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

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