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    Default The Console Time Capsule(Retrospect of earlier gaming consoles)

    The Console Time Capsule

    From Gameinformer


    We all have (mostly) fond memories of console launches and the excitement of those early days. The sexy new graphics. The new batch of games. The untold possibilities. A handful of Game Informer editors jotted down some of their memories about those heady times.

    Atari 2600

    Okay, I can't say I was actually that cognizant when the Atari VCS (as it was called when it launched) actually came out in 1977 since I was two years old, but I do remember the early era of home video games quite well. My dad had one of those early Pong players, and the leap forward to being able to switch game carts with the VCS was significant.

    It's easy to laugh at a launch game like Combat or Indy 500, but the variety of game boards and combat types – including jet fighters – it offered was mind-blowing. And to think that the game also had options like invisibility, guided missiles, different plane types (like the bomber), and more. We didn't have fun with the game simply because there was nothing else to play on the system, but because it was a great game. It was also nice to be able to sit next to your friend and experience some heated multiplayer with the system – which is all you can do in Combat anyway!

    Also, it sounds like a small thing, but I can't tell you what a great impression even the games' box art made on me. The standardized format and hand-drawn artwork really jumped out and incited my imagination even if they had nothing to do with the actual look of the games. – Matthew Kato

    ColecoVision


    You'll have to forgive me if any of the details of this piece are foggy. I was very young when I first saw the ColecoVision. I already had an Atari 2600. I was young enough and video games were new enough that I loved it – even the version of Pac-Man that everyone hates. I really had no critical eye for games at this point, and no real point of reference to another home system. I grew up on a farm, so I was lucky to make it to an arcade a few times a year when we went shopping in a larger town. Sure, my Atari didn't exactly match the odd arcade units I'd played, but it was good enough for me.

    Or at least it was, until my friend Ben got a ColecoVision. He had me over for a sleepover, and showed me his new system. He had the much-vaunted ColecoVision version of Donkey Kong and Space Invaders. I was blown away. To my eyes, they looked nearly identical to arcade games, and far surpassed my Atari 2600. After dinner, we spent the whole night playing it obsessively, until Ben's mom declared lights out. I hadn't had my fill. I actually creeped out of the bunk bed, down to the living room, and started an after-midnight marathon of Space Invaders. Ben's mom heard something, walked down the stairs to investigate, and caught me playing. She told me to get back to bed, ending my fun. Years later, she joked to me at Ben's wedding that she always remembered that night, and thought it probably led me down the path to the job I have today. She might be right.Matt Helgeson

    3DO


    I was working in the electronics department of a big-box store the fall that 3DO arrived. I’d been devouring information on the console for months, and I was absolutely giddy when we finally got our shipment. This was going to change everything! Multimedia was the future! Spending $699 on an unproven game system was a wise use of money! I told myself these things and more in the hours leading up to store close, when we could unbox and set up our display unit.

    Once it flickered into life, it was pretty clear that I was going to have to find other uses for my $700. The games were OK, but the controller was completely awful. All right. I lied a bit there. The launch titles were nice to look at, but it was clear that the actual games behind the shiny veneer weren’t much of an improvement over the crap I’d chosen not to play on the Sega CD. It was also clear that I wasn’t alone in my summation, as customers filed past the system in the next few weeks and continued walking. I remember the most popular game in the demo wasn’t even a game – it was an episode of Batman: The Animated Series with Mr. Freeze. Parents would drop their kids off in our department while they did their grocery shopping, and that Batman cartoon was as good a babysitter as anything.

    Years later, a neighbor who I hardly knew was moving out of his nearby apartment. “You like video games, right?” he asked. He returned with a heavy paper sack. “Here.” Inside was a 3DO. Oh, how the not-quite-mighty have fallen. – Jeff Cork

    Sega Genesis

    I really feel for console warriors today, because I’m a veteran of some of gaming’s early battles. As a die-hard NES fan, I remember becoming increasingly distressed at all the magazine coverage regarding this new Sega Genesis thing. My younger brother had a Sega Master System, so I was familiar with Sega. That familiarity actually made me even more skeptical of this 16-bit console. And then I went and played the damned thing.

    As much as I loved the NES, it was becoming clearer that the hardware wasn’t exactly up to arcade quality. Sprites were comparatively tiny when put next to their quarter-munching cousins, and levels, graphical effects, and entire gameplay mechanics were excised when arcade games were shrunk into NES carts. The Genesis wasn’t quite 100 percent arcade perfect, but it was a huge leap forward in accuracy.

    I played Altered Beast and Golden Axe in the lobby whenever I went to the movie theater, and now I could actually play pretty decent translations of those games at home – with scratchy speech and everything! Even Alex Kidd was there, one of the few elements of the Master System that I actually cared about.

    I continued to play my NES, but Nintendo didn’t quite have the same hold on me after I clicked the Genesis’ power slider to the ON position. Until the SNES came out, that is, but that’s a whole different story. – Jeff Cork

    Super Nintendo



    On the day the Super Nintendo released, I had to break up a fight between two of my friends – one was a Sega Genesis fanatic, the other subscribed exclusively to the Nintendo religion. Their exchanging of blows came from their heated debate over whether the Super Nintendo was a better machine than the Genesis. I remember the dialogue that led to the first punch being thrown. My friend in Nintendo's corner said, "The Genesis can only display 512 colors. The Super Nintendo has, like, 50 times that. The Genesis isn't even in the same [expletive] league!" While my Genesis friend won the fisticuffs that day, I felt that the Super Nintendo ended up winning that console battle. Both systems offered great games, but the Super Nintendo was the hotbed for role-playing games, and I ate most of them up.

    Titles like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy III, Secret of Mana, and Shadowrun became obsessions for me, and still rank among my favorite games of all time. The Super Nintendo was the first system that really started to show me that game stories mattered and that I could have emotional connections to my characters. In my mind, the Super Nintendo was the role-playing machine. It set the foundation for that genre.
    The Super Nintendo was also a great machine for franchises that made the leap from the NES to the next generation. Super Mario World remains one of Mario's best titles, Super Metroid is one of the greatest adventure games to date, and juggernaut third-party franchises like Castlevania and Mega Man returned with amazing sequels.

    From Mode 7 effects to the FX chip experimentation, this system always seemed to be on the cutting edge at the time. It had the games. It had the tech. And it's still my favorite system. The Xbox 360 and its amazing social options are running a close second at this point, but when it comes to games, no library comes close to touching Super Nintendo's. – Andrew Reiner

    Dreamcast



    It all started with NFL 2K. My almost legendary love affair with Sega’s swansong, the Dreamcast, was anything but in the weeks leading up to its American launch. Yeah, I had heard about the system, but the way Sega handled the transition from Genesis to Saturn left me wary it could stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Sony or Nintendo (or Microsoft for that matter).

    My doubts seemingly evaporated in an instant, however, when I finally laid my eyes on some video of one of the Dreamcast’s launch titles – NFL2K. Years of disregard and disillusion towards Sonic’s parent company were swept away in a matter of minutes. The game was gorgeous; leaps and bounds better than anything seen on PlayStation or the N64. While it sounds ridiculous to say nowadays – the players looked and moved with such life-like fluidity and detail that I swore I was watching a live NFL broadcast. It was amazing, it was captivating, and by the time the video was done playing I knew only one absolute: it had to be mine.

    I’ve never been one who runs out and buys a system on day one. Paltry software, unproven support, and a high barrier of entry are usually just some of the many hurdles I’d rather not contend with, but 9-9-99 changed all of that in one fell swoop. A Dreamcast, along with NFL2K, Soul Calibur, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, and NFL Blitz 2000 were welcomed into my home that venerable Thursday. It was, and still is, one of my greatest days as a gamer. – Game Informer creative director Jeff Akervik

    PlayStation 2


    Game Informer actually sent me to Japan for the launch of the system in the country before it was available in the U.S. This wasn't just for fun – I was expected to return with the console and its launch titles in tow.
    Unfortunately, retailers in Akihabara weren't taking pre-orders for the system itself – just the software – so I had to get in line at a store. I got in line relatively late considering people before me had already staked their place in line days prior – and it was only with a little luck that I actually got my hands on a PS2. The store moved its waiting line to the side alley where I happened to be standing, screwing all those already in line way up at the front. I don't feel that bad, however, as the alternative was that I'd probably would have come back empty handed and gotten fired.

    Even though I had gotten lucky in respect to where I was in the line, I still had to wait through the night by myself. Fortunately, I quickly figured out that it was kosher to get out of line to go to the bathroom (in a nearby alley, no less). I had actually prepared for the alternative. In my hotel room before I went to Akihabara to get in line, I practiced urinating in an empty pop bottle with my coat covering my waist just in case it came to that. Thankfully it didn't.

    Unfortunately when it came to the games themselves, this was a launch that typifies many systems – I wanted to be having more fun than I actually was. I remember having some good times with Kessen and Madden, but it didn't take long for the bloom to wear off. It probably didn't help that among the launch titles you had a bunch of stuff that was probably better suited to the Japanese launch like Fantavision, Summoner, GunGriffon Blaze, etc. In fact, this was probably the last time that a U.S. launch would feature so many Japanese titles. – Matthew Kato
    Last edited by Trave160; December 28th, 2011 at 19:02.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trave160 View Post
    The Console Time Capsule

    From Gameinformer


    We all have (mostly) fond memories of console launches and the excitement of those early days. The sexy new graphics. The new batch of games. The untold possibilities. A handful of Game Informer editors jotted down some of their memories about those heady times.

    Atari 2600

    Okay, I can't say I was actually that cognizant when the Atari VCS (as it was called when it launched) actually came out in 1977 since I was two years old, but I do remember the early era of home video games quite well. My dad had one of those early Pong players, and the leap forward to being able to switch game carts with the VCS was significant.

    It's easy to laugh at a launch game like Combat or Indy 500, but the variety of game boards and combat types – including jet fighters – it offered was mind-blowing. And to think that the game also had options like invisibility, guided missiles, different plane types (like the bomber), and more. We didn't have fun with the game simply because there was nothing else to play on the system, but because it was a great game. It was also nice to be able to sit next to your friend and experience some heated multiplayer with the system – which is all you can do in Combat anyway!

    Also, it sounds like a small thing, but I can't tell you what a great impression even the games' box art made on me. The standardized format and hand-drawn artwork really jumped out and incited my imagination even if they had nothing to do with the actual look of the games. – Matthew Kato

    ColecoVision


    You'll have to forgive me if any of the details of this piece are foggy. I was very young when I first saw the ColecoVision. I already had an Atari 2600. I was young enough and video games were new enough that I loved it – even the version of Pac-Man that everyone hates. I really had no critical eye for games at this point, and no real point of reference to another home system. I grew up on a farm, so I was lucky to make it to an arcade a few times a year when we went shopping in a larger town. Sure, my Atari didn't exactly match the odd arcade units I'd played, but it was good enough for me.

    Or at least it was, until my friend Ben got a ColecoVision. He had me over for a sleepover, and showed me his new system. He had the much-vaunted ColecoVision version of Donkey Kong and Space Invaders. I was blown away. To my eyes, they looked nearly identical to arcade games, and far surpassed my Atari 2600. After dinner, we spent the whole night playing it obsessively, until Ben's mom declared lights out. I hadn't had my fill. I actually creeped out of the bunk bed, down to the living room, and started an after-midnight marathon of Space Invaders. Ben's mom heard something, walked down the stairs to investigate, and caught me playing. She told me to get back to bed, ending my fun. Years later, she joked to me at Ben's wedding that she always remembered that night, and thought it probably led me down the path to the job I have today. She might be right.Matt Helgeson

    3DO


    I was working in the electronics department of a big-box store the fall that 3DO arrived. I’d been devouring information on the console for months, and I was absolutely giddy when we finally got our shipment. This was going to change everything! Multimedia was the future! Spending $699 on an unproven game system was a wise use of money! I told myself these things and more in the hours leading up to store close, when we could unbox and set up our display unit.

    Once it flickered into life, it was pretty clear that I was going to have to find other uses for my $700. The games were OK, but the controller was completely awful. All right. I lied a bit there. The launch titles were nice to look at, but it was clear that the actual games behind the shiny veneer weren’t much of an improvement over the crap I’d chosen not to play on the Sega CD. It was also clear that I wasn’t alone in my summation, as customers filed past the system in the next few weeks and continued walking. I remember the most popular game in the demo wasn’t even a game – it was an episode of Batman: The Animated Series with Mr. Freeze. Parents would drop their kids off in our department while they did their grocery shopping, and that Batman cartoon was as good a babysitter as anything.

    Years later, a neighbor who I hardly knew was moving out of his nearby apartment. “You like video games, right?” he asked. He returned with a heavy paper sack. “Here.” Inside was a 3DO. Oh, how the not-quite-mighty have fallen. – Jeff Cork

    Sega Genesis

    I really feel for console warriors today, because I’m a veteran of some of gaming’s early battles. As a die-hard NES fan, I remember becoming increasingly distressed at all the magazine coverage regarding this new Sega Genesis thing. My younger brother had a Sega Master System, so I was familiar with Sega. That familiarity actually made me even more skeptical of this 16-bit console. And then I went and played the damned thing.

    As much as I loved the NES, it was becoming clearer that the hardware wasn’t exactly up to arcade quality. Sprites were comparatively tiny when put next to their quarter-munching cousins, and levels, graphical effects, and entire gameplay mechanics were excised when arcade games were shrunk into NES carts. The Genesis wasn’t quite 100 percent arcade perfect, but it was a huge leap forward in accuracy.

    I played Altered Beast and Golden Axe in the lobby whenever I went to the movie theater, and now I could actually play pretty decent translations of those games at home – with scratchy speech and everything! Even Alex Kidd was there, one of the few elements of the Master System that I actually cared about.

