Watching video games grow up

posted by Jeff | Wednesday, November 28, 2007, 11:35 PM | comments: 6

Diana and I have been watching Rise of The Video Game on Discovery Channel the last two weeks. It's a five-part series, with the first covering the early development of games and consoles, and the second covering the second wave and transition to games that involve stories. The rest of the series will cover shooters, sims and online gaming. It's not a strict chronological history.

It's interesting that if you were born in the early part of the 70's, you actually got to grow up with their games and witness their entire history. We both remember playing Pong as little kids, and we got to follow up with the Atari 2600 and the original NES (the latter of which I never actually had, but Stephanie still had hers). My total resume now includes the 2600, Gameboy (the original, Color and Advance), SNES, N64, PlayStation, Sega Dreamcast, PlayStation 2, GameCube, Nintendo DS, Xbox, Xbox 360 and Wii. I don't have any of the GB's, SNES, PS1 or original Xbox anymore. I'm tempted to fire up that old 2600 some time and see if it still works. Prior to the modern Intel-Windows era, I also had an Atari 600XL, which I wrote my own games for, an Apple II+ (I still have the original Might & Magic disks!) and an IBM PS/2 model 25 with no hard drive.

It's funny though how really since I was 10 there has always been a video game console hooked up to my TV. I can't imagine not having it available, even if I'm not really all that hardcore about it. My second "console" was the original Gameboy, which I was really proud of since I bought it with my own money while in high school. I'll never forget playing through the Mario game that launched with it. Those were some good times.

These days I have a hard time finishing games, or even getting into them at all. I got the NBA 2k launch title for the 360 and I think I played it twice. I'm struggling to get through Super Paper Mario, partly because it's not a very good game. I love Halo 3, I just haven't had the time to invest in it. The big time in the last year actually comes from the Xbox Live arcade games for me. They're inexpensive, and they're fun to play.

I admit that I partially wanted a Wii so I could buy the old classics. Sure, I could play them for free on an emulator, but it's not really the same. There's something about playing it on the actual hardware. Waste of money to some people I'm sure, but I don't mind spending a couple of bucks on that kind of thing.

I really wish I could find some time to really lose myself in some games. The last title I actually finished was Tomb Raider: Legend on the 360. It was really a lot of fun and true to the original games. They just released Tomb Raider: Anniversary, which is a remake (not a port) of the original game on the PS and PC. I'm sure I'll eventually buy it for the 360 (available on other platforms as well).


Dr. Pepper, November 29, 2007, 2:39 PM #

Wow. I loved Super Paper Mario.

What are the things that bother you about it?

Neuski, November 29, 2007, 2:46 PM #

I got a Game Gear in the 5th grade. It was cool until it stopped working. It also ate batteries like a fat kid eats cake; The sucker held 8 AA's!

Jeff, November 29, 2007, 3:06 PM #

SPM wastes way too much time with the boring ass "story." Button button button button button. I don't want to read all of that crap. If I wanted to be reading, I'd bust out my Harry Potter books.

Joe, November 29, 2007, 4:50 PM #

CPLady, I'd be interested in hearing an amount for the Intellivision or seeing a list of games. I STILL play my Intellivision, and it's still amazing.

CPLady, November 29, 2007, 2:30 PM #

Our first game system nearly cost me a honeymoon. The groomsmen bought us the Intellivision as a wedding present. In fact, we still have it and about 30 games that still work. I've been considering selling it.

We've got all the Nintendo systems from the original through the N64, Playstations from original through PS2, Dreamcast, all gameboys, the Sega handheld (don't remember what it was called), the original Xbox and Gamecube (although the latter two Ian has with him in A2). Ian purchased the Wii the day it came out.

It's truly amazing to see how far video games have come since Pong and Intellivision. Comparing the D&D game on Intellivision with what is available now. But as computers and electronics become more sophisticated, so do the electronics that use them.

For me, this includes TV's and music devices (my first transistor radio!). I've gone from 45's to albums to 8 track tapes to cassettes and CD's. Now all you need is a tiny mp3 player for music...or better yet, things like the iPhone where you've got everything in the palm of your hand.

Amazing shit.

Dr. Pepper, November 29, 2007, 3:35 PM #

I think Super Mario Galaxy would be more of what you want. Little bit of story, mostly action.

SPM did have a lot of text. I think it would have been unbearable if most of it wasn't so funny.

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