Keeping The Gloves On

Video Games and Me (Part 6)

Mr. Red

 My introduction to the bestselling video game console of all time: the PlayStation 2!


Looking back at my previous posts under this category, I am surprised that I’ve gone through more than 30 years of gaming history. I admit it is not as exhaustive as I want, but then this is all based on my personal experience so a lot of consoles have been skipped over. I hope you understand.

Anyway, to continue… After 5 years of enjoying playing games on the Sony Playstation at video game rental shops, Sony released the most successful gaming console in history (well, in my opinion only, okay?), the PlayStation 2.

The very first game I played on the PS2 was Final Fantasy X-2. I was at a friend’s house when I first saw the Playstation 2, and wow!!! The graphics were great and the gameplay was quite enjoyable. I tried my hand at it and instantly, I knew right there and then that I was holding a bestseller! Reluctantly, I gave the controller back to my friend. I looked around and saw some other DVD game, “Soul Calibur 2”. I recognized the game since I used to play the original Soul Calibur game at the arcade with my sister (who beat me most of the time using this eerie character named “Voldo”). I asked my friend when it was released and was I surprised. It was released in 2000, 2 years earlier! I couldn’t believe it! I was waaaay behind the news… and indeed, the Playstation 2 was already a bestseller!

Why was I behind the news? Well, after spending months preparing for the Millenium Bug in 1999, the company that I worked for got taken over by another company, and I was one of the employees that were retained. I got busy with some other stuff like getting involved launching the website, getting married, and other stuff.

I’ll get to that other stuff after my last post regarding Videogames and me. (I know, I know… Grammatically, it should be “Videogames and I”, but this sounds better to me.)

(Oh and let me greet those good people at Software Experts in Florida: Hi! Enjoy your weekend!)

Till next post…

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

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August 5, 2011 Posted by | Games, Mr. Red, Technology | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

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

Video games and me (Part 2)

Mr. Red


 

The Wonder of the Atari Video Computer System

In my previous post, I related my first encounter with video games via the tabletop coin-operated machines.  I found myself a regular patron of that arcade, that is, whenever I had money to spend.  Soon, I noticed that it was getting too costly to play and my video gaming expenses was eating up most of my school allowance.

Eventually, the lure of the arcade, with its bright, blinking sights and beeping sounds lost its attraction.  It was just too expensive.  Well, actually it was my parents’ frequent scolding that were primarily responsible for my sudden disappearance from the gaming arcade scene.

As a result, I would often daydream of one day owning one of those machines, and putting it right smack in the middle of our living room with the whole family gathered around that black, glowing tabletop arcade machine, shouting encouragements to whoever was playing as he struggled to break the current highest score.  Yes, it was a child’s dream; little did I know that in the future that would come true when video game consoles would actually start becoming a standard piece of appliance for the living room.

The first of these consoles I knew was the Atari Video Computer System – created, manufactured and sold by Atari, Inc.  Sadly, I was not able to own one because of financial constraints.  The first time I saw one, though, was when I visited a classmate at his place and he allowed me to play a video game called "Pong" with him for a couple of hours.  As I left his house, I was green with envy, to say the least… and yet I was happy to know that technological advancement was spurring the  development of video gaming systems for the home. 

My dream of owning my own tabletop arcade machine was now replaced by my dream of owning my very own Atari Video Computer System.  From the very start, I wished Atari, Inc. the best of luck so that they would be able to sell more Atari Video Computer Systems at a much more affordable price; but more advancements were soon on their way.  The Atari Video Computer System would soon give way to its better successor, the Nintendo Family Entertainment System.  More on that on the next post.

Atari Video Computer System

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

April 20, 2011 Posted by | Games, Mr. Red, Technology | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Video Games and Me (Part 1)

Mr. Red


Tabletop Arcade Games

I was seven years old when I first played an arcade game.  Some enterprising individual rented a small space at a new building somewhere near our neighborhood and installed a few arcade game machines.  I didn’t know what it was at first.  They looked like small black tables and I thought that the people who were sitting there were just having a cup of coffee and having a good conversation with a friend or two.  So I just ignored them and was content buying comic books.  One time, on my way home from school, the crowd there were rowdier than usual.  They were shouting and laughing and were evidently having a lot of fun.  I got curious.  I never crossed the street to see what the "coffee shop" sold or what the weird looking tables were before, therefore I never heard the sounds that came from the arcade machines. 

As I came closer, I saw those who were sitting at the tables were hunched down  with hands somewhere between their legs and jerking left and right, leaning forward and backward  at times.  A little more closer and then… that’s when I heard some sounds I never heard before.  There were beeps and pops and whatever and this just added to my curiosity.  At last I  came near the first table and my eyes grew wide at the site.

The tables were no strange coffee tables!  There were small colorful images moving there and the sounds and some music were coming from there.  I peered over one person’s shoulder and was mesmerized when I saw that the table top had a screen like a TV; only, it wasn’t a TV and there was no television show.  On closer inspection I saw what looked like an inverted T-shaped thing moving at the bottom of the screen shooting bullets at a lot of other oval shaped like things moving at the top of the screen.   Those things seemed to be moving downwards and the guy playing the game was doing his best to eliminate all the enemies.  I was hooked.  Later on I found out that the name of that arcade game was "Space Invaders" and that those weird tables were called arcade machines.  That was how I first came to know and love video games.

Till the next post…

Space Invaders in Play or Retro Tabletop Arcade Machine

 

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

April 19, 2011 Posted by | Games, Mr. Red | , , , , | Leave a comment

Having fun with games

Mrs. Blue

 

Games

One of my favorite pastimes is playing games, whether it’s on a game console, online gaming on the laptop, games on FB and even on the phone. Technological advances have given us gamers a variety of great choices.  There is a wide selection of games and you can even pick and choose how to play certain games.  The war of game consoles to give high definition quality, larger disk or memory capacity, cutting edge effects, louder and crisper sound effects and music, dramatic and bigger explosions, touchscreen capability, skins, etc. keep pushing the gaming industry forward.  They’re even developing technology that lets the person be the controller, if not the console itself.  Coming from playing that ping pong game on a DOS system with a green background to a very accurate first shooter sniper game – gamers have truly come a long way.

There are also different genres of games – sports, shooting, driving, fighting, combat, and my favorite: RPG – horror RPGs to be accurate.  Nothing excites me more than playing at the wee hours of the morning when I plug in the headphones, sit in the darkness with only the eerie light coming from the screen and feeling the  controller slowly vibrating as unspeakable terrors unfold right before my eyes. It’s like reading a really good, scary novel or watching a movie – but the best part is: I am part of the story.

Modern video games allow such a range of possibilities – driving recklessly in a dream sports car 160 mph with amped music, choosing to become your fave hero and save the world again and again, travelling the world as an adventurer seeking hordes of treasures, being a farmer and watching your plants grow, dancing yourself silly to the latest hip music, dodging bullets and rockets as an agent out to destroy any government you target, exploring the universe with your alien friends, commanding thousands as a Roman emperor or general set on conquering continents, being a chef, a thug, a dinosaur even a plant fighting zombies – play it by yourself or with a team.  The prospects are endless enough it can last a lifetime.

Yet like any other pastime – it’s a form of relaxation, a stress reliever.  But to be honest, when the game is new, it’s so exciting that I forget the time and I get so engrossed with everything in the game. Exciting as it is to escape into those worlds, I put the game down to play tea with my Miss Pink or share a meal or watch DVD with my family, talk nonsense with my husband, go on a tickling spree with Ms. P or simply go out and take pictures of an amazing sunset. The point is: games will undoubtedly be improved in ways I can’t even imagine, yet life still takes my breath away with simple yet important things – better than any game played or invented.

January 27, 2011 Posted by | Games, Mrs. Blue, Uncategorized | , | 2 Comments