By blog on Jan. 18, 2010.
Now for the final instalment of my gaming in history series…
Well right off the bat you’ve got the release of the Playstation 2 in 2000. This was a huge deal, sold really well, and made DVDs more accessible than ever before for your average household, as the price was better than pretty much any good DVD player out at the time. ‘01 saw the release of both the GameCubeand the Xbox, with Xbox Live launching a year later. In the next few years there were major buy-outs and take over bids, with Microsoft buying Rare, and EA trying to buy out Ubisoft.
The seventh generation of gaming consoles was birthed with the release of the Xbox 360 in ‘05 whilst the Wii and Playstation 3 launched about a year later. The next two years saw dominance by Wii over the gaming market, outselling their rival consoles, but it seems apparent to me that that’s largely due to the reduced price of console and games from Nintendo because of it’s lesser technology.
IGN had the view point that the 00’s made the gaming industry, but it really seems to me that that had already happened in the 90’s, a view which many gamers agree with. The consoles in this seventh generation all seemed to have big issues, whereas the previous generation of the 90’s seemed to have less issues in spite of their lesser capabilities.
So, wrapping up my review of gamer history… It’s amazing to think that we’ve got high definition, motion sensors, and online capabilities, when we came from code being developed on mainframes the size of a room and 8-bit cartridges. I think that gaming is slowly finding it’s footing with entertainment mediums like film and television, and will continue to do so. I’m also hoping that with the visuals of games becoming more and more advanced, so too with story lines and plots development. I think the only thing lacking in gaming is high quality writing on a consistent basis.
By blog on Jan. 15, 2010.
Now for gaming in the 90’s, one decade closer to our own.
The 90’s is an era of growing up in my mind, as that was what I was doing throughout that decade, and so was gaming. At the dawn of the 90’s, gamers were still using 8-bit games with 16-bit pixels. Those graphics aren’t completely terrible, heck, I’d play Legend of Zelda right now if I could find an emulator that didn’t make a very annoying sound every time I moved Link. However the 90’s saw an amazing transition from the NES era of gaming through to the Nintendo 64, the Playstation, and SEGA’s Dreamcast. The 90’s ushered gamers from the cartridge era into the compact disc, and all the data that could be stored on it!
In ‘90 and ‘91 Super Mario Bros. 3 and Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past came out on the SNES respectively, two games which made the console what it was in my mind. Those are still games that I’d happily play today, though I may get bored after a short while and go play something else, but that’s largely because I’ve played both those games so much in the past.
‘95 saw the very first E3 in LA, which has helped enormously to establish gaming as a separate entity from ‘electronics’ at large. ‘95 was also the year which saw the Playstation hit North America, the very first gaming console to use CDs instead of cartridges. The next year the Nintendo 64 shipped with Super Mario 64, one of the best games of all time and a pure joy for gamers to try out with a brand new console. The Playstation was the first console to employ both the analogue and digital controls, however it’s widely acknowledged that Nintendo implemented it better with a more comfortable controller. I’m always amazed that Sony still uses the same damn controller, considering it’s not particularly comfortable.
In ‘98 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time shipped, much to my happiness. That was a wonderful game, and also in the same year Half Life shipped for the PC, another fantastic game.
Whilst the debate still rages – mostly by idiots if you ask me – as to the validity of games as a worthy entertainment medium, and not something that will ‘make the children violent’ the 90’s was when this debate was most fierce. I think because there wasn’t the evidence that we have now that there’s no correlation, just a whole bunch of overreacting ninnies. However it was also the decade where gaming really did establish itself as more than ‘toys for children’, so it’s a very interesting decade in gaming.
Oh, and Superman 64 was the worst game of the entire decade.
By blog on Jan. 14, 2010.
Continuing my series on gaming through the last forty year, now onto the 80’s, a very wonderful time!
The 80’s were a very mixed bag for the gaming industry. From the boom of the 70’s, the very beginning of the 80’s seemed set for gaming to remain a huge phenomenon. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong are remembered very fondly today, and were gaming sensations, and the very first time we saw Mario!
However, in ‘83 and ‘84 the gaming industry in the US blew itself to pieces, because there were so many poor quality games being put out for too many different consoles that gamers just gave in and stopped buying. This was before there were serious hardcore gamers like there are today, and also before there was the kind of information or access to information that we have today. There wasn’t a dozen sites on the net to tell you what to expect with a game, or three different magazines for each console and the PC waiting near the supermarket check out to give you that same info. No, this was when gamers had to figure it out for themselves, mostly.
So, what happened to turn gaming ’round? NINTENDO!!! The Japanese company Nintendo took a chance in ‘85 and shipped the Nintendo Entertainment System – NES – to America with the first Super Mario Bros., and behold, the gaming industry took off again! Two years later saw the very first emergence of Link and Zelda, one of my all time favourite game series.
In ‘88 SEGA released the Master System, which whilst being pretty groovy and actually being more powerful than the NES, but even with a few really good games, it couldn’t compete with the runaway success of Nintendo’s console and handheld.
I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but I’ve just read about Atari’s Swordquest contest, and I have to say, it would be pretty awesome to see something like that run today!
By blog on Jan. 10, 2010.
I was over on IGN a few days back and noticed an interesting series of articles about gaming throughout the past 40 years.
The first of the articles outlines the birth of modern video gaming. Most gamers are probably aware that gaming really kicked off in the 70’s with coin operated machines, primarily, with Pong which came out in 1972. Though Pong is often remembered as the original computer game, it was actually very similar to a game which had been released by Ralph Baer who created the Magnavox Odyssey home console, along with a Pong-like game only a few months before Pong hit the market.
In ‘71, Nolan Bushnell created the very first consumer video game, called Computer Space. Apparently the game was overly complex and somewhat abstract, which unfortunately meant that the game flopped, but hey, it was the first cab off the rank and that’s rather important.
There were games that kicked off entire genres in the 70’s, such as simulator games with Lemonade Stand in ‘73. There were also some of the most important advances in computer gaming in this decade. Gaming consoles for the home were first introduced in the 70’s, the Magnavox Odyssey, then a few years later the Fairchild F, and then the one that really made an imprint, the Atari Video Computer System was released in ‘77 for a hefty $US200.
During the 70’s there was at least one arcade game in every pub or gaming room, though towards the end of the decade they weren’t finding the popularity that they had once had.
What amazes me is that from the mid 60’s to the mid 70’s, the advances in home gaming were astronomical. The earliest computer games were built on mainframes the size of a room, and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop. To look at that mainframe, and then the Atari 2600 in ‘77 which just plugged right on in to your television… well that’s just awesome in the eyes of this avid gamer.