Monday, 6 December 2010

The 2000's

The 2000’s

The age of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft was in the horizon. The Play station without no doubt dominated the forthcoming years in constantly proved in the variety of games and the amount of third party developers it had. The GameCube on the other hand was equally good in graphics but the number of games developed and released was a lot less than its competitors. Microsoft made its appearance to the gaming industry in 2001 with the xbox which was their first game console and they instantly rivalled in graphics and good hardware specs and Halo: Combat evolved definitely showcased this. It was certain at this point that the main competitors for this decade at least were these three, so publishers took notice of this and more and more multi-platform games started to emerge.

The games industry as we all know have grown very rapidly and we are heading towards an interesting period in the gaming culture as during the 1980’ the games that emerged were very unique and very original. The games in general are now being designed for the mainstream audience and I personally think it is lacking in originality and creativity in games. There are most certainly several factors so for this so let’s reflect on the games consoles, consoles such as xbox and play station mainly had one purpose and that is to play video games but now the industry has grown significantly and so other forms of entertainment such as movies and music are becoming a part of modern day consoles and this is again to appeal to the wider audience. Similarly the games that were developed during the 80’s and 90’s games had to be original as there was an unbelievable variety of games and most of the studios were trying to get a big break in to the industry so they really have to be different from their competitors. The video games that are being developed nowadays have a lot of pressure on them and even though the advancements in technology should push creativity, this doesn’t happen too often as studios are always under a lot of pressure to deliver a game that they expect and of course there is a lot of money involved and so developing new ideas is a risky business.

It is important to remember that despite this struggle game developers are still being able to produce interesting titles and developing games that not only the push the barrier in terms of the visual aesthetics but also sprinkled with creativity! Heavy Rain was a game that breaks barriers in visual story telling in video games, although Heavy Rain might not have satisfied the modern warfare audience, it has certainly pushed creativity and innovation especially with the motion move controller edition. There were mixed views about this game as hardcore veterans’ said it’s just and interactive movie where as the newer casual audience found these sort of games very playable and like it because of the fact that it literally played like an interactive movie without the constant shouting and gunshots and enemy flash bangs that we hear year after year (call of duty series).

The 1980's to 1990's

1980's to 1990's

The early 1980’s proved to be the most challenging and difficult time for the console video games. The main competitors were the personal computers, as the price for these computers dropped drastically and the computers offered colour graphics and improved sound. These home computers also had more memory, these also allowed more complex games and since it’s a computer you can also do other useful tasks such as word processing and accounting. The invention of the personal computers also meant that more sophisticated games can now be made.

The 1980’s was considered the golden age of video game development as at this period there were not only technical advancement but also genre specific games started to emerge so this was a huge step in appealing to various audience types.

The core genres were

Adventure games, Beat’em ups, Fighting games, Maze games, Platform games, Racing games, role playing games and many others. I was very amazed how some of the modern franchises with cutting edge graphics were games that were developed almost 2 decades ago!

I am amazed by the sheer variety of games that came out at this time. Some of the titles include:-

Pacman (1980) this game without no doubt achieved highest popularity among mainstream culture and the first game character to be popular.

Prince of Persia in 1989 was the first cinematic plat former and this crazy to think this franchise is as old as me and it very interesting to see the progression on how the game has evolved.

The Atari ST and the Commodore Amiga in 1985 was the new beginning of of the 16 bit systems, however many found these machines too expensive but at this time there were also computer advancement as IBM have become considerably powerful compared to their competitors and in 1987 they gave the personal computers the potential for 256 graphics. This was a huge jump ahead of most 8 bit machines and by this time dedicated sound card were also being developed to address the issue of poor sound capabilities.

In 1985, the Nintendo Entertainment System was released which was bundled with Mario Bros, this was an instant success! The NES dominated the North American and Japanese Market until the next generation of consoles in the 1990’s. The Legend of Zelda also made its appearance in 1986. The other game that caught my attention was Final Fantasy and the reason why this was called Final fantasy was because the Japanese company Square was apparently struggling very badly and Hironobu Sakaguchi had decided to make his final game which was modelled after games like Dragon quest which was the origins of the Final Fantasy Series which later as we know had become on the most successful role playing game franchise. In 1987 the Metal Gear designed by Hideo Kojima debuted this year for the MSX 2 computer platform in Japan and Europe.

The games in 1990’s started to incorporate 3d graphics and games were taken more seriously as during the 1990;s there were larger consolidations with publishers, higher budget games, increased size of production teams and collaboration with both music and motion picture industries.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The 1950's to 1970's

The video gaming culture gradually originated from early cathode ray tube based missile defence systems in the late 1940’s which later became simple games during the 1950’s. The computers were usually mainframe computers which later converted to various platforms due to the ever growing technology.
“In 1952, A.S. Douglas wrote his PhD degree at the University of Cambridge on Human-Computer interaction. Douglas created the first graphical computer game - a version of Tic-Tac-Toe.”
I think this was the first ever real attempt in making a graphical game and although it seems basic and probably doesn’t have the same complexity as a modern video game it had human input so it was to be considered some as sort of a game. Six years later William Higinbotham created the first ever proper video game and this is a considerable step forward as it tried to mimic a real life sport which was tennis.

In 1961 a group of students at MIT programmed a game called Space war. The game consisted of two human players capable of firing missiles while a large star in the centre of the screen created a hazard for the spaceships. Space war is often credited as the most influential game.
In 1966 Ralph Baer and Bill Harisson created a simple video game named Chase and this game was the first time a video game was played on a standard television set. They soon created Light Gunand developed several video games with Bill Rusch in 1967 and within a year a prototype was completed featuring several games such as table tennis and target shooting. In 1969 they were showing off their first home video game console to manufactures. The same year AT&T programmer Jeremy Ben wrote a video game called Space Travel for the Multics operating system. The main objective of this game was to successfully land a space craft, this game was later ported to a different system but it proved to be very costly so Ben looked for a less expensive computer to use, he then ported the game to PDP-7 with the help of Dennis Ritchie and by developing a software for this machine the development process of the Unix operating system began and Space Travel has been called the first ever UNIX application.
The Magnovox was believed to be the first video game console with rudimentary graphics in 1972 and it was the first video game console that can be played at home. This console had a basic version of Pong which was probable the most important achievement which was released by Atari in November 1972 in arcades. The name was given because of two reasons, the first reason was that “pong” was the sound the game makes when the ball hits the paddle or side of the screen and the second reason was that “ping-pong” was already copyrighted.
The home video games became popular and were copied and sold by numerous companies, but they could not survive due to strong competition from Atari, Magnavox and others.