Gaming History 101

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The Price to Play

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Video game pricing: this is a topic that sparks a lot of debate in the community. In this article I wanted to give you a brief history of video game prices in the UK while I was growing up and give my personal thoughts on the topic. Since this is quite a deep topic I’m only going to spend this article discussing new retail games.  [Editor’s Note: This article uses prices in British Pounds (£).  For reference, at time of writing £1 = $1.48]

I have been quite lucky to see the early days of video game pricing to what it has generally become today. Back in the eighties when I was a very young fellow I distinctly remember seeing ZX Spectrum games being sold for the nice low price of £2.99. This was very common with micro computers, but the ZX Spectrum by far had the cheapest and arguably the most shovel ware as a result. The Microcomputer and PC for that matter would always be cheapest place to get your retail game fix. This is of course back before the internet was even a thing, my family certainly didn’t even have the internet until the late nineties. What was commanding the high price points was the Sega Master System and Nintendo Entertainment system, games would sell between £29.99 to £49.99. Nintendo had quite the reputation for expensive pricing in the UK. What was quite interesting is the used game market wasn’t a big thing at retail at this stage. But you were able to purchase used games from market places or car boot sales along with a ton of bootleg copied Micro computer games. Once the Sega Mega Drive and Super Nintendo rolled around I started seeing games rock up to prices as high as £59.99. Nintendo once again was the main villian for these prices. While this may sound rather high we just have to deal with it. This sort of pricing became a standard affair for me, hence why my brothers and I would probabaly only purchase just one or two new games a year.

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Written by jamalais

April 7, 2015 at 1:47 pm

Posted in Blog

Tagged with ,

Localization

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Ghostbusters released on almost every platform in the 80s, but if you picked up the NES version you would be greeted with an all-too-common error: the completion screen proudly exclaims “Conglaturation!!!”  Back in the late 80s I was a mere seven when playing NES games and improper spelling or verbage was something I shrugged off as not understanding.  I never assumed the game was wrong, I just assumed that I didn’t get it.  See, back in the 80s most games were lucky to get a decent translation, let alone a full localization, and it made playing many of the Japanese games difficult.  Nowadays it’s a completely different world – pioneers like Atlas and Square Enix have full-blown localization departments that are hellbent on creating the best possible experience for a specific regional audience.  It’s more than just a translation, it’s a retooling for another culture.

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Written by Fred Rojas

December 27, 2011 at 1:01 pm