basin of Brazil and radiocarbon dated to 8,000 years ago; the pottery was found near Santarém and provides evidence that the tropical forest region supported a complex prehistoric culture. The Marajoara culture flourished on Marajó in the Amazon delta from 800 CE to 1400 CE, developing sophisticated pottery, social stratification, large populations, mound building, complex social formations such as chiefdoms. Around the time of the Portuguese arrival, the territory of current day Brazil had an estimated indigenous population of 7 million people semi-nomadic who subsisted on hunting, fishing and migrant agriculture; the indigenous population of Brazil comprised several large indigenous ethnic groups. The Tupí people were subdivided into the Tupiniquins and Tupinambás, there were many subdivisions of the other gro
North America is a continent within the Northern Hemisphere and all within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea. North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers, about 16.5% of the earth's land area and about 4.8% of its total surface. North America is the third largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa, the fourth by population after Asia and Europe. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 579 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population, if nearby islands are included. North America was reached by its first human populations during the last glacial period, via crossing the Bering land bridge 40,000 to 17,000 years ago; the so-called Paleo-Indian period is taken to have lasted until about 10,000 years ago. The Classic stage spans the 6th to 13th centuries.
The Pre-Columbian era ended in 1492, the transatlantic migrations—the arrival of European settlers during the Age of Discovery and the Early Modern period. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves and their descendants. Owing to the European colonization of the Americas, most North Americans speak English, Spanish or French, their culture reflects Western traditions; the Americas are accepted as having been named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci by the German cartographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann. Vespucci, who explored South America between 1497 and 1502, was the first European to suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies, but a different landmass unknown by Europeans. In 1507, Waldseemüller produced a world map, in which he placed the word "America" on the continent of South America, in the middle of what is today Brazil, he explained the rationale for the name in the accompanying book Cosmographiae Introductio:... ab Americo inventore... quasi Americi terram sive Americam.
For Waldseemüller, no one should object to the naming of the land after its discoverer. He used the Latinized version of Vespucci's name, but in its feminine form "America", following the examples of "Europa", "Asia" and "Africa". Other mapmakers extended the name America to the northern continent, In 1538, Gerard Mercator used America on his map of the world for all the Western Hemisphere; some argue that because the convention is to use the surname for naming discoveries, the derivation from "Amerigo Vespucci" could be put in question. In 1874, Thomas Belt proposed a derivation from the Amerrique mountains of Central America. Marcou corresponded with Augustus Le Plongeon, who wrote: "The name AMERICA or AMERRIQUE in the Mayan language means, a country of perpetually strong wind, or the Land of the Wind, and... the can mean... a spirit that breathes, life itself." The United Nations formally recognizes "North America" as comprising three areas: Northern America, Central America, The Caribbean.
This has been formally defined by the UN Statistics Division. The term North America maintains various definitions in accordance with context. In Canadian English, North America refers to the land mass as a whole consisting of Mexico, the United States, Canada, although it is ambiguous which other countries are included, is defined by context. In the United States of America, usage of the term may refer only to Canada and the US, sometimes includes Greenland and Mexico, as well as offshore islands. In France, Portugal, Romania and the countries of Latin America, the cognates of North America designate a subcontinent of the Americas comprising Canada, the United States, Mexico, Greenland, Saint Pierre et Miquelon, Bermuda. North America has been referred to by other names. Spanish North America was referred to as Northern America, this was the first official name given to Mexico. Geographically the North American continent has many subregions; these include cultural and geographic regions. Economic regions included those formed by trade blocs, such as the North American Trade Agreement bloc and Central American Trade Agreement.
Linguistically and culturally, the continent could be divided into Latin America. Anglo-America includes most of Northern America and Caribbean islands with English-speaking populations; the southern North American continent is composed of two regions. These are the Caribbean; the north of the continent maintains recognized regions as well. In contrast to the common definition of "North America", which encompasses the whole continent, the term "North America" is sometimes used to refer only to Mexico, the United States, Greenland; the term Northern America refers to the northern-most countries and territories of North America: the United States, Bermuda, St. Pierre and Miquelon and Greenland. Although the term does not refer to a unifie
Magnavox is an American electronics company founded in the United States. Since 1974 it is a subsidiary of Dutch electronics corporation Philips; the predecessor to Magnavox was founded in 1911 by Edwin Pridham and Peter L. Jensen, co-inventors of the moving-coil loudspeaker at their lab in Napa, California under United States Patent number 1,105,924 for telephone receivers. Six decades Magnavox produced the Odyssey, the world's first home video game console toy. Magnavox is the brand name worn by a line of products now made by Funai under license from trademark owner Philips. Jensen and Pridham founded the Commercial Wireless and Development Company in 1911, moved from Napa to San Francisco Oakland in 1916. In July, 1917 a merger with The Sonora Phonograph Distributor Company was finalized and the Magnavox Company was born. Frank Morgan Steers was chosen as the company's first President. Jensen moved on to Chicago, in the late 1920s. Pridham stayed on with Magnavox; the term "Commercial Wireless" had a different meaning in the early days of telephone.
Magnavox manufactured radios, TVs, phonographs. In the 1960s Magnavox manufactured the first plasma displays for the military and for computer applications. In 1972 Magnavox introduced the Odyssey. In 1974, the Magnavox Company was acquired by Philips of the Netherlands to ensure nationwide distribution for their VLP Videodisc technology, all Philips consumer electronics in the US under the Norelco name began rebranding them under the Magnavox name. In the late 1970s, Philips developed LaserDisc technology, producing an optically read, 12 inch disc that would contain recorded video material. In the early 1980s, Philips worked with Sony to create a standard for optical audio discs, using the technology developed for the LaserDisc. Teamed with Sony, Philips used the Magnavox brand name to introduce the CD-DA standard and equipment for consumer audio with the Magnavox player sold in department stores while the Sony CDP-101 went to high-end audio stores. During the late 1970s the company released the Odyssey² known as the Philips Videopac.
In the early 1980s, Philips merged Sylvania and Magnavox into one division headquartered in Knoxville, with a manufacturing plant in Greeneville, Tennessee. The Sylvania plant in Batavia, New York was closed and all operations moved to Greeneville. Philips abandoned the Sylvania trademark, owned by Osram. In the late 1980s, Magnavox sold the Magnavox/Philips VideoWriter with some success. Released in 1985, the VideoWriter was a standalone fixed-application word processing machine. Philips Computers based in Canada, sold its products in North America under the Magnavox brand with minor rebadging in logo and color scheme of computers, monitors and manuals. Philips exited the proprietary personal computer business in 1992. Philips sold the Greenville plant in 1997. Starting in the early 1990s, some Philips electronics were marketed under the brand name "Philips Magnavox", in an attempt to increase brand awareness of the Philips name in the United States. While it did work to a degree, it caused confusion to the consumer as to the difference between "Philips Magnavox" products and "Philips" products, resulting in Philips marketing the two brands separately again.
The defense electronics group, centered in Fort Wayne, remained independent under the Magnavox Electronic Systems name, first under Philips and in the Carlyle Group, until it was acquired by Hughes Electronics in 1995. The three areas of business of the MESC operation during the late 1980s and early 1990s were C-Cubed, Electronic Warfare, sonobuoys; when Hughes Electronics sold its aerospace and defense operations to Raytheon, the former Magnavox defense operations were transferred as well. Shortly thereafter, Raytheon spun off the sonobuoy operation to form Under Sea Systems Inc, in Columbia City, Indiana. In 1998, Raytheon sold USSI to a British defense consortium named Ultra Electronics; the company is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Ultra, manufacturing water and acoustic sensing and communications devices for military and civil defense. Among the defense products Magnavox manufactured were the AN/ARC-164 UHF radio, AN/SSQ-53 series sonobuoys, AN/ALQ-128 EW equipment, AN/SSQ-62 series sonobuoys, the Advanced Field Artillery Data System.
The brand has worked with Funai with their televisions after the Philips Magnavox name was popular. Magnavox has a brand licensing deal where several of their consumer electronics are manufactured by Craig Electronics and sold under the Magnavox brand. In Australia, the rights to the Magnavox brand are not owned by Philips but by Mistral Ltd, a Hong Kong trading company that uses it to sell audio/video equipment of a different make. In Europe, the brand Magnavox was used in the 1990s by Philips on budget consumer electronics to replace traditional local brand names. Since no one recognised the brand name, it was soon discontinued. Official Magnavox website Philco International
J. R. R. Tolkien
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, was an English writer, poet and academic, best known as the author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion. He served as the Rawlinson and Bosworth Professor of Anglo-Saxon and Fellow of Pembroke College, from 1925 to 1945 and Merton Professor of English Language and Literature and Fellow of Merton College, from 1945 to 1959, he was at one time a close friend of C. S. Lewis—they were both members of the informal literary discussion group known as the Inklings. Tolkien was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II on 28 March 1972. After Tolkien's death, his son Christopher published a series of works based on his father's extensive notes and unpublished manuscripts, including The Silmarillion. These, together with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, form a connected body of tales, fictional histories, invented languages, literary essays about a fantasy world called Arda and Middle-earth within it.
