I can picture it now – teenage boys all over the world have spent the last few months counting down the days until launch, craning necks around a huddle trying to catch a glimpse of the demo model in store, leaving catalogues around the house open on the right page so their mums know EXACTLY what to get…. Yes, the Sony Playstation 4 has dropped … right in time for Christmas.
The PS4 is undoubtedly Sony’s most advanced console yet, with redesigned control pads, improved operating interface, and yet more online capabilities. Gameplay is crystal clear, super fast and smooth as glass. Although clearly designed to compete fiercely with arch-rival Xbox One, there are some clear differences in strategy. While Xbox have focused on voice and motion user control, PS4 are sticking to traditional gamer-pad relationships. Personally, I prefer to sit motionless in total silence, channelling all energy into the pad, rather than be seen through the curtains flapping and gesticulating wildly whilst shouting random commands towards the TV.
And yet every time a new, more advanced, more impressive, more hi-tech games console is released I can’t help but feel a pang for the games I played as a teenager. Playing a video game in the 80’s and 90’s was almost ritualistic…. blowing the dust out of the cassette and the drive, fiddling with a tangle of RGB and SCART cables in the back of the telly, unwrapping the pad from it’s neatly curled wire and sitting poised while the game loads… not to mention the delightful torture of getting a new game on Christmas day and enduring hours of television until your family fell asleep and you could commandeer control of the remote.
And so, whilst teenage boys across the world continue to hope for a PS4 beneath the tree next week, we at ConSol Partners will be writing to Santa for some of the following classics…
1. Have you Played your Atari Today?
Launched in 1977, the Atari 2600 is undoubtedly the daddy of all games consoles as we know them. The better the game, the more bleepy the soundtrack, characteristically becoming faster as the levels advance. With classics like PacMan, Space Invaders and Street Racer still recreated today on modern devices, the spirit of Atari lives on.
2. ZX Spectrum – The “Speccy”
Affectionately named the “Speccy”, the ZX Spectrum hit homes in 1982 with its sticky rubber keys and Rainbow motif, a nostalgic beacon breaking up the bleakness of a decade most would rather forget. They revolutionised home gaming with more advanced games than ever before including “Sim City”, “Football Manager” and “The Hobbit”, as well as some more obscure titles like “Granny’s Garden” , “Battle of the Toothpaste Tubes” and “Bored of the Rings”.
3. Sega Megadrive – All Systems, Full Power!
Home to Sonic the Hedgehog, possibly the most exciting platform adventure game ever created, the Sega Megadrive holds a special spot in the hearts of most 90s gamers. Although the 1988 launch coincided with competitor Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros 3, Sonic has stood the test of time as Sega’s ambassador in much the same was as Mario has for Nintendo. Originally proposed as an Armadillo, Sonic was designed in the same cobalt blue as Sega’s logo, with boots modelled on Michael Jackson’s 1987 albumBadand a “can do” attitude based on Bill Clinton.
4. Wild Gameboy Appeared!
First released in 1989, the Nintendo Gameboy dominated the 90’s handled-gaming market. In the days before kids played music on their phones out loud on public transport, they bleeped and tapped furiously on Gameboys. And who can blame them? With classics including the Pokemon series, Super Mario and super-retro Tetris, the Gameboy has to be, without doubt, the best travel companion EVER.
5. The SNES – Now you’re Playing with Power, SUPER Power!
Nicknamed the “SNES” , the Super Nintendo Entertainment System was released in 1992 as a follow-up to the “Nintendo Entertainment System” (NES). Offering an all-round more “Super” gaming experience, the NES & SNES first brought Mario and his cronies to homes across the planet in a vicious battle for gamers against their nemesis, the Sega Megadrive.
6. It’s-a-me, Nintendo 64!
Named after its at-the-time super advanced 64-bit CPU, the 1996 Nintendo 64 remains popular despite advancing technology. Owning an N64 today instills the same jealousy in your friends as it did when you were teenagers. Classics such as Super Mario, Mario Kart, Donkey Kong and Zelda are still re-invented on modern Nintendo consoles, whereas hardcore N-64ers are still today blowing the dust out of 007 Golden Eye, Perfect Dark and Mortal Kombat.
7. Playstation – HADOUKEN!
The most nostalgia-inducing console for me, and with an unbelievable catalogue of games, the first generation PlayStation was launched in 1994 and has been a market leader ever since. I can’t pick a stand-out favourite for this, so I’m just going to list awesome Playstation 1 games. This can also be read as a wish-list, which I will be forwarding to Santa. Reminisce at your own leisure.
Crash Bandicoot & Crash Team Racing
Spyro the Dragon
Grand Theft Auto
Metal Gear Solid
8. Nintendo GameCube – Choose your Character!
Available from November 2001, the GameCube was the first console to use characteristic mini optical discs. This console split opinion in the market, but I’m a big fan. Many an hour has been spent both as child and adult tearing around courses on Mario Cart, sneaking around frantically on TimeSplitters and arguing over characters on Super Smash Bros. The best thing about the GameCube? 4 controller sockets equals halved waiting time for your turn!
Despite the awe-inducing advancement of technology in modern games consoles such as the Xbox One and Playstation 4, the truth remains that a great game is defined in its concept as much in its execution. The simplicity of platform, adventure and racing games over the years is what makes them enjoyable, and always better fun with friends. Interestingly, social capabilities driven by online connectivity continue to drive the advancement of consoles as much as the tech-spec itself, and I believe this will be more important in the long-term than features such as voice control and ergonomic design.
From ConSol Partners
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