Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Videogame History Part 3: 1990's ~ 2000’s

Pokemon took the Handheld game market to new
levels with its unique feature of 'trading' Pokemon
between players. 

As the gaming industry headed into the new millennium it was already picking up a massive head of steam from the last few years of the previous century; throughout the nineties games would take another area of the market by storm in handheld consoles, and led the way by Nintendo’s Gameboy would mould how we play games today. It was also where we started seeing games that would either introduce game franchises that would revolutionise the industry, or create them anew. 
The likes of Metal Gear Solid, Resident Evil, Pokemon (pretty much the only reason I owned a Gameboy), The Legend of Zelda, Golden Eye, Sonic the Hedgehog, Tomb Raider and Final Fantasy VII (which is a game that practically opened the doors in the west for every other Japanese RPG that wouldn’t have seen the light of day over here, had it not been for the success of this instalment). 

Final Fantasy VII: The first instalment to make
it to the west, leading the way for other major
Japanese games to be released overseas
Its also interesting to see that a lot of these important games came along with the introduction of Sony in the games console market with the Playstation, a system that solidified itself as one of the major three forces in the console market in the future. Though the Nintendo 64 and Dreamcast were the Playstation’s rivals, it would only be Nintendo that would make it through to the next generation of games consoles, with poor sales of Sega’s Dreamcast meaning that Sega had to drop out of the console market and just stick to producing games instead.

It was the dawn of the new millennium that would shape the current market of games consoles; the Playstation 2 (2000) which would become one of the best selling consoles of all time, the successor to the N64, the Nintendo Gamecube (2001) and Microsoft’s first foray into the console market, the Xbox (2001).

Rise of Massively Multiplayer Online games

World of Warcraft, whatever your opinion of the game,
pretty much sums up how MMO's have taken the gaming
world by storm. And its hard to argue with its success,
recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary and still
going strong
With the new millennium came the rise of the MMO, games that utilised the internet to allow gamers to enjoy massive online worlds and games with thousands of others from around the globe. The game that would lead the way was Ultima Online (1997), a concept created by Richard Garriot, where he would create fantasy world that many players could interact with one another, basically setting the benchmark for all future games in the MMO genre. 

Many other games would follow, some matching the success of Ultima Online, whilst others fell by the wayside….The likes of Everquest (1999), Final Fantasy XI (2002), Phantasy Star Online (2000), and of course the ridiculously popular World of Warcraft (2001). Final Fantasy XI and Phantasy Star Online were games that showed that games consoles had advanced so far that they were able to run online games, and cross-platform MMO’s at that. Though Phantasy Star was fated to fall alongside the Dreamcast, and the Playstation 2 version of Final Fantasy XI practically didn’t sell outside of Japan due to the terrible nature of the PS2’s network adapter, they both showed what was possible on the generations consoles and what was to later come. 

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