Console Gaming, Then and Now

We all remember pong, in fact, it’s still around. Cell phones, MP3 players, retro game reinventions still bring us Pong and many of the other classic games we know and love. Console games two decades ago(about when I was born) were very primitive. People often used number pads to enter in commands, those commands would then translate to an action on a screen. Some consoles were actually housed in wood, not plastic. It wasn’t until Nintendo released the NES that the market really exploded.

Nintendo had achieved something that the competition had not. The NES(Nintendo Entertainment System) was sleek, clean and it featured cartridges(games) that could be bought and inserted into the system to play. Many, many games were made for the NES and it was on top of the world for the time.

Nintendo later announced the Super NES, which had taken advantage of the newest technology at the time. This was the tipping point where 2-D smoothed into 3-D. The N64 was the next step, Sony was close behind with the Playstation. The N64 was still using cartridges while the PlayStation used discs. This turned a lot of game publishers away from the N64 because it meant developing for 2 different technologies.

This Brings us up to the year 2000. You have 3 major competitors; Sony’s PlayStation 2, Microsoft’s Xbox and Nintendo’s Gamecube. All have 3-D graphics and immersible gameplay but the Xbox and PlayStation 2 appealed to more hardcore gamers while the Nintendo kept a fun casual gamer environment. The Xbox and PlayStation 2 did something that the Gamecube did not, online multiplayer. For the first time, gamers would be able to use the Internet to play with each other. This took video games to a whole new level.

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With today’s consoles hot on the market(Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii) it is only a matter of time before we see another big breakthrough from console games. There are technologies in the works that will hopefully have gamers moving and controlling game characters in a life-like manner. If the last decade in changes are any indication of the changes to come, then we have a lot to look forward to.