Monday, April 27, 2015

My Findings

I feel that gaming on a whole is ever changing and that in the future we're sure going to have to have alot of money to keep up with everything. Its amazing to see how far we have progressed in 70 years from where it all began, to where we are now but I feel that maybe in the next 70 years we're going to lose touch of how things were to start off with and as things become more high-tech we're going to depend more on technology than we already do today.  Obviously technology is going to keep on advancing until man inst clever enough to improve it any more but I just hope the future of gaming wont get lost in the madness of it all.

Fairwinds internet travellers, until next time

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Investigation of the features and limitations of PC, mobile and TV game platforms

Hi Everyone

So I decided that talking about PC, TV and mobile limitations and features would be good seeing as I've already spoken about Consoles and Arcade platforms. So lets get started. 

Okay lets think about the first kinds of mobile games, the first that usually pops into mind is the Gameboy and when Nintendo released the it back in 1989 I wasn’t even born. However, it’s interchangeable cartridge system and nifty little D-Pad meant that years after it came out it was still dominating the market with retro hits such as Mario and Tetris. Forget all the online servers of today’s consoles, if you wanted to play multi-player back then it was a case of both having the game and using a really long cable to connect both consoles! But sadly it wasn't exactly possible to get a long cable so being toe to toe with the person you were playing with was just something you got used to. It may seem pretty rudimentary, but it paved the way for the hi-tech systems we know today. 

Now when you hear the phrase “Nokia brick” you’re all thinking the same thing right? Yes, Snake! It was developed by a Finnish man called Taneli Armanto for the 3310 and came on every Nokia phone from that point onwards. A perfect example of something that’s so simple yet so effective. I mean even in this day and age, people are still downloading emulator apps to they can chase those dots on their fancy smartphones.
Nintendo DS and PSP

Moving more into the 21st century are the Nintendo DS and the Playstation Portables. The folks over at Nintendo are fantastic at marketing and know how to push the sales of their consoles long after the initial release. Sticking to their cartridge system, the DS boasts 2 LCD screens, of which 1 is a touch screen, was well as the traditional “A” and “B” style controls we’ve come to expect from them. With classic titles such as MarioKart being compatible on all versions of the console (DS, DSLite, DSi, 3DS and 3DS-XL), the older, slightly better brother of the original GameBoy seems to be going from strength to strength nearly 30 years after launch. However, not just marketed as a console for kids, games such as Dr. Kawashima’s brain training meant that it was often a battle between my mum and I for use of the DS in an evening. Around the same time the PSP aka Sony’s answer to the ever popular Nintendo DS. Whilst it had a bigger, better quality screen and looked more stylish, Sony’s UMD discs didn’t boast the range of titles that Nintendo had. Equally, the price tag often meant that choices over which to buy had already been made. Besides, at this point Sony had established themselves well in the console market with the PS2 whilst Nintendo dealt in mobile platforms – why mess with a system that works?

So TV game platforms are counted as using the TV as the console instead of a Playstation or an Xbox. Okay so an example of this is Ceefax which was created in 1974 and started at the BBC. The idea of it was that you could retrieve simple information from it like weather and football scores but then you could also play easy and basic games by using the coloured buttons on remote control. What you have to take into consideration is that this was before the internet too so this wasn't just information that could easily be updated from a site it had to be done manually.  
More common nowadays are Smart TVs and those which you can plug phones and tablets into via USB ports to use as a controller. Something new which Google has created is the Chromecast which allows you connect to a HDMI output in your TV and then you pair it with an Android device via the Wi-Fi and then once you have everything set up you can control the things on the TV via the device. It also allows you to project things that are going on on the device onto your TV, so say if you were watching something on your phone you could use the TV as a projector and enlarge the view, or if you were playing games you could use the TV as a bigger screen and still control it via the Android. 
Like the Chromecast is the Apple TV accept instead of being for Android its for Apple products. It does pretty much the same thing as the chromecast and it connects to the TV and Device in the same way too, as well as having the same features. The only major difference is the price with the Apple Tv starting at £70 and the Chromecast starting at £30, I can see which one would be favoured more.   

