Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A History of Computer Games: Part 3 - 2000s

The millennium and onwards. The days of the Playstation 2, Game Cube and Xbox and the end of my golden age of couch gaming.

In the year 2000 Sony's Playstation 2 would emerge, competing with Sega's Dreamcast and effectively knocking out one of it's rivals . Following on a year later would be Nintendo's Game Cube. It was there first disc based console and was seen by many gamers as a children's console with the games produced for it. The Game Cube is also one of my most memorable consoles for multiplayer mainly for one single game; Super Smash Bros Melee. :)

In 2002 Microsoft joined the console business with the release of their Xbox. This was Microsoft's first console and was generally well received with it's technical specs. Microsoft sold the console at a loss to get grasp within the market. Shortly after the release of the Xbox, Bungie would give birth to one of the most popular FPS franchise of all time; Halo.

And so this was about the time when I would hear many slandering between the fan boys of consoles (which gave me a giant headache).
As time went on during the 2000s, there would be an increase of violent games garnered towards a mature audience.

Online play became a big part of gaming as it added a much more unique experience with multiplayer. The Dreamcast was considered the pioneer for online play on consoles. Every other console after would enable online play in some shape or form. Online play for the current gen consoles would allow large scale multiplayer games and would greatly add to a better multiplayer experience to game genres such as FPS.(Though there is always lag issues that people would be complaining about.)
MMOs became very popular and many MMOs would be made as the internet became much more accessible. World of Warcraft is only one MMO that I see many people lose their souls to and there are hundreds of MMOs out there such as Guild Wars, Final Fantasy XI, etc.

Moving onto the current gen of our time. The Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii.
Microsoft's Xbox 360 would emerge from the depths first in 2005 followed by Nintendo's Wii in 2006 and finally in Sony's Playstation 3 in 2007. Each console created with online features such as DLC (downloadable content) heavily in mind. The PS3 and 360 are heavily focused with HD graphics and online play whereas Nintendo's Wii would rejoin the console war with innovative game play featuring motion sensored controllers. The graphics were said to be not much of an improvement from the Game Cube according to Nintendo themselves. Many gamers were alienated and was put off by the new style of gameplay. Nonetheless, the Wii shot up overtaking the rivals in sales.

Sony and Microsoft generally kept the gameplay traditional with the control pads (although with some elements of motion sensor in the Dual Shock 3 and Six Axis). However up until recently have started to push to other areas such as Sony's Playstation Move motion controller and Microsoft's Kinect. With 3D technology advancing, the consoles are starting to integrate it within gameplay. This could lead to gamers becoming much more active in and could change the stereotype that is put upon gamers (even if it is another silly one :P)

Many companies in the industry (around 75%) are making a loss in profit. It takes considerably much longer and pricier to make a single game and it just isn't enough. Most companies go into debt and many suddenly go into liquidation. The pirates of games are also effecting the industry, and it seems the way things are going now, will be a very long time before game companies can try new things and create new games. Sequels are being made as they are (generally) seen as a safe way of gaining profit. With the gaming industry in a very tight situation with money and it seems it will stay this way for a while.

'Professionals' in training :D
My fellow game artists and I will most likely be graduated into it and it will be an extremely tough industry to get into. Even so, this will not stop me and many others on my course from bettering ourselves in every way as creative, professional artists and steeling ourselves for the rough, chaotic and dark industry ahead of us.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

A History of Computer Games: Part 2 - 1980s - 1990s

The days of the old school arcade games. This was considered the golden age of video games. Arcade cabinets would sell thousands of cabinets, earning billions of dollars. Home consoles with rapidly increasing in technology with innovative games.

Games could be made by anyone as a hobby at the time and groups would gather to create much more ambitious games. PC games would follow soon after.
Many consoles in the 1980s would emerge into the scene. This included consoles such as:
The Commodore Vic 20 and 64
Sinclair ZX80/ZX81/ZX Spectrum
Atari 8-bit group
BBC Micro
Acorn Electron
Amstrad CPC
MSX series

The competition between the many consoles pushed the market further.
Another video game crash would soon follow towards the end of 1983 with several companies going bust. The crash of 1983 would be even worse than that of the crash in 1977. Causes of the crash could be that of poorly designed games from the game companies. Many would consider

During the 1980s, many innovative games would materialise, defining game genres of the future games such as The Legend of Zelda becoming an iconic game within the world of video games as one of the pioneers of the action adventure game genre as Resident Evil (and it's extremely cheesy and bad dialogue) is to the horror genre.

