Keeping The Gloves On

Video Games and Me (Part 5)

Mr. Red

Nintendo versus Sony – The Rivalry Begins
Back in the late ’80s, I knew Sony as a company that produced music and cassette tapes.  Indeed, the word “Sony” comes from the Latin “sonus” (which means “sound”).  With Sony being a giant in the media industry, Nintendo entered into a contract with Sony to help produce an add-on peripheral to the SNES that would enable the SNES to play games off of a CDROM.  At that time, all NES/SNES games were developed on cartridges, which were both expensive and took a long time to produce.  Sony, together with Philips, was developing the CDROM/XA which allows compressed audio, video data, and computer data to be accessed and played in one disc – a true revolutionary technological development!  However, just before announcing this innovation at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in May 1991, Nintendo examined its contract with Sony and found that they, Nintendo, would be effectively giving Sony all the edge in the gaming industry since Sony would retain all rights to all gaming titles that would use the then upcoming SNES CD-ROM format.  Nintendo then allied itself with Philips and broke off ties with Sony.

Sony, instead of stopping their research, continued to use what they had so far and went on to create the PlayStation.  Nintendo tried to protect itself from the oncoming revolution by filing a lawsuit against Sony, which they lost.  And so, in October 1991, the first PlayStation said, in a manner of speaking, “Hello, World!”

When I first saw the PlayStation and the CDROM, I was instantly hooked.  It can play audio CDs, Video CDs (VCD), and allowed the gamer to play in 3D!  The first thing I played was Tekken, a fighting game developed by Namco, and then Ridge Racer; after which, I and my brother would frequent the malls where some computer shops were renting out PlayStations for a fee.  We would sit there for hours battling each other with controllers getting battered by the minute.

The ultimate feature that I liked about the PlayStation was the PlayStation Memory Card which allowed gamers to save their progress for the game.  This enabled game developers to create games which you could play longer.  One such game that pioneered this was Final Fantasy VII.  Soon enough, the PlayStation dominated the video game scene.

More next time…

Run the race.  Fight the good fight… while keeping the gloves on.

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June 6, 2011 Posted by | Games, Mr. Red, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Video Games and Me (Part 4)

Mr. Red


 

The Nintendo Family Computer 2 (from NES to SNES)

I was talking about the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) earlier which was also known as the Famicom (short for "Family Computer").  For years, the Nintendo Entertainment System dominated the console gaming industry.  Why was it such a success?  I’m not really sure, but I believe the NES owes it success to the volume of games that people could play on it.

The NES was not uncontested though.  Atari kept coming out with newer models of its  gaming console.  Sega, a company that produced video games, also came out with its own gaming platform (different models through the years were known as the Genesis, the Saturn, and the Dreamcast).  Other companies who got into the fray were SNK, Coleco, Panasonic and maybe some others that are unfortunately unknown to me.  With a host of competitors, Nintendo fought back to keep its niche and released the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) or more popularly known as the "Super Family Computer" or "Super NES".

I only got to play with the SEGA Saturn a couple of times but never really liked it that much.  Oh, the machine was good but the games that I liked were, of course, mostly on the SNES.  The SNES was graphically superior to its predecessor by exactly 8 bits.  The NES ran on 8 bits and rendered 8-bit graphic games.  The SNES, on the other hand, were able to play 16-bit graphic games.  I remember playing "Duck Hunt" using the NES Zapper, a gun- shaped controller which was sold separately.

Nintendo would be able to hold its own, that is, until a not-so-new player entered the gaming console industry.  More on that on the next post.

 

Ken vs Sagat–Street Fighter II–SNES

 

Run the race.  Fight the good fight… while keeping the gloves on.

April 22, 2011 Posted by | Games, Mr. Red, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Video Games and Me (Part 3)

Mr. Red


 

The Nintendo Family Computer

The Nintendo Family Computer (commonly referred to by most as the Famicom) was released by Nintendo in the early ’80s.  Its success in Asia prompted Nintendo to release it in the USA and Europe where it became known as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).

The first time I laid eyes on it, immediately, I knew that the Atari Video Computer System’s (AVCS) days were numbered.  Compared to the Atari home computer, the Nintendo Family Computer was smaller, making it easier to allocate space for it in the living room.

Most of my friends and people I knew who owned an AVCS typically didn’t make it a part of the living room.  They only took it out of its box when they wanted to play, and replaced it back in the box afterwards.  Well, maybe that’s the case where we live, a country where a majority of houses have small living rooms.  Or maybe, people were just not that into video games back then.  Whatever the case may be, the Famicom became an integral part of the living room; that is, for most people who can afford to own  one.

It was a good thing that one of my close friends owned one.  We would spend hours playing Super Mario Brothers, Galaga, Contra, Karateka, Donkey Kong, Arkanoid, Bomberman, Pac-man, Double Dragon, Super Mario Brothers, Battle City, Final Lap, Gradius, Star Wars and… did I say Super Mario Brothers?  Yep, we played the plumbers’ game a lot… A whole lot!

It was good that my friend did not mind the companionship, neither did his mother because he was an only child.  (My mother minded it, though, since I was the eldest of three children.)

Through our high school days (Yes, don’t snicker.  You read that right.) we would often spend the afternoons playing with the Famicom.  Well, unless we were playing chess or billiards, which was our alternative pastimes.

When we finally went to college and became busy with other things, I eventually stopped visiting my friend until the time both of our families had to move to different cities and we lost contact.  Lucky for me and my new set of friends, video gaming shops started to sprout everywhere, renting out TVs with their individual Famicoms for a set price per hour.  It’s like I was playing back in the ’70s’ tabletop video game arcades but with a whole lot of better games which you can change from time to time.

But things were bound to change with new video console developers entering the scene.  Things were going to become more competitive and Nintendo was going to lose a major piece of the video gaming industry to its competitors.  This only meant progress, which means this benefits everyone: video game console developers, video game creators, and most importantly, video game players like myself.

How to Beat Super Mario Bros.

 

Run the race.  Fight the good fight… while keeping the gloves on.

April 21, 2011 Posted by | Games, Mr. Red, Technology | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment