Saturday, 11 December 2010

Loading Screens And Dreams Part 3

In my third blog of this series I am going to look at handheld gaming. This was all started by a conversation between me and Karl Winship. A simple chat has spawned three blogs so thanks again Karl.

This all started in the 80's as well believe it or not. You could get for the first time a limited amount of games consoles that only played one game and they were in black and white. Nintendo started it off with numerous Mario games. The rarest of these now sell for well over a thousand pound. You can even get some of the non rarer ones to sell for around a £100 if they are in good condition. You payed a few pounds back in the day for them.

Nintendo launched the GameBoy in the early 90's though. It was black and white and the killer game was Tetris. This sold by the absolute bucket load. For the first time you could play games on the move and change them as well. The battery life was good and EVERYONE I knew had one. Well except me. Ill tell you why in a minute. It took the gaming world by storm and sold a million units in the first THREE months. This had never been heard of before, it was truly groundbreaking stuff.

Me? Oh I had a SEGA Game Gear, which I might add I still have to this day. This was in my opinion far superior than the Gameboy. It had a few flaws I wont deny that, but I loved it. You could play Master System type graphics on the move it was a great machine. The only problems were it needed 6 batteries that died after an hour and it was £199 compared to the £69 for the GameBoy. It couldn't compete and after a year Nintendo became the kings of the handheld.

Nintendo then launched the GameBoy Colour, this was nowhere near as good as the Game Gear but price told and it won through. It even had a camera attachment and printer for it as well. Nintendo had the market all to themselves.

They evolved this machine over the coming months and years, First of was the GameBoy Advance. This was a huge leap forward as the graphics got better and more and more developers noticed they could start making a lot of money from the handheld market.

They followed this up with GameBoy SP a massive design change as it was a flip down case. The graphics were getting better as well. It was at this stage that I discovered one of my favourite games of all times. Advance Wars. So very simple but so addictive at the same time. A strategic war game that I still play to this day it was is that addictive.

After a few years Sony decided they wanted a piece of this pie and announced they were going too launch a PSP. I remember the first time I saw one of these. A customer I knew in my Game store imported one from Japan. To say the graphics blew me away would be an understatement. This was PS One graphics on a handheld. It was amazing. I had never seen anything like it. I had to have one so I also imported one from Japan for the grand total of £200. A lot of money for a handheld but I had to have one. The only thing that annoyed me was the complete lack of software. This still exists to this day as well.

Nintendo knowing that they couldn't compete with graphics decided to do something completely different. They introduced the Nintendo DS. What was so special about this? It was a touch screen. This hadn't been done before and it has led to the phones we have today that are touch screen. Believe me when I say this without the Nintendo DS there wouldn't be an IPhone. It was that groundbreaking, The software backed it up and it was a massive seller.

Nintendo may have lost the current console war but the thing that I admire greatly about Nintendo its that they aren't afraid to bring something different to the market. They seemed to have learnt from the battle of the home console and are now selling bucket loads of products by being different. The Nintendo DS, The Wii, another groundbreaking concept.

Who knows what the future of gaming holds, but one thing you can be certain of. With Nintendo still involved in the gaming industry they will continue to develop new and exciting products that appeal to the family. Sony and Microsoft will continue to push the graphic boundaries as far as they can, each trying to out do each other.

 When I look back as I have done with these blogs and my final one about being a GAME store manager ( not to be missed there are some cracking stories in that one believe me ), I'm amazed at how fast the games and graphics and the way we play games has changed. My kids play games now with graphics I could only dream off as a kid. The future is so exciting and the kids that play games now will decide what and how we play over the next decade as their peers did before them.

Its going to be a very exciting decade that's for sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment