Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Video Game History (1980s to 1990s)

1980 saw the release of Unix which developed Dungeon and DnD, the first of many role playing games. This was also the year intellivision came out. It had superior graphics to the atari 2600 which soared to success. 1980 also so the most successful game of all time released. Namco designer Moru Iwatani decided he was fed up with the generic shoot-em-ups and wanted to make a game that everyone could enjoy. Inspired by a Japanese folk hero 'Paku', he had the idea of a pizza with a slice missing going around eating other food. Instead of a pizza a yellow circle was used because of the graphical restraints of the time. It was renamed Pac-Man because of the change that could be made to the name. It was released in Japan and became a massive hit and was later released in North America by bally/midway and also became a massive success. It also became the first game to release merchandise including t-shirts, mugs and lunch boxes. In 1982 Mrs. Pac-Man was released to encourage women to get an interest in games.

Also in 1980, Nintendo released Game & Watch handheld gaming line. This encouraged other companies to release their own handheld video game consoles. 

By 1981, the arcade game industry was generating an annual $5 billion. In 1982 that peaked to $8 billion. This generated more money than pop music and Hollywood films combined. It also generated twice as much money as the home video games industry. Also in this year Donkey Kong was released. Created by Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto, it was the first true platformer game which allowed you to jump over obstacles and across gaps.

1982 saw the release of the most influential scrolling shooters, Xevious. Pole Position was also released in this year and used the style of a horizon view behind the vehicle which is used in almost all racing games today.

1983 was the year Mario Bros was released. Again developed by Shigeru Miyamoto, laid down foundations for future two-player platformers. At the end of 1983 and early 1984 saw the video game crash that was more severe than the 1977 crash. Many companies went bankrupt and reportedly Atari buried thousands of cartridges in a landfill because they had so many left.

In 1984, Karateka was a beat 'em up game which had advanced rotoscoped animation. Kung-Fu Master, based on a Hong Kong film laid foundations for side-scrolling beat 'em ups. David Braben and Ian Bell created Elite. A vehicle simulation game introduced the age of modern 3D graphics. The NES Zapper was the first mainstream light gun which came packaged with Duck Hunt in this year.

1985 was the year Dragon Slayer II: Xanadu was released and is considered to be the first fully-fledged action role-playing game with character stats and large quests it set itself apart from the RPG genre. Super Mario Bros was also released this year. Famicom (NES outside Japan) was released this year and revived the video game market in North America. It was the dominating console right up to the 1990s when the next generation consoles were released.

1986 saw the release of The Legend of Zelda. Released by Nintendo, this series of games defined action adventure games. It took ideas from other genres of games to create a hybrid game with puzzles, action, adventure and RPG elements. This is also an early example of open world gameplay and introduced back up saving. Dragon Warrior (later renamed Dragon Quest) was one of the earliest console role-playing games. It set the template for future RPG games and inspired other game companies to create their own series. Metroid, also released by Nintendo, was the earliest game to add elements in platform games and action-adventure games. It also had elements from RPGS where you could explore the level freely and accessing new areas through items or abilities.

In 1987 Maniac Mansion removed text inputs for adventure games. LucasArts built the SCUMM system which allowed a point-and-click interface. Sega released Phantasy Star and Square released Final Fantasy. Both RPG games generated successful sequels even today. Final Fantasy used a side-view turn based battled system which was used in most future RPG games. Phantasy Star and Megami Tensei used a modern/futuristic setting to stand out from the medieval setting that other RPGs used. Street Fighter, released by Capcom, introduced the use of special moves in the fighting game genre. Metal Gear, developed by Hideo Kojima, was also released and became the first successful stealth game which enabled the Metal Gear series to continue.

1989 saw the release of Prince of Persia and became the first cinematic platformer. Herzog Zwei was also released this year and was considered to be the first real-time strategy game. SimCity was released this year and would later become one of the few games to have an almost 50-50 ratio of males and females playing it.

1990 saw the decade that defined 3D graphics in video games. It gave rise to first-person shooters real-time strategy games and massive multiplayer online games. Handheld consoles also started to become more popular thanks in part to Game Boy. MUD codebases DikuMUD and LPMud were released and helped develop MMORPGs(Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) which lead to the release of games such as Ultima Online and Everquest.

In 1991, Sonic the Hedgehog was introduced. It caused Sega's Mega Drive console to gain mainstream popularity and became the rival of Mario, Nintendo's series. Sonic became the face of Sega and is one of the most recognized video game characters to date.

1992 was the year Dune II was released which helped develop later RTS games to a standard which would become massive hits. Alone in the Dark was released this year and became a very popular survival horror. Mortal Kombat was first released this year on SNES and Genesis and became very successful. The release of this and Street Fighter II helped revive the dying arcade scene. This didn't last long and many arcades were force to close down.

1993 is the year Myst was released. It inspired a new type of puzzle-adventure games and was one of the first games to utilize the full potential of the CD-ROM storage. Atari re-entered the market with Atari Jaguar. It didn't sell very well and eventually stopped being produced.

1995 saw the release of PlayStation and Sega Saturn in North America. Playstation sold out compared to its rivals apart from Nintendo's SNES which was still getting games released on it despite it being an aging console.

In 1996, 3dfx Interactive released Voodoo chipset. This lead to the first affordable 3D accelerator cards or graphics cards for the personal computers. This lead to more detailed 3D games and one of the first games to take advantage of this was Quake. Quake also utilized the use of internet to play with other people. This became a requirement in FPS games for the PC. Other genres started to use this feature including Blizzard's Warcraft and Starcraft. Resident Evil was released this year and became the first well known survival horror game. It's considered one of the best games for Playstation as it sold so well.

1997 saw the release of GoldenEye 007. It was critically acclaimed for innovation for being a console exclusive game. It also introduced scopes, headshots and objective mission which became standard in later similar games. Final Fantasy VII was released this year on CD. Square had decided to move from Nintendo to Playstation because Nintendo decided not to use CD which seemed to have bad side effects such as this.

1998 saw Z-targeting being used for the first time in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Dreamcast was released this year which opened the sixth generation consoles. It was the first console to have a built in modem and though it was successful when it was released it quickly died off with Sega's poor reputation and the anticipation of the Playstation 2. Dreamcast became Sega's final console.

This era of games history was a big leap into 3D. It also saw the console wars begin and the massive push to advertise consoles with flagship titles. It also so the decline of arcades but introduced a much bigger variety of games including PC games. The major games companies had their mascots, the faces that would connect with the consumer and see massive success for these companies. The rapid development of how games were made and looked really showed how much the games industry had become so big and how much money they had to use to be able to develop further.

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