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Thread: Rewriting the History of Games

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    Rewriting the History of Games

    Today I was reading some silly two year old Guardian piece about how the PlayStation made gaming "cool" by appealing to ravers in the mid 90s. Its wrong on three counts: the first is the MegaDrive was the first console to become mainstream, the second is the rave era was over before the PS1 was even launched, and the megaclubs are what killed it. Like megaclubs and sellout DJs annoyed hardcore ravers, PlayStation culture alienated a lot of gamers. (Not Glendennings fault so much as SCEA's).

    The whole piece seems written by and for Glendenning's target audience: people well into their 20s who call themselves "youth" but go to work in suits. And then it starts praising Psygnosis omitting they were watered down and all but wiped out after the Sony takeover: besides most of their Amiga classics had been all image and no content. The whole thing is done to praise the British gaming industry which always was awful. So they need to rewrite history to make it look better than it really was.

    The PlayStation one was ostensibly some great console. It was not. Compared to the visually better games of the SNES or Megadrive the graphics were ugly and drab. A step backwards till late in the PS1s life. Very few games from that era stand up very well today though people are still playing 2D Sonic on emulators, and Sony's success was all image over content. Ugh.

    Not long ago there was a dumb documentary narrated by Charlie Broker about the history of games. The influence of Japanese gaming got brushed to one side although the 16 bit consoles revolutionised gaming, and US games like Doom got a mention, but Brooker was pimping British games more than anything. Rockstar began in Britain as DMA design so GTA got pimped in ridiculous arty farty terms: really, its played by chavs and Americans and any satire of America passes them by. Suppose Brooker had gone into more detail about the 16 bit console era and the success of Japanese games design, he would have to admit the fiddly controls and botched level design of many British games before that. The superior product won out: QED.

    Oh and a murder simulator had a level set in some UK cathedral: kick ass? Really UK games are aimed at US audiences, nothing to get patriotic about if you have to scrape the barrel so hard in the first place.

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    Heinrich Harrer pointed out to me most PS1 games were in 3D whilst most SNES games were 2D. This is true but there was less of a paradigm shift in Japan. Yes: globally the SNES was the winner but the MD was regarded as having the best arcade conversions to a home format - and original 2D titles. 2D did not die in Japan like it did in the west. Its decline in the west was the fault of SCEA and the imitation of its policies by Sega of America. This killed off interest in entire genres of gaming, and also Sega (the 2D/arcade console of choice was the MD). Also Sony was first to crack down on grey imports, shutting off easy access to Japan only titles. In that sense the PS (or rather SCEA) did untold damage by irrationally killing off an entire consumer base outside of Japan, correct?

    This sounds strange to most people but SCEA banned 2D from its console because the PS1 was built to display polygons not sprites, so PS1 would look no better than 16 bit console displays if displaying 2D.

    Finally: if you look at MD advertising it was aimed at ravers and recreational drug users. To the rave generation Sonic was not some cuddly animal mascot but digital surrealism. (Allegedly drugs inspired Sonic Team as well.) In order to present the PS1 as mature and edgy for the first time means ignoring not only gaming history but that of advertising as well.

    The NES never caught on in Europe but in America it was most popular with under 13s. It was only ever mainstream in that sense which is not what we are talking about. The NES is responsible for the idea games are for children which still attaches to Nintendo today (misunderstanding their family based marketing). Oddly the idea that video games were once just for young children has crossed to the UK where it was never believed true.

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    Hundhedensk "Friend of Germanics"
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    The first Playstation was the last console I had, I liked it a lot. I still play it from time to time, it's in our cabin in Norway. I only use it for Command and Conquer: Red Alert. When the console was still current generation, I used to play a lot of Tekken, Rayman and some other games. My first meeting with Warcraft was also on the console as they released Warcraft 2 for it. Red Alert on the Playstation had better graphics than the PC one.

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    To be honest the popularity of the PS1 was fuelled by piracy. Though games like Tekken were ostensibly popular based on sales, most PS owners never played them.

    Admittedly there are PS1 classics but many of them are well obscure, like Einhander. This is because of the SCEA policies more than anything: SCEA then as now hated 2D and back then they were anti-RPG as well. Anything arcade-genre is pretty much obscure outside Japan even were it released. Even franchises like Tekken at the time.

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    I would like to have been Japanese in the late 80s to mid 90s era. It was a heyday of arcade and home console games. Had I been, I might have had a career as a scorer. Nowadays such a career would do me no good of course. And it's bad to dwell on the past or what might have been.

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    Age of Empires II



    I have never PS or X-Box or Nintendo, my best friend had these. I always use the PC. My best are the iconic game series the Age of series. The first Age of Empires was a good thing, but the real hit was the Age of Empires 2. The best computergame journalist in Hungary said that "I accept this to half-year an operation system".



    The Age of Empires 2 and its two expansion pack, the Conquerors and the Forgotten Civilisation have many well-created campaing or single battle, f.e. Joan D'Arc, Saladin, Frederick Barbarissa, Genghis Kan, Attila the Hun and the Native Americans. It has many civilisation, British, Byzantines, Kelt, Franks (French), Teutons (Germans), Vikings, Goths, Spanish, Saracens (Arabs), Persians, Turks, Mongols, Huns, Chineses, Japaneses, Koreans, Slavs, Hungarians, Italians, Indians, Mayas, Aztecs, Incas. Every civilisation has the own language in the game and an unique unit. The most famous are the Persian War Elephant, the Teutonic Knight or the English Longbowman.

