The Console Wars: In the Beginning

As I sat thinking of what to actually type about and make it sound as though I know what I am talking about, I looked up to see my other half beginning to play Saints Row: The Third.

It was then like a crack of thunder a mini light bulb went off, why not discuss the much hyped consoles we play these blood thirsty gun toting games on. Now I’m not going to start this “review” by saying I am not biased and have equal respect in each of the different consoles, I honestly can’t stand the Xbox 360 and the dratted Nintendo Wii I personally adore Sony and the Play Station franchise. Of course this “review” isn’t about me flaming the other consoles and praising the Playstation, I am going to discuss firstly the consoles of the past and work my way up hopefully discovering at least a half decent reason for their hype.

Now I was quite surprised to find out we are actually on the seventh generation of video game consoles, digging deeper I discovered much to my amazement that the very first generation came out in the 1950’s. A time now you think was in the dark ages and how old can our parents really be? Anyways nothing really took off until Atari released the good old favourite Pong. The public then decided to take video games a bit more seriously and keep an eye on the growing industry. Through the next few years technology started to boom including programmable micro processor inside the actual console so the game cartridges only needed a single chip instead of all that data. So initially the consoles were just a big block of plastic taking up space in the home… change there then from today, of course all this talk of processors back then must have sounded like virtual reality in the home for our present.

The video game industry suffered a few crashes but always came back especially with Space Invaders after the crash of 1977, it was only when companies like Atari started to hype up games like E.T that things started to go very wrong. Hyping up games sounds good in theory but not all games need that kind of publicity, for example I like Square Enix and the Final Fantasy series and they released a game called Odin’s Sphere. I bought it because Square Enix had a hand in making it. That was enough for me to buy it, you think because it is made by the same company that produced such exquisite JRPGs that they couldn’t go wrong. Well imagine my surprise as I began to play it. The room turned blue with the language I used to describe it, the story was good but the game play and graphics I despised. See what I mean? Once a company has latched onto such a good franchise and can still make money off it over a decade later, they don’t need to hype a game up gamers will buy it because they have planted their label on it. Unfortunately for Atari they hyped up E.T so much they brought the crash of 1983, well if they didn’t they are very much blamed for it.

I could go on all day about what they did wrong but that’s not the point of this, basically even the first games consoles had a few blips when they took off and so have the present day consoles. Of course when the present day consoles do it’s the end of the world the same goes for a release date of a game that is pushed back a few months. I feel myself going off on a tangent while trying so desperately hard to cling onto whatever depth this “review” has, maybe it’s because the generation of today don’t care about the consoles of the past. I find that quite well….sad I have a soft spot for the consoles that made it possible to have great realism when shooting someone’s brains out over the floor. This article sounded more like a history lesson than anything else, but I think it’s important to remember where our heritage came from. So in closing thank you Atari for all your hard earned struggle in bringing us the consoles of today, even though you brought us crappy games like E.T.


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