    I continued to play my NES, but Nintendo didn’t quite have the same hold on me after I clicked the Genesis’ power slider to the ON position. Until the SNES came out, that is, but that’s a whole different story. – Jeff Cork

    Super Nintendo



    On the day the Super Nintendo released, I had to break up a fight between two of my friends – one was a Sega Genesis fanatic, the other subscribed exclusively to the Nintendo religion. Their exchanging of blows came from their heated debate over whether the Super Nintendo was a better machine than the Genesis. I remember the dialogue that led to the first punch being thrown. My friend in Nintendo's corner said, "The Genesis can only display 512 colors. The Super Nintendo has, like, 50 times that. The Genesis isn't even in the same [expletive] league!" While my Genesis friend won the fisticuffs that day, I felt that the Super Nintendo ended up winning that console battle. Both systems offered great games, but the Super Nintendo was the hotbed for role-playing games, and I ate most of them up.

    Titles like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy III, Secret of Mana, and Shadowrun became obsessions for me, and still rank among my favorite games of all time. The Super Nintendo was the first system that really started to show me that game stories mattered and that I could have emotional connections to my characters. In my mind, the Super Nintendo was the role-playing machine. It set the foundation for that genre.
    The Super Nintendo was also a great machine for franchises that made the leap from the NES to the next generation. Super Mario World remains one of Mario's best titles, Super Metroid is one of the greatest adventure games to date, and juggernaut third-party franchises like Castlevania and Mega Man returned with amazing sequels.

    From Mode 7 effects to the FX chip experimentation, this system always seemed to be on the cutting edge at the time. It had the games. It had the tech. And it's still my favorite system. The Xbox 360 and its amazing social options are running a close second at this point, but when it comes to games, no library comes close to touching Super Nintendo's. – Andrew Reiner

    Dreamcast



    It all started with NFL 2K. My almost legendary love affair with Sega’s swansong, the Dreamcast, was anything but in the weeks leading up to its American launch. Yeah, I had heard about the system, but the way Sega handled the transition from Genesis to Saturn left me wary it could stand toe-to-toe with the likes of Sony or Nintendo (or Microsoft for that matter).

    My doubts seemingly evaporated in an instant, however, when I finally laid my eyes on some video of one of the Dreamcast’s launch titles – NFL2K. Years of disregard and disillusion towards Sonic’s parent company were swept away in a matter of minutes. The game was gorgeous; leaps and bounds better than anything seen on PlayStation or the N64. While it sounds ridiculous to say nowadays – the players looked and moved with such life-like fluidity and detail that I swore I was watching a live NFL broadcast. It was amazing, it was captivating, and by the time the video was done playing I knew only one absolute: it had to be mine.

    I’ve never been one who runs out and buys a system on day one. Paltry software, unproven support, and a high barrier of entry are usually just some of the many hurdles I’d rather not contend with, but 9-9-99 changed all of that in one fell swoop. A Dreamcast, along with NFL2K, Soul Calibur, Ready 2 Rumble Boxing, and NFL Blitz 2000 were welcomed into my home that venerable Thursday. It was, and still is, one of my greatest days as a gamer. – Game Informer creative director Jeff Akervik

    PlayStation 2


    Game Informer actually sent me to Japan for the launch of the system in the country before it was available in the U.S. This wasn't just for fun – I was expected to return with the console and its launch titles in tow.
    Unfortunately, retailers in Akihabara weren't taking pre-orders for the system itself – just the software – so I had to get in line at a store. I got in line relatively late considering people before me had already staked their place in line days prior – and it was only with a little luck that I actually got my hands on a PS2. The store moved its waiting line to the side alley where I happened to be standing, screwing all those already in line way up at the front. I don't feel that bad, however, as the alternative was that I'd probably would have come back empty handed and gotten fired.

    Even though I had gotten lucky in respect to where I was in the line, I still had to wait through the night by myself. Fortunately, I quickly figured out that it was kosher to get out of line to go to the bathroom (in a nearby alley, no less). I had actually prepared for the alternative. In my hotel room before I went to Akihabara to get in line, I practiced urinating in an empty pop bottle with my coat covering my waist just in case it came to that. Thankfully it didn't.

    Unfortunately when it came to the games themselves, this was a launch that typifies many systems – I wanted to be having more fun than I actually was. I remember having some good times with Kessen and Madden, but it didn't take long for the bloom to wear off. It probably didn't help that among the launch titles you had a bunch of stuff that was probably better suited to the Japanese launch like Fantavision, Summoner, GunGriffon Blaze, etc. In fact, this was probably the last time that a U.S. launch would feature so many Japanese titles. – Matthew Kato
    The PS1,PS2 and Super Nintendo are Legendary even though i didnt play the PS1 or Super Nintendo i had to play through an Emulator, I played Super Mario 64 for Super Nintendo,it was really a great game and really fun and non-competitive like it is now with every game.

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