This is my personal gaming history. Gaming has changed considerably since it began way back before I was even born in the early 80s.
Gaming history going old school with an Atari
I am not the first gamer in my household, no, that would be my older sister. She had an Atari 2600, it was the great mainstream console of its time. It was also the route of many sibling fights and arguments in our household. Usually, this was because I used to sneak into her room while she was out, just to play Centipede, Dig Dug and dare I say it that dreadful Ghostbusters game. I really had no idea what to do in that game, or how to control it.
To be this good take ages!
My sisters’ next console of choice was a Sega Master System, where more arguments were had between us. Fighting over who’s turn it was on Alex the Kid or Sonic the Hedgehog got quite serious at times. I say it like it was constant bickering, but it wasn’t really, maybe I’m exaggerating a little, even though my distant memory feels like it was.
She had some great games on that system, Castle of Illusion, Golden Axe, Double Dragon amongst others. It feels like it’s my sister’s gaming history as well as mine really.
Growing up a little with a Commodore 64
As I got older, one Christmas, I was bought a Commodore 64. It was a second-hand machine of course, with hundreds of games. We didn’t have a lot of money back then so, to me, it was a dream come true. Quite a few of those games were faulty, which was frustrating considering it took 10 minutes to load a game. Grrr. I had hours of fun.
Being quite young I had no idea what else to do with the Commodore 64 apart from gaming.
Sega Megadrive into overdrive
In the late 80s early 90s, for my birthday, I was bought a Sega Megadrive 2 for Christmas. This machine was amazing, the library of games was amazing. This generation of gaming took it to another level. Games like Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Earthworm Jim and NBA Jam, to name but a few are franchises still alive today are etched into gamers minds of an older generation.
The Nintendo Gameboy handheld revolution
Around the same time as owning a Sega Megadrive, There was a battle going on. The battle of the handhelds. At the time I remember there being the Atari Lynx, Sega Game Gear and the Nintendo Gameboy, each battling for your hard earned cash and for a space in your pocket.
I opted for the more popular Gameboy. It became the outright winner and set the groundwork for Nintendo’s long supreme stronghold of the handheld market. I never did understand why it was more popular than the other two. They both sported colour screens, the Gameboy was just a green and black screen. Well, until later iterations ie. Gameboy Colour.
Gaming goes mainstream with the Sony Playstation
In 1994 the Playstation was launched with the marketing aimed at clubbers coming home from a late night out making gaming a more mature affair. The PlayStation was a worldwide smash defeating the Sega Saturn and 3DO.
Hundreds of games were released. Some were great some, not so great. Some of my fondest memories were spending hours with my best friend playing F1 and VRally. Other gaming highlights were Legacy of Kain, Nightmare Creatures, Tomb Raider, Parappa the Rapper, Final Fantasy, Cash Bandicoot and too many others to name here.
Another memory I have is each week my dad would exchange a game for me at the local market. He knew a guy who owned a games stall. He allowed him to swap a game for another. So I got to experience many games over the years for free. Happy times.
New millennium, new console generation
In the early naughty’s the PS2 made its mark and went on to become the world’s biggest selling gaming console ever. A title that it still holds today. The Xbox didn’t really stand a chance of competing, although this was the console I chose to buy with some of my college loan. I’d lost my gaming mojo at the time so wasn’t really paying attention as to what was going on in the industry.
I didn’t mind, I had the crystal Xbox. It was huge and chunky and it was my console. Ok, it didn’t have the huge library of exclusives the Playstation 2 had. Although I did enjoy Halo, Sonic Heroes, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and more.
The graphics of this generation were a big step up over the previous generation. Something a lot of people came to expect with each new generation.
Wii play together
2006 saw the launch of another phenomenon, the Nintendo Wii. This console dominated the casual gaming market with its gimmicky motion controls making gaming accessible to everyone from your little sister to your nan and granddad. It was great fun at parties for about 5 mins. The Wii will go down in gaming history as the second biggest selling home console.
This was my sister’s choice in console. She still plays it to this day. Mainly in the winter when the nights have drawn in and the family stay inside.
The next level of gaming
Meanwhile, the other gamers were enjoying their ps3s and Xbox 360s over a long console cycle that felt like an eternity. This particular generation played a major part in my gaming history.
I started this generation with an Xbox 360. I remember booting it up for the first time to this day like it was yesterday. My first game was Gears of War. My parents loved watching me play that. They were taken back by the stunning graphics and gory gameplay.
I loved John Woo’s Stranglehold too. If you get the chance to play this game, do so you won’t be disappointed. Crackdown was another game I played to death.
What this generation did well was take storytelling to the next level. With it being so long, it allowed for the consoles to be truly pushed to their limits as the developers became familiar with the technology.
It was during this stage of my gaming life where I jumped on the bandwagon and purchased a Nintendo DS. I think I played it a few times and sold it. Not because I didn’t like it, but because I didn’t have the time to play it.
For the players
Which then brings us bang up to date with the current consoles. The Wii U was received to much confusion, and although it provided some of the highest rated games of this generation, production has now ceased on the console. RIP 10/11/16 x
The PS4 steamed ahead with console sales and Microsoft has kept quiet about their sales figures. But that doesn’t really matter as we gamers enjoy the various platforms exclusives and online features together. The PS4 will go down in gaming history as one of the great consoles. The one that reintroduced innovative gaming ideas through independent developers.
I personally have found that I have gone more digital rather than physical this time round.
With so many games available and most gamers with gaming backlogs up to their eyeballs, it really is a great time to be a gamer. I too have a huge backlog of games to play. I went through a phase of trying to complete every game, but there are so many and not enough time, what with work to fit in too. But you know what? It’s ok if I don’t complete them, some games I just can’t get into and that’s fine.
So what’s next for my gaming history?
Virtual Reality Galore
VR headsets are out to buy, it’s early days but I think a lot of people may be holding off until there are fully fledged games rather than “VR experiences”.
Mobile gaming is huge with no signs of slowing even Nintendo have taken the dive into this arena with Miitoma. My only gripe with mobile gaming is that the control system isn’t great for full on games like we experience with a controller. For me, the most gaming I will do is play quick puzzle games while on my lunch break at work.
Anyone for an upgrade?
Upgraded consoles, the PS4 Pro and Xbox One S are now available to buy. This is a great way to enter this generation for those just coming on board. If you already have the originals, is it really worth upgrading? Personally, I will wait for the next generation, If there will be one, to really see the benefits.
This gen or next gen?
Then there’s Project Scorpio. Microsoft has said it is another addition to the Xbox One family of consoles. The highly powerful console will probably also come with a high price tag. Could this really be part of the Xbox One family? If so why have they called it Project Scorpio? Or is this going to morph into The next gen Xbox? Time will tell.
Nintendo Switch, on or off?
The Nintendo Switch as also been officially announced, launching March 2017. Can this be the console to save Nintendo? I don’t know but one thing I do know is that the future of gaming is looking very exciting indeed.
This was my personal gaming history. I’d be interested to read yours in the comments below or send it in and I will publish it for you.