Sunday, 8 November 2009

History of computer games take 2

So its the 80s and the console era is just on the cusp of world domination right? Well no not just yet, as games come from arcades into the homes games company's like Atari saw this as a massive cash cow. For example PAC man would be the first major game to be ported onto the Atari 2600. Now a prototype was sent to Atari by Tod Frye who worked for the company, but Atari wanted the game out for the holiday season and actually released the prototype. But that's not best of all, after the release of the film E.T, Atari obtained the right for the game and gave the developers only 6 weeks to release, market and produce the game. As you may have guessed no one liked the it and most demanded a refund. Atari even sent them to a land fill and poured concrete over them. It wasn't only poor games that almost destroyed the game industry, the were simply by this time too many consoles to choose from. Some even had add-ons to play games from other consoles. Not only this but Atari never kept tabs on publishers releasing games and almost anyone could create titles. This flooded the market witch left consumers with absolutely no confidence in the game industry. This is known today as the North American game crash of 1983 which most people may not ever realised happened at all. It was only really apparent to the industry as consumers still played games at arcades witch were just as popular as ever.
It wasn't till 1985 that we saw the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System and shortly after the Sega Master System which mainly dominated the Europe, Australia and Brazil market as the NES was extremely popular in America. This is were the console wars truly started as Nintendo and Sega were now the major players in the game industry the 8-bit war had started. It was then that Sega retaliated with the Megadrive (or genesis for those over the pond) which was a 16-bit machine. Sega had it in there heads that being faster was better. They released the Sega CD and 32-bit add-ons but Nintendo still had better game with the likes of Mario, Zelda and Metriod. That's were Sonic came in and became Sega's official mascot. With Nintendo's hardware becoming more and more dated and Sega now taking a larger part of the market, Nintendo's 16-bit next-gen console was released, the SuperNES. This console would see Nintendo claiming the crown.
Until he beginning of the 90's, this gave birth to CD consoles and 3D graphics with the release of the Sega Saturn and Sony getting a peace of the action with the Playstation. This saw the end of the SNES and after many delays gave birth too (in my opinion and help from local developers RARE) the most revolutionary console to hit the industry was non other than the Nintendo 64. I could make lots of points about why I think this to be true, but it would probably be best in its own post as this one has gone on long enough as it is but the one thing that I hated about this console was the decision to keep cartridges. OK, so it eradicated loading times but there were very expensive, and put off lots of developers. Also the target audience seemed to be aimed primarily at kids unlike the broader scope that the Playstation offered. By this time it seemed like a three legged race, but no-one could have for-scene how the industry would pan out as the next generation of game consoles were on the horizon.

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