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