As we prepare to for the new wave of console hardware, its hard to quantify how important the Seventh Console Generation has been to the gaming community. It was long (It started in 2005! I was still in high school!) and it brought with it many new advancements in hardware, software, and really pushed forward the general philosophy of interactive entertainment. As exciting it is to think what the next generation will bring, I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor to look back on where we’ve been, and how it will ultimately shape where we may end up.
In this multi-part series, I am going to look at the games and hardware of the past 8(ish) years in the game space and offer my insight (for whatever it is worth) into the thing’s we’ve seen, the characters we’ve met, and the places we’ve been. Of course, it is impossible to cover everything… there’s simply been too much to see and do. For each of the topics I will cover, I will try to limit myself to a handful of items and a few honorable mentions. This is not a top ten list or some sort of ranking mechanism… just a selection of things that impacted me while I was gaming during this generation. Feel free to list your own ideas in the comments!
Fair warning: This will probably tend to run a little long (like most of my writing, frankly) so… pour yourself a beverage.
When I was very young, I found what I thought was a toy Millennium Falcon on sale at a toy store for $20, so I bought it and to my shock (dismay? Surprise?) it was actually a model kit. I was disappointed at first… $20 wasn’t exactly recouped via my allowance back then, so it was a major purchase for me, and I had to live with it.
Back in August, I finally got my hands on the Asus Eee Pad Transformer (the TF01, as it is commonly abbreviated). It was my first android tablet, and it was a very powerful machine. IT boasted Android 3.0, or “Honeycomb”, which was the first iteration of Android for tablets. I got a lot of work done with the tablet. Development, design, and execution of my day-job duties was made easier when I was away from my Windows PC. One of the greatest parts of the tablet was the keyboard dock itself, which turned an otherwise ordinary Android form factor into a killer device with little competition.
In the 90’s, there were two heavyweights in the video game world. Sonic the Hedgehog, and Super Mario. I was always more of a Sonic guy, having owned the Sega systems over the course of the decade, but I’ve always had an admiration for Mario and the level of care Nintendo gave the Italian Plumber. Every game I’ve played of his has always been a polished, unique, and memorable experience (Something I cannot say for my favorite Hedgehog) and I’m pleased to say that Super Mario 3D Land is no different.
Having been a long-time Star Wars fan, and a long-time, high-end World of Warcraft player, I was almost immediately interested whenever I heard about a Star Wars MMO coming out. Then I heard that Bioware was at the helm for this new game, and my heart lept. Could this be a good Star Wars game equivalent to Knights of the Old Republic? I was intrigued, so I signed up for the Beta Test, much later than most Star Wars fanboys did. I had no hope of getting in…until one day I got an email asking me to participate, and I knew that this game was an insta-buy for me. (more…)
Saints Row the Third. I’m having a hard time coming up with a short summary of how I feel about it. Having played through the first and skipping the second, picking up the third game was a fringe decision. I guess I’m glad I bought it… the game is crazy on a level I’ve never experienced before, and despite the outrageous story, gameplay, and setting, it doesn’t take itself seriously at all. Perhaps it is this “throwing gaming caution to the wind” attitude that makes it a huge winner in my book.
Nobember 15, 2001. 10 Years ago today, Microsoft released the Xbox. It was a gamble for the software giant… could they capture customers in the living room where Sony and Nintendo (and previously Sega) had dominated for so long? Could they design hardware that would not only play games, but encourage developers to create games?
As Microsoft has demonstrated for decades, It was all about the software. This philosophy lead to their acquiring of an Apple game studio, called Bungie, in 2000. Bungie had been hard at work designing what would become the most influential game series of the decade. Halo.
Let’s take a look through some of the key moments in the Xbox lineage’s history, starting with the most important moment: The release of Halo: Combat Evolved alongside the first console.