Gaming in the 90’s, when real world felt more interesting
Evolution of video games
I was young about 8 years old, staying with Mom and Dad along with my siblings in Kuwait. I was introduced to gaming when our parents got us our first ever gaming console NES i.e Nintendo Entertainment System.
It was 8-bit console gaming which has pixelated display and was two dimensional. I played games like Street fighter, super Mario and a racing game which offered a bird-eye view; I don’t remember the name though.
Other popular ones like Popeye, Donkey Kong, and Captain Majid. The last game was hugely popular and highly recommended by the game shop owners back then. The Middle East loves soccer, and hence captain majid. Although the game was strategic and turn-based, animations in the game made soccer appear as more of a fighting game than a sport.
Two-dimensional pixelated to Three-dimensional grainy gaming.
After a couple of years, we got our first Personal computer. It was more of a family computer, powered by windows 98. Yes, guys, there was a time a single personal computer served the entire family. I think it was not
personal after all. My elder brother also had an interest in gaming back then, and we managed to get a copy of Doom 1993, Heretic II and Chasm. Heretic II was the epitome of action, fantasy and adventure game. It had the element of shrines, elixir, swords, bows, arrows, monsters, broken monuments etc. This game got me hooked like a patient to an IV, I lost touch with reality and had put in hours, days and night just to play this game. The first stage of evolution of video games began here.
Smooth, fluidic and rich gaming – Photo-realistic
Fast forward 10 years, what you see now is graphic fidelity beyond imagination. Stellar art and character design, poignant storyline, characters with depth and multi-dimensional plot with multiple ending. I have re-picked gaming as a profession just a few years back, I was bedazzled at the evolution and metamorphosis that has happened. Game titles have developed a cult-like following, with loyalist possessing anything and everything from household stuff, attire, lifestyle product that is inspired by such game-title.
Famous in this category are Pokemon, Super Mario and the relatively newer franchises like Halo, Call of Duty, Assassin Creeds, and The Last of Us etc. These titles are par excellent, reeks epicness and have formed definitions to become a term in the gaming dictionary.
Graphics are no longer icing on the cake, it is the cake. The graphic fidelity on the next gen consoles, fully modded PC is top-notch and close to reality. The soundtracks are amazing which has spawned a wave of musicians who are creating music solely to complement and supplement the gaming industry.
Creative aspect of gaming pushed to the level of Hollywood
Another critical aspect of games is the storyline, dialogue and cinematic. Although these attributes were non-existent 10 -15 years ago, they have become the pillar to the success of a game now.
Writers are essential, they are like skeleton to the game. Certain games have achieved legendary status because of its story writing like The last of us and Pokemon.
These games have touched the extreme end of improvement and graphics is almost at its pinnacle. What is the direction for gaming industry from this point? Well, there are lots of theories that are floating around about games becoming more life-like and instead of passive control; an active participation from the gamer will be required. This change translates into Virtual reality and there is speculation of Augmented reality too.
Virtual Reality – Warp into another world.
In a VR set up, there is a virtual world created by the game developer, interaction between the world and the user is bridged through a headgear that immerses the gamer into the virtual world. The user controls the navigation, movement, actions in the open world through body movement. In case of PS Vr by Sony, the gamer will have to use the dual shock 4 or PS move to control the interaction with the virtual world, to spice up the immersion, players can turn their heads to have 360-degree field of view.
The future is already here, but we are yet to see how successful will this technology be? How readily is it adopted? To effectively deploy the use of VR, a Playstation console, TV, DS4, Ps camera and PS move is needed. I have charted a review of PS Vr which you can view here http://www.thephatgamer.com/playstation-vr-the-future-of-gaming/.
You can order a VR from amazon – Sony VR – Headset
There are several other VR headset which has its own eco-system and are compatible with PC, which comes with its own set of additional gadgets to make it fully functional. This a step forward, however, there are pre-cursors to the detrimental side of this tech like dizziness, motion sickness etc if played longer. In the current mode of gaming in which there are controllers doing all the work of interaction, the hours put in for games are prolonged without intermission. This the first generation of VR headset and as with every first generation, there is a fair share of glitches and bugs that need fixing. Games like Ghostbusters, Batman etc have hit the shelves for VR.
Augmented Reality – Summon game characters in your world.
I am sure you must have heard Pokemon Go, one of the hottest games on mobile phone. It promoted social interaction, going outdoor and exploring locales. Pokemon Go was powered by augmented reality. In AR, the real world is layered by additional layer powered through various sources such as mobile by employing its rear camera, or by a spectacle as witnessed in Google glass or hololens as manufactured by Microsoft.
This technology is amazing and is still a prototype, or perhaps First gen, hence has not become popular in an institutional or consumer set-up. AR makes use of technological interface with reality as its background. Widely displayed in popular Hollywood movies, AR has become a reality now. We are yet to witness a mainstream perpetuation of this technology in areas of gaming, personal or even a full-blown commercial use. I hope to see this technology seeping into our lives for the betterment.
Mixed reality – A game sprinkled with Virtual and Augmented reality.
Abbreviated MR also known as Hybrid Reality. It is a mix between VR and AR. MR draws on the benefits from both the world and thus drawing up a new universe all together. In MR the real world and the digital world co-exist and interact in real time. Mixed reality is the combination of artificial virtual world which blends in with real world and provides a perfect platform for entertainment to nurture. Imagine playing a game like Final fantasy with dragons and monsters flying in your back-alley. It is a dream come true for nerds like us, and with improvement in technology, this seems like a close destination.
Immersion, Participation and emotion based gaming.
These three types of realities are pushing gaming space into another realm. Existing gaming system is kicking up the gaming scene. Games like Pokemon go, Edge of nowhere, Serious sam and Battle zone are evolutionary in their approach. These games offer a 360-degree view of the virtual world, with some breathtaking landscape and graphics which are reasonable for the novel technology. Although the games listed above except Pokemon go make use of the synthetic world, it has a wide grip over the immersion which traditional gaming lacked. It is yet to see how both the worlds can over lap and games become a mixed reality. This stage of evolution of video games is still in its metamorphosis.
We do not know the destination yet; We do not know how the gaming space would unfold, or how gamers will respond. However, we know the direction of the evolution and it looks fascinating.
Let me know what does the Phat army think about the future of gaming in the comments?