Pc's have there good and bad points like everything, but the problem is that do they balance each other out or does one weigh more than the other?
Okay so, starting with the good features of Pcs, they are extremely easy to upgrade and change if something needs to be higher or you need more of it then you can buy more and customise it how you please. However saying that, it costs alot of money nowadays to upgrade PC parts and the problem is that everything is constantly being improved which means that by the time you've updated something maybe 4-6 months down the line it'll probably need to be upgraded to stay updated with everything else. Games are a problem when it comes to this type of thing as their requirements are becoming more demanding which means to be able to play the latest things, you need the latest gear to do so.

In a way this is what makes console gaming easier as all of the games are made for that specific consoles and up to its standards because otherwise it wouldn't be able to run it and that would be pointless for the producer and the consumer, so all you would have to do is by the console once and just get the games instead of worrying about having a high enough spec to run something.

Looking back to 1975 when the first microprocessor had gone onto the market which meant that computers could be smaller, the Altair 8800 which was sold as a kit was the first type of "home Pc". Because of the type of price and time that building this computer would take Pre made units were available on the market, which meant that those who were to build their own were very far and few between.
The more people got into computer the sooner more stable platforms were created so people were then able to write small simple games for then, these kinds of platforms included the Radio shack's TRS-80 which was released in 1977 but because of the time that this was out floppy disks weren't such a commonly used item so it was still expensive to copy information onto them which meant that cassettes were highly used instead, and the same went for the Commodore PET. 
However, once floppy disks were more widely used they became cheaper so then the games which had been programmed were copied onto floppy disks and were sold with printed instructions on how the play the game. Because floppy disks were rewritable and the information on them could be changed which meant that piracy of the games which were on them was very easy and it wasn't very easy to make money on the games that were created, which is why when the CD was developed people were able to start selling their games properly as once the information was burned on it then it couldn't be changed and it made piracy alot harder. 

Fairwinds internet travellers, until next time

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The features and limitations of arcade and console game platforms

Hey Everyone!

I thought today I would talk about the good and the bad when it comes to arcade platforms and consoles.
Now we all know how much we love consoles and arcade games. If you didn't then you probably wouldn't be reading this! I remember hearing stories from my parents about when they used to go to the arcade and compete with their friends to see who could get the best scores on Q*bert or Pac-man.
But its not to say that arcade games were the best, because the fondest memories I had are of when I first got a Playstation 1 which my was got by exchanging cookery books with our next-door neighbour. I used to play Spyro and Crash Banicoot on it for hours until 1 was told to go outside instead. Even though everyone has good memories with these platforms like everything.... they have faults.  

 So seeing as I have already mentioned the PS1 lets start from there shall we. Sony released their playstation 1 in 1994 and in the first four months it sold o.85 million and now over all it has sold 102,490,000 console units in total plus with having sold 962,000,000 game units, its top selling game being Gran Turismo.
When it was first released everyone who had the playstation loved it,and Critics praised the console for the quality of its 3-dimensional graphics. However for the time the price of it wasn't the cheapest which was one of its problems like nowadays each time something new comes out the price is just so extortionate its crazy take the playstation 4 for example when that first came out it was costing £400 and now a year or so on and its still over the £300 mark. to get the latest gadgets you have to have the money.  There has only been proper hardware problems when it comes to the playstation 3 and its tendency for swallowing up CD's/ Disks never to be returned unless you wanted to take the chance of opening it up and retrieving it yourself. However apart from that the playstation 3 did have its good points with the ability to change the hard drive and it did have great graphics quality, plus people were happy because it was family friendly with a built in Blu ray player.
Now, playstation isn't just know for its well created consoles it also created the strangest and more random adverts which would just make you question things, but then I guess that was the idea right? To try and get you to look into what they were doing and to get you intrigued. I mean not only did they have you wondering what they were doing they also had well known people advertise there games too, to make people think "wow! okay then seeing as they're playing it I want to as well".

