Gaming History 101

Know Your Roots

Posts Tagged ‘playstation

Podcast: Snake? Snake! Snaaake!

leave a comment »

podcast

This week Fred and Trees celebrate the release of Metal Gear Rising Revengeance with a podcast about words that don’t exist… Er, scratch that.  Instead, we discuss Hideo Kojima’s classic stealth franchise Metal Gear.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Subscribe:   RSS   iTunes   Google   Podbean

Podcast: Game Club – Crash Bandicoot

leave a comment »

Willywombat

Fred Rojas and Rob “Trees” discuss the 3rd party Playstation 1 title that basically became the mascot for Sony throughout the generation.  The sordid past and creation of the eventual bandicoot is discussed as well as the full campaign and relevance.  We also announce this month’s game club title: Ico.

Download this episode (right click and save)

Subscribe:   RSS   iTunes   Google   Podbean

Written by Fred Rojas

February 6, 2013 at 11:00 am

Podcast: Birth of the Playstation

leave a comment »

This week Fred goes solo and discusses the new format for the podcast, promises more media content on the site, and then tells the history of Sony’s famous powerhouse the Playstation, which premiered this week 17 years ago.


Download this episode (right click and save)
Visit the Podcast Site

Written by Fred Rojas

September 13, 2012 at 11:27 am

Rayman (Ubisoft)

leave a comment »

Rayman wants to be a strong classic platformer, and it’s really a shame that the steep difficulty curve will turn off even the most determined of contemporary gamers, because from an aesthetic and game design perspective this game should be appreciated.  Alas Rayman has been ported to console after console and seen commercial success, but I wonder how many people have actually experienced most of what this title has to offer.

During the mid 90s there was no shortage of consoles – both the 16-bit generation and 32-bit generation were coming to be, not to mention CD consoles –  and Rayman was caught right in the thick of it.  Not only that, but thanks to Mario and Sonic, platformers were among the highest in popularity behind fighting games.  The title began life as a brainchild of Ubisoft creative director Michel Ancel (who is also responsible for cult favorite Beyond Good & Evil) and the then struggling developer/publisher bet the house on his creation and won.  Rayman started life on the Super NES as a two-player title based on various cultural fairy tales and eventually it was decided that the game would receive a cartoon makeover with better animation and subsequent move to the Playstation CD add-on for the SNES (read that story here).  When Nintendo announced the cancellation of both the Playstation and Phillips CD projects Ubisoft wanted to move to the Jaguar thanks to its specs and eventually chose the Sony Playstation as the lead console.  As you can see, the game was already bouncing from console to console.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

April 17, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Generation Gap Pt. 4: 32-bit (with a dash of 64)

with one comment

By the time the SNES was dominating and the Sega Genesis was locked in an endless sea of add-ons to save the dying console, electronics manufacturers began to step up and create many of their own consoles.  As a result, the market was flooded with overpriced horrendous hardware.  They seemed to have everything a gamer wanted: new media format (the cheaply priced cd was preferred by developers to reduce production cost and retail price), impressive graphics and processors, and lets not forget the large numbers like “32” and “64” prominantly displayed on the startup screens.  Unfortunately they lacked one important thing: good games.  Still, that didn’t prevent many manufacturers from creating a loose version of the video game crash of 1983.  Thankfully one lone electronics company entered the foray with the next step in gaming – that company was Sony.

Electronics Companies Go Bananas (or Pre 32-bit Gaming)

JVC’s Xeye

I’m guessing somewhere around the Sega CD, boasting the ability to play your new audio CDs through your television as an added feature, electronic companies started to take notice of gaming systems.  As you guide through the progression of consoles the consumer electronics market grows stronger with gamers – let’s face it, they’re the perfect early adoptors.  Quickly companies scrambled to enter the gaming market including JVC, Phillips, Panasonic, Pioneer, Sony and even more.  Some of these companies licensed existing hardware, like JVC did with the X’Eye, a Sega Genesis/Sega CD hybrid that was re-branded with JVC’s logo.  On the other hand, Phillips, Panasonic and Pioneer – imagine keeping these companies straight as a consumer – released their own hardware with a (arguably) library of games.  In the end, they all sucked and had ridiculous price tags pushing back the concept of consumer electronics meeting gaming for at least another six years.  Below are the early disc-based consoles that failed so horribly.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

November 21, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Now & Then: Resident Evil 3 Nemesis

with 2 comments

Now & Then is different from both a retrospective and a review.  It tackles games you probably already know and is a place for gamers to discuss these games.  Below is an overview of a game’s presence in the market then and now.  Authors of these articles share their personal experience, so we encourage all of you to do the same in the comments.

Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (RE3) gets the worst treatment within the series because it was released on the tail end of the Playstation cycle and as the third release in as many years (most people remember RE‘s re-release, the Director’s Cut, more than the initial release), there really wasn’t that much new brought to the table.  Having said that, it was the most polished title on the Playstation and finally made the concept attempted in RE2 a reality.  With a few slight tweaks, like the ability to flip a quick 180 and a much more agile Jill Valentine, RE3 felt a lot more like games of the time.  Unfortunately with the diluting of the franchise via frequent releases and the fact that the game looked identical to the first two on the box, it just didn’t hold players’ interest.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

October 26, 2011 at 12:19 pm

Now & Then: Resident Evil 2

leave a comment »

Now & Then is different from both a retrospective and a review.  It tackles games you probably already know and is a place for gamers to discuss these games.  Below is an overview of a game’s presence in the market then and now.  Authors of these articles share their personal experience, so we encourage all of you to do the same in the comments.

Resident Evil 2 (RE2) hit the market with a steep price; like other series favorite RE4, this title was scrapped and redone after it was more than 60 percent complete.  In order to keep hype and demand strong for the series after the extremely popular original, the sequel began production one month after the release of Resident Evil.  This first version, dubbed Resident Evil 1.5 by Capcom when production stills and videos released, featured a similar plot without crisscrossing paths.  Leon was still the male protagonist and Elza, a motorcyclist college student, as an early version of what would eventually become Claire Redfield.  Graphically the game was much uglier, looking the same (or worse) than the original, but only so that more zombies could appear on-screen.  In 1.5 Umbrella had already closed down, the outbreak still occurred, and the police station looked a lot more modern.  Players could equip different clothing, which changed their appearance (as did combat damage).  There were also many more survivors for players to encounter along the way, some of which played new roles in the final version of RE2.  Producer Shinji Mikami scrapped the project when it was near beta (60-80 percent completion) because he found gameplay and locations to be “dull and boring”¹.  Originally the series was supposed to end with the sequel, but supervisor Yoshiki Okamoto wanted a more open-ended series.  As a result Elza became Claire Redfield to connect to the first game and the plot was made more big budget movie style to get Capcom to the 2 million copy sales goal.  Graphics were updated, adding more polygons to each character, and items were made much more scarce to increase tension and fear.  Since it would miss the planned early 1997 release date, the Resident Evil: Director’s Cut and Complete Edition were released instead and included a demo of RE2.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

October 25, 2011 at 10:12 am

Now & Then: Resident Evil

leave a comment »

Now & Then is different from both a retrospective and a review.  It tackles games you probably already know and is a place for gamers to discuss these games.  Below is an overview of a game’s presence in the market then and now.  Authors of these articles share their personal experience, so we encourage all of you to do the same in the comments.

“You have once again entered the world of survival horror…”

Those famous words set up a genre that has undergone more definitions than probably any other in video games.  Depending on your personal taste in titles, survival horror can mean different things but it was used first and defined by Resident Evil¹.  This game was basically a haunted house brought to life and has spawned a series that many gamers, myself included, follow endlessly.  Despite the direction of the series not holding well with fans of the originals and a slew of poorly made films, Resident Evil lingers on, if only in our nostalgic minds.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

October 24, 2011 at 11:14 am

Revisionist History

leave a comment »

March 16, 2010 was an important day for Playstation manufacturer and video game publisher Sony Computer Entertainment.  It marked the release of God of War III, a technological stunner that promised to be every bit as fun as it was beautiful.  Not only was God of War significant for being the third in the series (and subsequent end to the second title’s cliffhanger), but it was to be the first outing for Kratos on the Playstation 3 console.  God of War II had been slated for the PS3 at one point in development, but Sony opted to keep the title on PS2, marking it as one of the best titles on that console and a fitting end to usher in the PS3.  There was just one big problem.

God of War Collection PS3

Starting in November, 2007, the Playstation 3 consoles had removed backwards compatibility with Playstation 2 titles, rendering them unable to play God of War or God of War II.  When the decision was made to put God of War II on PS2, it was always thought that new PS3 buyers would be able to use this feature to replay the previous titles.  In an era where storylines are significant and a series like God of War required you to know the storyline of the previous titles to understand the current one, Sony was in trouble.  Fortunately a long rumored concept ended up coming to pass – a high definition remake of the first two games on one PS3 compatible blu ray, and at half the price of a contemporary release.  In November of 2009 the God of War Collection was released to masses, an impressive appetizer to the third iteration, which still loomed more than four months away.  Not only that, but it was a great deal, amassing an impressive 1 million+ sales to date and a solid holiday season.  Not bad for two titles that had released a generation ago.  At $30 apiece gamers (myself included) ate it up and IGN’s Chris Roper even declared it the “definitive way to play the game” (guessing he meant games) in his review.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Fred Rojas

October 19, 2011 at 10:56 pm