In the early 1980s, thanks to the fact that there was little industry regulation when it came to game licenses on the most popular consoles, the gaming industry in the United States collapsed horribly.  Because companies like Atari were not strict at all when it came to providing licenses to developers, the market was flooded with games that simply were not that good.  In 1983, the home gaming industry bubble busted, and many people thought that home gaming consoles would never have much of a market ever again.  This is something that really only happened in the United States, as gamers in Europe generally used microcomputers in order to play their games rather than consoles that were dedicated strictly to gaming.  Because microcomputers were less popular in the United States and more people were using consoles like the Atari systems, the console gaming collapse had a huge effect and a lot of money was lost.

Then, in 1985, the Japanese company Nintendo released an American version of its Famicom console that it called the Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES.  Rather than marketing the console as device for playing video games, Nintendo decided to market it in the United States basically as a toy, and because they did this, they were able to build a huge console market in the United States from the ground up.

To this day, the NES is probably the most well-known and popular gaming console to have ever existed, with Mario, the mascot of the company, becoming more recognizable than even Mickey Mouse.  Thanks to Nintendo saving the gaming industry in the United States, competitors like Sega would later give Nintendo a run for its money, and Sony would later surpass it with their Playstation.  Still, the NES is likely the reason gaming is such a large industry in the United States today.