Thursday, 15 November 2012

Video Game History Part Tres : 2000's

Wa’hey finally we have reached the 2000’s. My generation. I have actually played the games of this time and on consoles that don’t have freakishly weird names. Enough about my personal gaming history I’ll get to that later. The 2000’s to me represent a time of technological and financial advancement. Granted video games have continuously evolved since its original conception in the 1950’s, but I wasn’t alive to witness them.

Think about it, it’s now coming to the end of 2012 and so much has happened. In just over a decade we have transitioned from regular coloured television, to HDTV and then 3D HDTV’s.  We have had multiple console releases and upgrades. Video game titles have broken record heights for both sales and financial investment. Celebrities have both endorsed and acted in video games. The lines between film and games have subtly blurred. But even greater still, is the fact that the video game industry has overtaken the film industry as the largest form of entertainment. How amazing is that.

Let’s rewind a bit though and look at each of those points a bit more in depth. It is coming to the end of 2012 and if superstition is correct, the end of the world. If this is the case I need not bother with this blog entry really...

I a first year aswell FML

Ha if only. Anyway I remember when the first HDTV’s hit the market. I would wander through John Lewis and look at the insane prices. Contrast £5,000 with the £200 you can pick one up for at Tesco’s today and it really makes the first guy look like a sucker. But price aside HDTV offered video games the chance to be created in high definition. However that’s only one half of what it takes to play games. The release of seventh generation consoles meant that the technical constraints of previous iterations could now be bypassed.  This allowed games like Halo franchise to be fully realised. Speaking of which the new halo 4 came out a few weeks ago, it hit $220 million sales on launch day, that topped its predecessors release sales of $170 million.  Not too shabby considering it took $60 million to produce. But that’s nothing, if you know and love GTA, the 4th instalment cost a total of $100 million to produce. Considering the game has sold 22,000,000 units, if we imagine they sold at $40 each that’s, *gets out calculator* $ 8,800,000,000, basically 8 BILLION! Dollars. I think it’s still the most expensive game created but I’m not sure, it was at some point.

The Big Boys

Another high grossing game was Killzone 2. It cost $45 million to produce and remains one of my favourite games. It successor however wasn’t as good, I still like it but it lacked the ‘je ne sais quoi’ of its predecessor. What’s interesting is how the technological changes between 2 and 3 affected the gameplay. The original Killzone was released in 2004 on the Playstation 2. The graphics were good at that time and it had moderate success.  Killzone 2 was released in 2009 on the Playstation 3. The advancement in graphic capabilities from PS2 to PS3 is clearly visible and all made better by the fairly new HDTV’s. Another 2 years later and Killzone 3 is released along with the ‘new’ (such a relative term) 3D TV’s. The visual palette of the game is stunning; add that to the capabilities of a 3D television and you end up with a gorgeous looking game that is embellished with particles flying in your face and small embers gracefully flowing down the screen. That shows how the technology available helps shape the limitations of video games. Almost like a symbiotic relationship they affect each other in many subtle ways.

>> Link To The 10 Most Expensive Games Created<<

It’s not only the technology that has changed; the popularity of games has increased as well. Video games started out as something a few programmers would do. Then it grew to underground subculture. Then it was something frowned upon “aww you play video games, you don’t go out and have a life”. Now the very celebrities that people brainlessly obsess over endorse it, and that makes everything “cool”. All jokes aside video games have become more popular than ever and I think that’s because games have tried to broaden their target market. The launch of the Wii marks the involvement of whole families playing together.  Portable gaming has grown especially with the App-store’s launch. The idea that the old quick time killing games like snake could turn into the interesting ones on the app store is something I find rather cool. Take angry birds for example a simple concept; a basic story line and clean vector graphics turn into one of the most successful mobile games so far. Infinity Blade is another mobile game, completely antithetical to Angry Birds the game is all about “look at me”. The graphics push the boundaries on what a small 115 mm by 59 mm piece of hardware can process. Those are two completely different approaches to mobile games, both successful in their own right.
Good O'l Angry Birds
Infinity Blade In Action

Another great fact is that VIDEO GAMES are BIGGER than FILMS! Yes that’s right it’s been official for a while since about 2009/10 or so but it still makes me feel part of something great.


That’s one of the pressures that the industry faces though. As there is such attention on games they have to perform. In order to perform they require investment and investors like to see return on their investment. That’s why the price of games is rising and rising. The consumers also desire for more, which means that games are released like rain left right and centre. That’s a lot of work stress to be put under, especially when the game title you’re working on can be squashed with little notice. Despite all these releases how many of them are genuinely different? Yes there will always be the standard genres like Beat-em ups and First Person Shooters, but I want games like REZ to also make it to the forefront not only the commercial waste of space’s like Call Of Duty. That’s a personal pressure I apply to video games. However there are other pressures from external sources like the increasing concern over violence and sexism within games.

So that pretty much sums up in my own little way games from then to now .You can see that a lot has happened and is still happening; and In two and a bit years time I will be part of what shapes the industries future.

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