Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Week 2

A history of computer games

Part two: 1980s - 1990s

Videogames started in the 50s and onwards but it wasn’t till the 80s and 90s when games started to become more popular. Games which were played on computer (PC) and arcades soon started to become entertainment that was played in households. With the first console ‘Brown Box’ which was created in 1967 to ‘Atari 2600 VCS, 1977, it wasn’t till the 80s when a game company Mattel released there console ‘Intellivision’ (released 1980) to challenge Atari dominance and the start of the early 80s console war (wow quite surprised there as I have never heard of Intellivision). Both consoles attracted third-party developers but because of unlicensed games and new home systems such as Atari 5200 and Vectrex lead to a major video game industry crash in 1983-84 in which many of the gaming companies went bankrupt.

The video game crash of 1983 was sometimes called the Atari Débâcle or the video game crash of 1983 and 1984. That year led to bankruptcy of several companies which were producing home computers and video consoles. The crash lasted about two years; the video game industry was revitalized a few years later mainly due to the widespread success of the ‘Nintendo Entertainment System’ (NES), Nintendo originally a Japanese playing-card company releases the NES in the U.S. The retailers were skeptical at first whether or not marketing a new console after the crash would be suitable but with popular titles like Super Mario Bros, Metroid, Zelda and a strict licensing policy which encouraged third-party game development, the NES broke sales records and became the best selling console in video-game history.

To me NES was like one of the best and first consoles that I played and finding out that it was the best selling console in video-game history is something new (good thing I’m doing this and learning). On the NES I remember playing Mario a lot as it was one of the best games in my opinion and I find a bit funny that I can’t remember playing any other game on it; it just shows that Nintendo was good at giving best games and also games that entertained their audiences as well.

Not only was the NES one of the selling consoles 4 years later Nintendo released their first handheld console the Game Boy in 1989. The Game Boy played games liked the NES but the Game Boy viewed the games on a black and white LCD screen (which was tiny but good). With the release of Tetris the sales went sky rocket, later on in the 90s the Game Boy went through loads of changes, this was mainly because technology was progressing fast that the Game Boy was released about four times (I think), the changes were mainly making the handheld a whole lot better such as brightening the screen, slim down the handheld and later adding colour to the games.

1990 the console by SNK, the Neo Geo was a home console which were years ahead of their competitors showed huge detail within their 2-D graphics, the console was a arcade level quality which were used for households. The one thing that didn’t get the console far was the price which was around $650 and the games $200 (F*** that’s extortionate).

A lot happened between the 80s and 90s especially with technology which gave the game companies the opportunity to make better consoles and games. One main thing that happened to games were that they were no more black and white, the game industry not improved the quality of games but made sure that games evolved to a new height, games we see today are only achieved by what have happened in the past and also learning from the mistakes of the past (the video-game crash for example). Consoles by the start of the 90s already achieved a lot, in those ten years they were able to create 4-5 console (I think) as well as the very first handheld, the 2-D games attained better detail graphics as well as sound. To think about how games changed in that 10 years, think to where they are now, within 19 years games have advanced to what they are now, its curios to think what games might end being like in the upcoming years and what they might change to.

Looking and researching this was interesting to me, I can’t remember the exact year I played on a console but I do remember it being the NES and finding out that the console was out before I was born is kind of interesting as the first console I played on was created right in-between the 80s and 90s, so my love for games started with this console. I do remember the Neo Geo as later the price went all the way down, my second console I had was the Sega Mega Drive; I really enjoyed this console as when the Play station was out I remember playing the Mega Drive instead which I find kind of funny, the games that I recall playing was Sonic, Street Fighter and Street of Rage (wow they all begin with S) these games were the best and still are, nowadays games rely on better graphic’s which is one of the most obvious change we see today (as well as game play, controllers, etc). To me out of all of it I thought the handheld Game Boy was best at that time, I did play on the consoles but most of my time was probably spent looking at a tiny LCD screen playing MARIOOO. Since I still have my Game Boy and the games I can always see the difference in how much games have changed as well as for other consoles (PS). For me seeing this change to what games/consoles have become today, I wonder what they may end up being like in the near future.

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