During 1983 and 1995, the 3rd generation of consoles would emerge into the homes of gamers.

Nintendo Entertainment System
Nice original name
Nintendo would give birth to one of the most recognisable consoles and character to even this day, The NES and Mario. Super Mario Bros which was bundled with the 8-bit NES would be an immediate hit and Nintendo would dominate Japan and North America. Because the NES would not be as successful in the rest of the world, this gave other consoles such as Sega's Master System and chance in other countries such as Europe, Australia and Brazil.

Sega Master System
Game pads replaced joy sticks and keyboards as the standard controllers and would continue to do so even until the present day.

In 1989 the Gameboy would be born and start the trend of hand held gaming. The Gamegear would also emerge and rival the Gameboy. Handheld consoles have stayed popular even up to the present day.


During the 1990s the graphics of games would improve at an impressive rate, shaping genres of the games we know today. Video games and consoles would turn into a big contender in the entertainment industry. Game companies would have a larger budget and would collaborate with other parts of the entertainment industry such as the music industry and film industry. This era was a very important time for video game history as almost all games nowadays are heavily influenced with the music and film industry.

Because it was much more affordable for gaming companies, many trends would continue and would advance tremendously in technology such as hand held gaming, leading onto innovative hand held consoles such as the DS with the touch screen and the PSP with it's multi functions and superb graphics for a hand held.

The development of games within the 1980s and 1990s were a very important time for the gaming industry. The success of arcade cabinets ultimately led to the popularity of having a console at home, effectively bringing the arcade experience and more at home. It really helped shape many game genres and the birth of many iconic games would influence games for a very long and still does to this very day. Getting involved with other industries was a very important move as it really improves the quality of the game and makes games that much better.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

A History of Computer Games: Part 1 - 1950s - 1970s

Before the time when video games and and the game industry didn't milk the shit out of consumers with DLC and rehashes, existed a time where video games were nothing more than fun with a few bright lines and shapes on a black screen.

During the 1950s, games such as OXO, a tic-tac-toe game and Tennis for Two, a two player tennis game were created. 'OXO' was created by Alexander S Douglas and is often deemed the first video game invented but was created for a computer that was unique to Cambridge called the EDSAC and as a result, did not spread far at all.
'Tennis for Two' was created by William Higinbotham and is a two player game of tennis (hence the name) with both players using a box shape controller. It was dismantled in 1959 but would be suceeded by 'Pong' later on in the years to.

In 1961 Spacewar! was made by a group of student at MIT for a new computer during that time. This game was later made into a coin operated arcade machine in the 1970s and influenced many other games later to come such as Galaxy Game.

In 1966, plans were being made by Ralph Baer and Bill Harrison on what would allegedly become the first console. They were involved with projects such as creating a light gun and so it must have been pretty ground breaking for its time to be able to simulate shooting a gun at home without using the real thing! Three years later, the first console ever was being shown to manufacturers.

In the 1972, Atari was formed and Pong machines was later created by them. The success of Pong was jumped on by many imitators and the amount of different Pong machines made was ridiculous

Here is a video that gives a good idea of how many were created :p.

In the same year the Magnavox Odyssey was a console that used cartridges. The cartridges were used with circuit jumpers and enabled different kind of games to be played using the same system. Coloured plastic sheets could be overlayed onto the TV screen to 'allow colour' to your game.

In 1977 there was a huge video game crash as Pong machine manufacturers and consoles were being sold at a loss and greatly affected the video game industry of it's time. Only Atari and Magnavox remained in the scene. It wasn't until 1978 when Space Invaders by Taito invaded the the industry's gap and secured the way for the golden age of old school gaming. Taito's Space Invaders was later licensed by Atari and boosted it's sales considerably, recovering from the earlier losses of the crash of 1977. With the success of the Atari 2600, video games once again found themselves within the homes of the consumers.

Looking back, video games have come a long way and has evolved at an amazing rate. With all the advancements and innovative designs being made with software and hardware, I'm excited to see what surprises the industry have in store for us in the future.
Although, I hope it doesn't involve using shitty remotes that don't work as well as they're supposed to... ^_~