The term "cutscene" was coined by game designer Ron Gilbert to describe non-interactive plot sequences in the 1987 adventure game Maniac Mansion. Pac-Man (1980) is frequently credited as the first game to feature cutscenes, in the form of brief comical interludes about Pac-Man and Blinky chasing each other, though Space Invaders Part II employed a similar technique in the same year.
In 1983, the laserdisc video game Bega's Battle introduced animated full-motion video (FMV) cutscenes with voice acting to develop a story between the game's shooting stages, which became the standard approach to game storytelling years later. The games Bugaboo (The Flea) (1983) and Karateka (1984) helped introduce the cutscene to home computers. Other early video games known to use cutscenes extensively include Portopia Renzoku Satsujin Jiken in 1983; Valis in 1986; Phantasy Star, Maniac Mansion, and La Abadía del Crimen in 1987; Ys II: Ancient Ys Vanished – The Final Chapter, and Prince of Persia and Zero Wing in 1989. Since then, cutscenes have been part of many video games, especially in action-adventure and role-playing video games.
Cutscenes became much more common with the rise of CD-ROM as the primary storage medium for video games, as its much greater storage space allowed developers to use more cinematically impressive media such as FMV and high-quality voice tracks.