Saturday, February 16, 2008

Video Game Console Commercials: Then and Now

Ahh the Atari 5200 "super" system, the first console I ever owned. Sure I played the 2600 but even as a wee lad I knew 5200 was higher than 2600 which could only mean one thing...more power!
I began my addiction at a young age playing such master pieces as Pac Man, The Dreadnaught Factor, Pole Position, Congo Bongo, joust and others. After seeing a commercial like the one below I have the urge to try hooking up my 5200 right now!

Bow your heads people, it's the NES! I don't know how Atari dropped the ball but thankfully the Nintendo Entertainment System revived the gaming industry...but it had help! Help from a little robot named Rob...he had your back when the going got tough Rob...uhh...well I don't really recall what the hell the stupid robot did.
Compared to todays system launches this little grey box came with all the fixin's! The console, 2 controllers, Rob, the Zapper, and 2 games! My friend CJ was the first kid in my neighborhood to own this marvel of technological goodness....8 bits of unbridled processing power! Holy Moses!! I remember wasting hours at his place playing Super Mario Bro's, the graphics had us glued to the TV. In the years that past I got to know Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Simon Belmont, Megaman, Golgo 13, the Vic Viper, Athena, the Contra bros., Soda Popinski, and many more.

After playing The NES till I was out of breath...if your old enough you know what I mean. I was hooked on Video Games again like a crack fiend! I had power....Nintendo power that is and when 8 bits became passe I heard rumblings of even greater power...16 bits of power. Jumpin Jehovas witnesses that was double the power, my mind couldn't concieve of such supernes.
Times they were a changin and now Sega had a console on the market, the Genesis. I remember seeing it at Toys R Us with a demo of Altered Beast, the game had real speach, my God what was next games on compact disks???!!! As I grew older, my addiction worsened I began going into the local game store and reading articles...there was no going back. Like the good crack addict I was, I waited to see what Nintendo's new system had and when I saw that little Italian plummer riding a dinosaur and sporting a cape my mind was made up, I needed SUPER power. And thus my third console was the Super Nintendo Entertainment System....

As the saying goes, all good things come to an end...
When I think back the SNES was honestly an amazing system, the sheer improvement of the games graphically, the audio, the size was memorable. I owned so many amazing titles on the SNES; Super Mario World, Super Mario Kart, Gradius III, Street Fighter II/ CE, CastleVania III, Act Raiser, and many more. Sega was already pushing ahead with their next console, the 32 bit Saturn and the industry was moving with them. Months passed and finally the folks at Nintendo announced the Ultra 64. I couldn't wait to find out more, but regrettibly we all did...wait, and wait and wait....
The Sega Saturn launched and many people who were waiting for Nintendo's next great console jumped ship and bought the Saturn, I waited some more. Soon a new player entered the ring Sony, and they also had a 32 bit console, the Playstation. I had seen the system displayed in store's all over, showcasing Battle Arena Toshinden a 3D fighter as well as Destruction Derby the graphics weren't as crisp and clean as some scans I'd seen of the next Mario title but the games looked fresh and fun. Then one day, without warning I made an implus purchase at a Kaybee toy store, I bought a Playstation....the Ultra 64 didn't come out till a year after I bought the Playstation. Sony was new to the video game world but they were determined and by the second year Sony had become a force to be reconed with in the console business....times were once again changing.

I admit I bought the PS1 on a whim, but I was not e ! The first game I bought for the PS1 was Akklaim's Alien Trilogy, a FPS that was scary as hell, the graphics were way beyond anything I saw on the SNES, and there was something different about this game and the many others I would buy, they were more mature. Realistic violence, blood, gore, cursewords Barret dropping the S-bomb in Final Fantasy VII >o.O<
The PS1 seemed to have an original title release each month, WarHawk, Twisted Metal, Crash Badicoot, Resident Evil, Colony Wars and Gran Turismo. And Sony also had some of the greatest games of existing franchises like Final Fantasy , CastleVania, Street Fighter Alpha and so many more! Other notable changes were the controller design and the games were on CD's instead of cartridges, and the cases for the games were eventually in CD jewel cases making starage simpler and made the medium seem more grown up. Around 1998 the industry was abuzz again with news of the next generation of consoles.
Three's company fours a crowd...
The three console makers were begining to release info on there next systems; Sony's PS2, Sega's Dreamcast, and Nintendo's Gamecube, but there would be another contender for the next generation Microsoft would launch the Xbox.
Sega was first out of the gate like last generation, launching the Dreamcast Sept. 1999 a little over a month later Sony launched the Playstation 2 and this time I wasn't buying a console on a whim, I had reserved my PS2 a year prior to launch and come Oct. 26, 2000 I was driving home with my fifth video game console. One of the great aspects of the PS2 was the fact it was the first backwards compatible system, so I was able to box up my PS1 but could still play all those PS1 titles!
A year later Nintendo launched the Gamecube and Microsoft launched the Xbox in November 2001.

The PS2 had a a good run, 7 years for me and some terrific games...just check out some of my reviews...SSX1 & 3, Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater, FFX, FFXI online, FFXII, Gran Turismo 3, God of War I & II, Socom, Grand Theft Auto III/ Vice City/San Andreas. Seven years and still selling strong says alot for the PS2, Sega called it quits in the hardware wars after the Dreamcast's premature death (Like I mentioned previously, three's company), the Gamecube's late release found Nintendo struggling to get third party support and Microsofts Xbox had a short but sweet run for it's first system...only four years.

December 2007 I got a Playstation 3. Sony's third system did not get the red carpet treatment this time out, the console launched on November 11th 2006 to mediocre sales and less than stellar media coverage. The first year didn't go as Sony planned but it seems Sony is getting down to business in 08. Just look at their latest advertising campaign, it's in your face, angry, and serious. Well that's it for now I'll see you when the next generation comes around, and if the PS2 lasted 7 years for me then it might be close to a decade before I do this again...

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