Monday, 1 December 2008

The Epic (or not so epic in some cases) history of gaming part DEUX

Well we come to the second part of the Epic History of Gaming, this portion will cover the multiple generations of gaming and the innovation and failure that took place within them.

After the home computer boom of the seventies, the idea of having personal gaming consoles became a reality, however even with the now added privilege of having gaming in the household. It was often limited to one or two games. The second generation of consoles took care of this by introducing game cartridges where the microprocessors in the consoles would read the cartridge memory and play the programs stored there. Consoles like the Atari 2600 dominated this area and allowed gamers to amass a large collection of games.

"Old skool *buttroc*"

However the second generation of gaming didn't just herald the ability to have multiple games, it also spawned and defined many of the gaming genres we know of today such as the side scrolling shooter made famous by Defender, and pole position setting the "rear view racing format" that even games of today still use. It also brought the rise of many publishing houses including electronic Arts and Activision.....however this growth would bring the industry to its fall. The Video game crash of 1983 occurred, due to a number of reasons, it was mostly the product of the industry being too ambitious at such a young age, this is apparent with many developers trying to ride off the gaming boom of the arcade with a plethora of games and consoles coming out, a majority lacking in quality, a prime example is the legendary E.T game for the Atari 2600, which was advertised like crazy because of the film, it had a multitude of copies made for it in the idea that it would be an insane hit, but alas word of mouth got round about the game's poor quality, which is no surprise considering it was rushed and made in 6 weeks leaving it unwanted and with the publisher with a few hundred copies left over from the production run. This portion of history irks me because it makes me think about how stupid people in high positions can be at times, it somewhat feels like they're always taking the easy way out and focusing more on projected sales than the quality of the products......


After a year the gaming industry was revived, thanks to Nintendo who brought out the Nintendo Entertainment System (or Famicon to some)which heralded the third generation. It introduced the concept of using a joy pad to play games, and of course with it many of the gaming world’s most famous Franchises including Zelda, Metal Gear and that plumber bloke. It also brought more restricted publishing houses with more quality games being produced, to ensure another crash didn’t occur, the years that followed (or the 1990s in general) brought more introduction of genres, such as real time strategies and first person shooters. It also brought competition in the form of Sega’s consoles, and mascots if you count a certain blue hedgehog.

"Who will win plumber or giant mutant hedgehog?!"

An important aspect of the 1990s is the birth of the fifth generation, which, even though 3Dish games had been achieved previously, offered the capability to make full 3D gaming available and made the console wars evident in fans, those of which chose a system based on system capabilities. The obvious winner of this console wars at this point was the Playstation, mainly due to its use of CDs an idea that made square soft choose to continue developing for the system as Nintendo had decided to keep with the cartridge system and its wide range of genres available, especially at launch which managed to bring a huge user base towards it.

"And the Winner is..." FOR NOW!!

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