    Constantinople with the Roman/Byzantine Cataphract heavy cavalry.




    Every group of the civilisations have the unique archtecture, f.e. West-EU, Middle-EU, East-EU, Middle-East, Far-East, Native Americans. In that age, 1998 when the Age of II presenced its sceinaro mod has fantastic options and settings what game never has before. The game has a map editor what is very easy to use. Furthermore it has a short lexicon about the Middle-Age and the civilisations.

    Among the campaing missions are nice pictures and narration.



    All these cause that older people nowadays plays with this game what far better than the following Age of Mythology or Age of Empires III, but these are fantastic game too.

    The ultimate weapon is the Persian War Elephant. 40 can destroy a whole city.


    "Remember that, even when those who move you be kings or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before God, you cannot say, "But I was told by others to do thus,"or that virtue "was not convenient at the time." This will not suffice."
    /King Baldwin IV in the Kingdom of Heaven/

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    I am not sure what your point is exactly, but SCEA's policy to neglect 2D spurred the 3D development, otherwise, many companies would just have kept making 2D games.
    There wasn't much developer's knowledge about 3D which made the first attempts almost always clunky (esp. camera controls). Thus, as a general rule you can say that every PSX game which has a 2 in its name is better than the first iteration of said game. That is because that was when they basically released the same game again, with more experience in development (and consumer response).

    The US gaming industry landed some of their biggest hits on the PS1 - in 3D - and these games were actually good.

    Good arcade ports and 2D was the domain of the Saturn, and it was stomped by the PSX in the West. This is basically because western customers had a much more developed background in PC gaming (C64/ZX/etc.) than Japanese ones, and thus were more excited about a console which would play PC games rather than Arcade games (while often very good, they were usually designed to be coin eaters, and this didn't fly with the buy-once-play-as-much-as-you-like PC crowd). And the PC went 3D, so SCEA had to force 3D to make it more Pcyiy
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jäger View Post
    I am not sure what your point is exactly, but SCEA's policy to neglect 2D spurred the 3D development, otherwise, many companies would just have kept making 2D games.
    There wasn't much developer's knowledge about 3D which made the first attempts almost always clunky (esp. camera controls). Thus, as a general rule you can say that every PSX game which has a 2 in its name is better than the first iteration of said game. That is because that was when they basically released the same game again, with more experience in development (and consumer response).

    The US gaming industry landed some of their biggest hits on the PS1 - in 3D - and these games were actually good.

    Good arcade ports and 2D was the domain of the Saturn, and it was stomped by the PSX in the West. This is basically because western customers had a much more developed background in PC gaming (C64/ZX/etc.) than Japanese ones, and thus were more excited about a console which would play PC games rather than Arcade games (while often very good, they were usually designed to be coin eaters, and this didn't fly with the buy-once-play-as-much-as-you-like PC crowd). And the PC went 3D, so SCEA had to force 3D to make it more Pcyiy
    What Jager said is the sort of nonsense talked by people with no background knowledge about this subject. Yes SCEA prompted 3D developments, but this was artificial and it spread to Sega. The Saturn was better for arcade ports and 2D yes: but they imitated SCEA's policy on 2D games, which killed Sega. PC gaming was new to most people when Doom caught public attention, the gaming computer of choice was the Amiga 500 then 1200. Amiga games often imitated console titles and Amiga titles were often ported to the MD. Again as with the PS1 the Amiga was a pirate friendly format and quality was often low despite a few classics. Before competition from the Japanese, controls were often fiddly and atrocious level design saw players having to restart and reload when they fell into traps caused by design oversight.

    The damage caused by SCEA and Stolar (at both Sony and Sega) was so over the top that to this day, fans of Japanese games in the West still import only from Japan. If SCEA was finally scrapped it would do no good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catterick View Post
    PC gaming was new to most people when Doom caught public attention, the gaming computer of choice was the Amiga 500 then 1200.
    Amiga was a PC in the wider sense, that I didn't follow the "IBM PC" definition exactly was obvious with my examples: C64/ZX-Spectrum. The point is still valid though: Non-Arcade/Non-Console Gaming was more common in the West, with a longer tradition.
    I.e. the C64 was a great success in the West, with many games available, but not in Japan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Catterick View Post
    The damage caused by SCEA and Stolar (at both Sony and Sega) was so over the top that to this day, fans of Japanese games in the West still import only from Japan. If SCEA was finally scrapped it would do no good.
    What damage? You mean they could have made even more money? Enough is not enough I guess.
    "Nothing is more disgusting than the majority: because it consists of a few powerful predecessors, of rogues who adapt themselves, of weak who assimilate themselves, and the masses who imitate without knowing at all what they want." (Johann Wolfgang Goethe)

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    Senior Member Catterick's Avatar
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    You mean a home computer not a PC (IBM PC and compatible). Europe did not compete in the arcade business but Americans did - Midway, Data East. And Japan had her MSX home computer format. So no this isn't about western gaming being computer based and Japanese gaming being console based. That is another misconception, and it seems true today because arcade-inspired games design is near-exclusively Japanese now, or such games are "retro". Yet in Japan they continued to develop these genres, the games are not "retro". And the near-death of arcade-inspired gaming outside Japan can be blamed on SCEA. The death of Sega caused by Stolar's policies - that he claims he was pressured to implement - was the end of arcade type games in the west. So I think that's damage unless you approve of gaming being murder simulators, GTA, chav racers and FIFA (each re-released every year).

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