Between 1951 and 1955, Tolkien applied the term legendarium to the larger part of these writings. While many other authors had published works of fantasy before Tolkien, the great success of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings led directly to a popular resurgence of the genre; this has caused Tolkien to be popularly identified as the "father" of modern fantasy literature—or, more of high fantasy. In 2008, The Times ranked him sixth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945". Forbes ranked him the 5th top-earning "dead celebrity" in 2009. Tolkien's immediate paternal ancestors were middle-class craftsmen who made and sold clocks and pianos in London and Birmingham; the Tolkien family originated in the East Prussian town Kreuzburg near Königsberg, where his first known paternal ancestor Michel Tolkien was born around 1620. Michel's son Christianus Tolkien was a wealthy miller in Kreuzburg, his son Christian Tolkien moved from Kreuzburg to nearby Danzig, his two sons Daniel Gottlieb Tolkien and Johann Benjamin Tolkien emigrated to London in the 1770s and became the ancestors of the English family.
In 1792 John Benjamin Tolkien and William Gravell took over the Erdley Norton manufacture in London, which from on sold clocks and watches under the name Gravell & Tolkien. Daniel Gottlieb obtained British citizenship in 1794, but John Benjamin never became a British citizen. Other German relatives joined the two brothers in London. Several people with the surname Tolkien or similar spelling, some of them members of the same family as J. R. R. Tolkien, live in northern Germany, but most of them are descendants of recent refugees from East Prussia who fled the Red Army invasion and subsequent ethnic cleansing. According to Ryszard Derdziński the Tolkien name is of Low Prussian origin and means "son/descendant of Tolk." Tolkien mistakenly believed his surname derived from the German word tollkühn, meaning "foolhardy", jokingly inserted himself as a "cameo" into The Notion Club Papers under the translated name Rashbold. However, Derdziński has demonstrated this to be a false etymology. While J. R. R. Tolkien was aware of the Tolkien family's German origin, his knowledge of the family's history was limited because he was "early isolated from the family of his prematurely deceased father".
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born on 3 January 1892 in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State to Arthur Reuel Tolkien, an English bank manager, his wife Mabel, née Suffield. The couple had left England when Arthur was promoted to head the Bloemfontein office of the British bank for which he worked. Tolkien had one sibling, his younger brother, Hilary Arthur Reuel Tolkien, born on 17 February 1894; as a child, Tolkien was bitten by a large baboon spider in the garden, an event some think echoed in his stories, although he admitted no actual memory of the event and no special hatred of spiders as an adult. In another incident, a young family servant, who thought Tolkien a beautiful child, took the baby to his kraal to show him off, returning him the next morning; when he was three, he went to England with his mother and brother on what was intended to be a lengthy family visit. His father, died in South Africa of rheumatic fever before he could join them; this left the family without an income, so Tolkien's mother took him to live with her parents in Kings Heath, Birmingham.
Soon after, in 1896, they moved to Sarehole a Worcestershire village annexed to Birmingham. He enjoyed exploring Sarehole Mill and Moseley Bog and the Clent and Malvern Hills, which would inspire scenes in his books, along with nearby towns and villages such as Bromsgrove and Alvechurch and places such as his aunt Jane's farm of Bag End, the name of which he used in his fiction. Mabel Tolkien taught her two children at home. Ronald, as he was known in the family, was a keen pupil, she taught him a great deal of botany and awakened in him the enjoyment of the look and feel of plants. Young Tolkien liked to draw landscapes and trees, but his favourite lessons were those concerning languages, his mother taught him the rudiments of Latin early. Tolkien could write fluently soon afterwards, his mother allowed him to read many books. He disliked Treasure Island and The Pied Piper and thought Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was "amusing but disturbing", he liked stories about "Red Indians" and the fantasy wor