Microsoft is next on our list and we'll be talking about the Xbox.
 Okay so the original xbox never really had any problems, they were pretty chunky/ bulky but to be honest that's all that was the problem. Unlike the 360 which was where all the problems started to arise. Since the 360 people have always associated the Xbox with having problems like the "Red ring of death"(RROD)  which everyone who owned one would pray they wouldn't have to deal with. There was also the thing of comparing it to the Playstation 3 and you wouldn't be able to play blu-rays on it as it didn't have the support for that which meant that there was limited family use. However in the respect of multi player gaming its online support, Xbox Live, was and always has been alot better than the playstation because there is always more people online and there is just a wider Xbox community. The only problem with Xbox Live is the fact that you have to pay for it, but with that subscription you also get discounts and free games which can be quite new to the market. 
More recently with the Xbox one however, people have been frustrated at the fact that its not possible to play their beloved Xbox 360 games on their new console because its not compatible. The early releases of the PS3 allowed you to play your PS2 games on it but unfortunately with the more updated ones that function was gone. Other problems that people have complained about is the kinect and how sensitive the microphone is and it usually didn't understand the command you were giving it so most of the time its actually easier to use a controller and do it yourself then talking to the Xbox. However, there is one good function that Microsoft added to the One which is the "snap" tool. This allows you to "snap" an app alongside something else, so you could be on the internet whilst being on a game to try and overcome an obstacle so its like multitasking but on a console instead,

Entering the realms of Nintendo with their Wii console. Can we all just firstly agree on the fact that Nintendo has always been quite a family friendly company, with their famicom which from 1986 to 2003 sold over 4.44 million units and their more recent console the Wii which since its release has sold over 101.44 million units worldwide. The Wii has always had positive feedback, to start with it had the classic games including Zelda, Super Mario and Donkey Kong, but not only did it have good games it was something created for more of a casual gamer so there was nothing to tie you down to playing all the time as you could just have a quick play and then turn it off again if you didn't feel like playing it again. There was the problem however of people breaking household objects by not having the remote strap on and then they would fling it across the room. This obviously isnt Nintendo's fault because each time you either start up the Wii or a game of the Wii then it would warn you to keep the remote strap on at all times to stop anything from happening, but obviously people don't listen.
 I mean once I did smack my sister over the head with the remote which led her to fall off the sofa and be concussed but I would like to add I did win the game so it was all for a good cause.  But what I'm  getting at is that Nintendo has never really made anything with a proper error to it and their products are mainly for the casual gamer but its good stuff and there isnt much to be complaining about, so if you're after that kind of stuff then you should totally go for it. 

 The great thing about having a console at home meant that you could always play it whenever you wanted, you could change the games too and you weren't tided down to just one. Also with the Prices too it was the thing of you just having to pay once and then playing it to your hearts content instead of paying a little and then only getting a few minutes and then paying a little again to get longer.
 That was one of the problems with Arcade platforms. 
Arcade games were always great, but only if you had the money and time to go to them. They were a great place to meet new people and socialise with existing friends and compete with others but the problem was that once consoles became a thing then arcades almost became redundant. It was the type of thing where if your friend had a console then you would meet up and go to their house to play because it was easier instead of going out to the arcade and playing games there. Plus when consoles were new it was really cool if you knew someone who had one as it was such a different thing to be able to play video games at home instead of going out. 
Another problem with arcade machines is that they would cost alot to manufacture just for one game, whereas with consoles you just have to create the console then mass produce the games which saves money and materials. For the time that they were more favoured they were great but as soon as consoles became the craze arcade machines became less fashionable. 

So thats that,  hope you've enjoyed reading, until next time 
Fairwinds fellow internet travellers


Friday, April 24, 2015

The Development History of Game Platforms

Hey guys!

In this post I will be talking about different platforms and how they've developed over time into what they are now.
Before we get into anything, for those of you who don't know what I mean by a platform I'm talking about the specific hardware and software which allows you to run games. 
However, game platforms are split into three separate categories Console, PC and Mobile so for instance Xboxs, Playstations, Pcs things like that which the everyday gamer would use and then Mobile includes those which are portable and can keep going on their on source of power without being plugged into something these include Gameboys, Psps, Ds' things that you can take with out if you were to go out and you could play them in the car.  

Let me paint you a picture, imagine, many many years ago, what seems like a century games WEREN'T HD!!
Now, I don't want to scare you but this is true, once upon a time the Commodore 64 was all we had to play with, once upon a time, Pong was the most frustrating game...NOT Dark souls. 

