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.