Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Gaming history -1980s-90s



Huh?! What was that noise?

These two decades are considered to be some of the most important so far due to the innovation that occurred during them and how they spawned the infamous "console war" which still rages today. From "blast processing" to the creation of handheld system, the 80s saw leaps and bounds in technological advances. Which meant as technology progressed games were always at the cutting edge. Some of my earliest gaming memories include playing Streets of Rage on the Mega Drive, this being one of my first experiences of video games, I look back on it now and question how good it actually is, is it just nostalgic to me now? But in its time it was considered one of the best games on the system and is popular among many gamers.

It wasn't all fun and games for the industry in the 80s towards the start of the decade sales of games and consoles began to slump due to over saturation of the market. There was a massive recession in 1983, revenues that were previously at 3.2 billion fell to 100 million. It was caused by a variety of things but the main cause was over-saturation. Nintendo however managed to rescue it, with its Nintendo Entertainment System in 1984. Launched in Japan a year before as the Nintendo Famicom, its massive popularity made Nintendo see the potential of this console and decided to market it in North America. Nintendo did originally plan to market the console with the company Atari however after some debates about licensing Nintendo decided to market it on its own. Another big thing that came out of the early 80s is more diversity in game styles and genre, this is something that has constantly expanded since the 80s. Action, RPG, beat em up, hack and slash and platformers all come from the 80s. Games like The Legend of Zelda and Metal gear helped established genres in the 80s and still continue to develop the genre and new games in the series today.

A sample of the quality of NES games, amazing at the time but not so much anymore. (Metal Gear)


The next and probably most important innovation of the late 80s is the arrival of the gameboy. Its younger colour sibling was the first console I personally owned and never really put down for the next 5 years. It offered amazing NES like 8-bit cpu graphics on the go, if you could live with the cost of batteries and the inability to see the screen it was fantastic. Its success greatly depended on the game Tetris which was released soon after launch and massively boosted sales. This was the creation of an all new type of games console. The next couple years saw the a considerable improvement graphics wise with the release of the Sega Mega Drive and soon after the SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) which offered colour realistic Graphics and rich colours. Then in 1995/6 the playstation and N64 were released which ushered in the era of 32- bit gaming, offering colourful animated 3D games with "realistic textures". We also owned a PS1, i remember playing Tomb Raider and not being able to get past the first level for hours. In fact one of my all time favourite games, Metal Gear Solid, is on the PS1. The machines internals allowed for a cinematic movie like experience, with real voice acting which made for meaningful stories. The level of detail and scale also increased and allowed for more of an artistic license with character and environment design.

Along side the rise of the console the pc always remained ever so slightly ahead, following the success of the oh so useful Apple 2(see below) in the 70s, personal computer power grew a lot through the 80s. Whilst PCs were much more powerful in comparison to consoles but this also meant they were A LOT more expensive as consoles were aimed more at families and young people. 1993 saw the release of one of the first FPS games, Doom 3D which was also one of the first 3D games. Games also came on CD-ROM disks which allowed for a lot more storage in comparison to ROM cartridges. In the late 90s the pc also saw the release of the classic pc game, Unreal Tournament which was praised heavily for its Bot AI and is also one of the first games to integrate online play across the internet. In the next decade comes the consoles we know very well, consoles that include full HD realistic graphics, gameplay and online play is taken for granted by many. I shall continue this in the next blog post.


In the start of this TED talk, Maeda discusses what the Apple 2, a revoloutionary piece of tech can actually do

References:
http://www.ted.com/talks/john_maeda_how_art_technology_and_design_inform_creative_leaders.html?utm_source=email&source=email&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=ios-share - Ted Talk
http://www.consoleclassix.com/info_img/Metal_Gear_NES_ScreenShot3.gif - Metal gear Pic
http://content.time.com/time/interactive/0,31813,2029221,00.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_video_games#Golden_age_of_video_arcade_games_.281978.E2.80.931986.29
http://www.nintendo.co.uk/Corporate/Nintendo-History/Game-Boy/Game-Boy-627031.html
http://www.classicgaming.com/features/articles/computergaminghistory/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sega_Genesis
http://www.geeksquad.co.uk/articles/gaming/2012/07/the_history_of_pc_gaming


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