Now I don't want you to have a panic attack so I'll stop telling you about what seems like a parallel universe of 8bit graphics and 30 minute loading times.

 .....Yeah, I'll start from the beginning. 

The Early Years
SO You could say that it all began in 1940 with the creation of a computer that was able to play a basic game of Nim Which was developed by Edward. U Condon. The idea of this game was that you take in turns with the computer to pick up matchsticks.
Sounds tedious right? Well it kinda was when this computer would win 90% of the games played. BUT we shouldn't be complaining when the gaming world we love today evolved from it so there's that.
Around the same time in 1940 Martin Bromley had created a company which opened up an area 
in American military bases in Japan where the service men would be able to use coin operated games in the spare time they had to distract them for a while so they were always fixated on the job they had to do.The company was named "Standard Games" which was changed quickly to "Service Games", later in life this was going to become ~SEGA.   

Okay the next date on our adventure back in time is 1950 where gaming officially begins, well actually 1951. Fusajiro Yamauchi had previously created a card game called Marufuku in 1889 which were only sold in Japan and the business was extremely small. However, in 1948 his great grandson Hiroshi Yamauchi took over the business and he renamed it to Nintendo, which translated means "Leave luck to heaven".  Here is an Article which goes into more depth with what Nintendo means and how it progressed to where it is now, also there is someone who has commented at the end of it and has made a very cool link up to Tengu, which was the symbol to show illegal gambling and playing cards, and Nintendo's character Mario both of which have large noses, red themes and show an obsession to collecting coins.


In 1958 William HiginBotham created Tennis For Two, which was the first computer game which displayed motion and allowed the players to be interactive by using controllers.
 Those who were playing it saw a two dimensional view of which represented a tennis court on a oscilloscope and Players would be able to serve and volley using the controllers which had rotating dials and buttons on that could control the agle the swing of the tennis racquet. 

Golden Age
Okay so going into the "Golden Age" 1972, and the Magnavox Odyssey was released developed by Ralph Baer along with Pong which was created by Allan Alcorn. The Magnavox was actually developed months before Pong even though Pong is the first platform that most people think of if asked which the first console is.
A year after these two were created, Taito, Williams Electronics Inc and Midway entered the gaming industry. Taito actually introduced their first video arcade game in 1973 and in the same year they changed their name from Taito Trading Company to Taito Corporation which they are known by to this day. The company is best known for created Bubble Bobble and Space Invaders which became the company's most popular title and one of the most memorable games in arcade history, and is pretty much responsible for the beginning the golden age of arcade video games the game was published in the US by Midway.
Now then, Midway begun
 in 1958 and was named Midway Manufacturing, which used to manufacture amusement games. However in 1973  it moved into the interactive entertainment industry, and would develop & publish arcade video games. The company  first mainstream hit was with the  distribution of Space Invaders in 1978. But, Midway was purchased and taken over in 1988 by WMS Industries Inc (Williams Electronic inc). Williams initially was a manufacturer of pinball machines. But in 1973, the company branched out into the coin-operated arcade game market with its copy of Pong named Paddle Ball.

Okay so 1977 and Atari have now developed the 2600 which was the first home console and was a big success within the games industry because it meant that  people could play games at home and it wouldn't cost them any more than buying the console and the games, that was the other plus was that it had changeable cartridges so you could play different games on the same thing.  
Mattel had a big break through as well because they introduced the first  handheld LED video game which meant that those who owned it could walk around and play it without it being at home or plugged it, so it game people freedom to explore the real world whilst exploring a virtual one. However, there wouldn't have been much exploring of the virtual world because the games that were available weren't that advanced, to be quite honest 
they weren't even interchangeable at this point it was only something that would play the game it was made for, in Mattels case it was a football game. 
In 1978 Atari release Space Invaders for their home console, and the practice of porting begins. Porting is the process of adapting software so that an executable program can be created for a computing environment that is different from the one for which it was originally designed for (e.g. different CPU, operating systems).

