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  • -5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Xbox One. -Wii U, PlayStation

  • 4, Xbox One - we're officially in the eighth generation

  • of video game consoles. We made it. If you're as

  • old as me, you feel old, maybe a little creepy.

  • Maybe your back hurts when you get up in the

  • morning. Maybe the other parts of your body just hurt

  • for no reason. That's how long video game consoles has

  • been around. -My very first video game console was a

  • NES FamiCon. -The Gameboy. -Sega Genesis. -Probably the ColecoVision. -Was

  • the Nintendo 64. -The original NES, man. -It's important to

  • look back and ask ourselves, "How did we get here?

  • How did the industry evolve to where it is today?"

  • In the '60s, a man named Ralph Baer was working

  • at a defense company in Nashua, New Hampshire. He thought

  • to himself, "Why can't I hook something up to this

  • TV to make it more fun?" So he got together

  • with two of his engineers, and they cobbled together the

  • first of seven Brown Boxes. These were video game consoles,

  • early video game consoles that played simple games. They eventually

  • sold the final Brown Box to Magnavox, which rebranded it

  • as the Magnavox Odyssey. -From most of the 20th century,

  • the idea of actually being able to play video games

  • in your house was the fantasy. You couldn't do it.

  • Not until the Magnavox Odyssey, where people were actually able

  • to play video games in their homes. -The Odyssey itself

  • had a really rough start. I mean, it came out

  • and it was marketed incredibly poorly-- -Odyssey, the electronic game

  • of the future that lets you do your own thing

  • on television. -It was brand new technology that people didn't

  • get. -The Odyssey was odd. It's the best word to

  • describe-- But it was really the Atari 2600 that kicked

  • everything off for me as a home console player. When

  • you look back now at the Atari 2600 games, they

  • all look very basic, but at that time, they were

  • nothing short of amazing. They-- -The Atari 2600 was the

  • game console that everybody had. Well, I didn't have it

  • and I was really jealous of my neighbor who had

  • one. But this one was iconic. This was the system

  • that got people crazy about playing video games at home.

  • -It was as ubiquitous as a refrigerator or a TV

  • in most households. -In the successful years of the Atari

  • 2600 we got to over $2 Billion business in the

  • United States, only on video games. It's kind of a

  • number that is important to understand because we will understand

  • what happened when video games go into what this universally

  • recognized as the big crash of video games in 1983.

  • -Game over. -There was a video game crash as a

  • result of just this flood of terrible games on the

  • 2600. And for awhile, it seemed like maybe home video

  • games and video game consoles had just been a fad.

  • -And video games really went out of fashion altogether. -Then

  • something happened. What happened was Nintendo happened. Nintendo, a company

  • that has been around making trading cards for nearly a

  • century. They decided, "We're gonna make a video game system."

  • The key thing is they didn't call it a video

  • game system. In the United States, they marketed it as

  • a toy. They have Rob, the robot. They have the

  • Zapper, which was a little gun you plugged in to

  • the console. They didn't want people to think that it

  • was a video game machine because that had a stink

  • to it because of the Atari 2600 and the crash.

  • -With the third generation of home video game systems, it

  • was not a fair fight. The Nintendo Entertainment System mopped

  • the floor with the Sega Master System. -The Nintendo Entertainment

  • System is the console that changed everything. This is the

  • system, the little gray box that shipped and suddenly connected

  • with everyone. Whether it'd be Mario-- This is-- this is

  • Mario Brothers. This is the start of everything for Nintendo

  • and for the industry as well, all right? All of

  • a sudden, the new games had what they didn't have

  • before - a mascot, someone you could connect with. -It

  • was not just something that was big as a video

  • game system, but it helped launch Nintendo into being just

  • a cultural force. So everything from Nintendo cereal-- -Nintendo Cereal

  • System is a super power system of nutritious breakfast-- -Or

  • Fred Savage's famous, or infamous movie The Wizard. Power Glove,

  • this ridiculous glove that you would wear, in theory, to

  • control games better. It was more than just a gaming

  • system. It was a cultural phenomenon. -There can be only

  • one. -Sega challenges you with the ultimate video game -

  • the Sega Master System. -When I started my career in

  • this industry, I was testing games on the Sega Master

  • System, and quite frankly I didn't even know it had

  • existed. The only thing that was in my world was

  • the Nintendo Entertainment System at that time. -The Sega Master

  • System is notable in that it's what brought Sega into

  • home video games. -I saw-- I saw it, I put

  • my little pudgy finger on the glass, I said, "Mom,

  • that's what I want for my birthday. What is that?"

  • That was the second question. And they made that happen

  • and I got the Sega Master System. And man did

  • I pick a losing horse in this race, becoming a

  • Sega kid over a Nintendo kid, but it was one

  • of those things where that was your source of pride.

  • That was your identity as video games were getting a

  • foothold [unk], right? -There's certainly a rivalry, you know, somebody

  • else had a Sega Master System and you had a

  • Nintendo [unk]. You know, you picked sides in a war.

  • You kinda-- you had one, you didn't have the other.

  • And it was the beginning of a rivalry between Nintendo

  • and Sega that would go on for generation after generation.

  • It would take awhile before there was a clear victor

  • in it. -So you're talking about the NES or the

  • Sega Master System, or just video games of that generation,

  • you're talking about, literally for what I think, is the

  • foundation for what video games will be. Right, because there

  • was suddenly all these kids like me, who started to

  • grow up with these, and started to understand these characters

  • and these things and what video games would be. And

  • so, as we make that jump to the Super NES

  • to, you know, the Sega Genesis, what you see is

  • the video game companies realizing that their audience is maturing,

  • and so they need to as well. -And then the

  • fourth generation - the empire strikes back. Sega comes out

  • with the Sega Genesis, saying "Genesis does what Nintendon't." -Genesis

  • does-- -What Nintendon't. -I mean, Sega Genesis was Sega's coming

  • out party, you know. Sega Master System was the system

  • that I owned, and nobody knew what that was. But

  • Sega Genesis, everybody knew because it was when Sega came

  • out and adopted an identity and said, "We are this

  • blue hedgehog--" -Sonic 2 handles stubborn stains. Embarrassing bald spots?

  • No problem. But wait, you can play it, too. -Sonic

  • was just-- he had attitude. You know, history has shown

  • that Mario's a great character, but he's kinda just this

  • schlubby plumber guy who jumped on turtles and-- -It was

  • one of those things that Sega said, "We're the underdog."

  • And in a way, it summed up fans, like me,

  • right? Like we needed a rallying crowd-- -Genesis. -Does. -Genesis.

  • -Does. -There has to be a line on the sand

  • for what you are what you are a kid and

  • your parents won't buy you both systems. -Sega people could

  • look to the Genesis and say, "This is the thing.

  • This is what gets us over Nintendo." -Super power. -The

  • Super Nintendo was Nintendo putting its foot down and saying,

  • "We basically started this home console business, and we aren't

  • going anywhere. -It's been very unusual in gaming history for

  • any one console maker to have two great platforms in

  • a row. But Nintendo pulled that off. The Nintendo Entertainment

  • System was phenomenal. The Super Nintendo, I would say, it

  • was even better. -It was when Nintendo said, "We are

  • going to make these things that you loved in the

  • last-- on the last system franchised. These are things that

  • are gonna be here to stay because you loved them.

  • Here's another Metroid. Here's the Final Fantasy. Here are all

  • these different experiences that we're gonna give you and make

  • this definitive video gaming platform for the time. -Super Nintendo

  • kind of quietly proved itself out to be one of

  • the best machines ever made. -You realize there was no

  • ceiling to what was happening, and 16-bit was our first

  • taste of that. -The fifth generation was a [unk] show.

  • Can I say "[unk] show"? There's too many players here.

  • There's too many players in the fifth generation. Something's gotta

  • give.

-5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Xbox One. -Wii U, PlayStation

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The History of Video Game Consoles | TIME

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    joey joey posted on 2021/06/25
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