Soo in 1981 Nintendo release Donkey Kong and who was to conquer the game? Billy Mitchell, who began playing games when he was 16. But before he started playing Donkey Kong he was already a dominant player with pinball. Furthermore he was to begin with very uninterested in video games when the 80s began until he noticed that "everyone was standing around the Donkey Kong machine and wanted attention" so he began to play.
NES Tetris Box Front.jpg
In 1984 Alex Pajitnov designed Tetris, the first ever game to be shipped from the USSR to the USA. It came to a variety of platforms, varying from Microsoft to the Game boy color. This game was not only addictive but EXTREMELY frustrating leaving people still playing it out of stubbornness today.

Whilst in 1986 Nintendo released famicom, the Japanese "Family Computer" which is basically the NES before the NES. This gave video games a higher quality appearance and more of a family feel to them. Compute! in 1989 said that Nintendo had sold seven million NES systems in 1988, almost as many as the number of C64's sold in its first five years!
Then in 1986 Nintendo America launched the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System). This gaming platform was insanely popular, By 1990 30% of American households owned the NES, that's insane considering only 23% had PC's! It's stats like that that make you wonder why Nintendo are struggling today. Not to mention that Sega Release the Master System. It was not, however a major competitor against Nintendo's Famicom, this would come later.

Sticking with Nintendo in 1987, they published The Legend of Zelda to the Famicom, the first console it was ever available on. The game features a "Second Quest," that you can get either through completing the game 100%, or by registering your name as "ZELDA" when starting a new quest. The Second Quest features loads of different dungeons and item placement, and more difficult enemies. Leading you, I'm sure to see why it's still a popular series to this day.And then in 1989 Nintendo released the Game Boy, revolutionary in itself to the market of handheld gaming. Children and adults were now in awe of the variety of games they could play on the go, and although not the first ever handheld console, the Game Boy did boost the field massively and without it we would not have the 3DS XL's and PSP's we all take for granted today. 

1990 to Now 
Okay so now we've hit the 1990's and Nintendo has released Super Mario Bros. 3 which is the most successful non-bundled game cartridge of all time, because its so awesome. Plus it's legacy has remained to this day, building upon the already successful Mario and Luigi franchise which is constantly being added to. Going into 1991 Nintendo released the Super NES, this 16 bit bundle of joy, although declined in popularity is still one of the most frequently emulated systems of our time with its timeless games capturing the hearts of children, teens and adults to this day. A year after this in 1992 Sega recreated itself with a new mascot who was non other than Sonic the Hedgehog who takes control of the US market. This is when SEGA became a BIG competitor to Nintendo as their games were becoming increasingly popular and Sonic being one of the reasons for this as he was exciting to children, because who doest like a Blue fast hedgehog. 
When the Xbox 360 was launched in American in 2005 it was classed as the first of so-called Next-gen consoles. And  2006  Sony  launched the Playstation 3 joining the 360 in the Next-gen consoles buut it was unique as it had a Blu-Ray Player which was favourable to alot of buyers as it became more of a family console then as it could do other things than just play video games. But in the same year Nintendo released the Wii so there was competition until the new consoles were brought out. 

8th Generation consoles 
So, now we're are up to date to the consoles which are constantly being spoken about. Of course I mean Nintendo's  Wii U which came out in 2012 and sold a total of 425,000 units for the month compared to Sony's Playstation 4 which came out in 2013 and in its first day sold 1 million Units. Whilst Microsoft announced that their Xbox one had sold approximately 2 million units in its first 18 days on sale. Since the release of these consoles the competition between the developers has got a lot stronger, all competing for the "superior" console, however the figures are ever changing still because people are still trying to get their hands on the most up to date console. So they have to wait and see what happens when the 9th generation is released, if there is one...... but obviously there will be. 

Fairwinds internet travellers, until next time

Monday, April 6, 2015

The journey begins...

Hello there!  

   So, the aim of this little blog of mine is to investigate the ins and outs of the video game world, starting at the progression of video games from decades ago, the limitations and features of PC, Console, Mobile, arcade and TV gaming and culminating in my conclusion of my findings. 

   I hope that, through this blog I will be able to expand not only my knowledge but that of others who are reading this. 
The video game industry is of interest to many, many people as it is one that evolves over time and never stops. 
   Hopefully this blog introduction will outline my intentions with what I'm trying to create here and fingers crossed it will be of interest to many of you. ^_^