Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The 12 Generations of Gaming - Gen 6

On the 6th gen of gaming,
Rockstar sent to me,
Lots of steal-ing.

On the 6th gen of gaming,
Microsoft sent to me,
X Box No. 1

The Sixth Generation – 1998 - 2013

Xbox Classic
PlayStation 2
Sega Dreamcast

Popular Games:
Halo 2
Super Smash Bros Melee
GTA: San Andreas
Call of Duty

This is the generation that I really got into gaming (with the PlayStation 2 actually) and apparently not much changed from fifth gen other than better hard drives and new reaches in graphics and software. It also saw the rise of the Xbox as well as the fall of Sega as well as the best-selling console of all time (PlayStation 2).

In this post, I will talk about all four consoles as well as some of the best software to grace their systems.


Xbox Classic:
The Xbox is Microsoft's first foray into the video game console market and was released in North America on the 15th November 200, Europe/Australia in 2002 and Japan just before. The Xbox was the first American made console since the Atari Jaguar in 1996. In its creation, the name appears to be the most long winded. In 1998 four engineers from Microsoft's DirectX team disassembled some Dell Laptops in order to design a prototype Microsoft Windows based games console. The team hoped that they would be able to rival Sony's upcoming PlayStation 2. The name of their console was DirectX Box, named so due to the DirectX graphics developed by the team. During development, the name was shortened (thankfully) to Xbox which (surprisingly) Microsoft's marketing team didn't like. However, consumer testing showed that the name Xbox was much preferred over the other names that Microsoft's other suggestions. Due to the obvious success of console sales in Japan, Microsoft decided to release their console there before Europe. However, the Xbox did not sell well in Japan and much better in Europe. In November 2002, Microsoft launched Xbox live which was and online gaming service that gamers had to subscribe to. This gave Xbox an early foothold into the online gaming market. The legacy of the Xbox is that another 2 consoles have been released thanks to it, as well as helping set off the online genre of console gaming.

PlayStation 2:
The PlayStation 2 was the second console in the 6th generation of gaming (after the Sega Dreamcast) as well as being the second console in the PlayStation series of consoles. The console as released on the 4th of March 2000 in Japan and then in in October in America and November in Europe later that same year. Combined sales of the console, games and accessories pulled in $250 million of the first day, beating the $97 million made by the Dreamcast (by quite a large margin as well). It was very hard to find a PS2 units in shops directly after release due to manufacturing delays so people turned to auction websites such as eBay to get their console, sometimes paying over $1000 for one (good business sense for the people selling them that's for sure). After the release of Xbox Live, Sony released the PlayStation Network. Over the years, PlayStation 2 would see many revised versions of itself in which Sony made it slimmer and slimmer. The legacy of the PS2 is that it is the best-selling console of all time (150 million isn't a small number, you know!) as well as the fact that only now (once the PS4 has been announced and released) has it been discontinued, showing a credit to its hardware that next, next gen games were released on it.

Sega Dreamcast:
The Sega Dreamcast was the final console that Sega ever made. Released in Japan in 1998 and everywhere else in 1999 and then discontinued in 2001 (although it remained in stock until 2007) its lifespan was very short. This is not to say that it was a terrible console as it did brilliantly in its first few months... until the PlayStation 2 got announced. As sales plummeted, Sega soon realised that they did not have the money to compete with Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft and so discontinued the Dreamcast as well as retreating from hardware development altogether instead making themselves into third party developers. The console was developed due to the Sega Saturn starting to struggle in North America and two different teams from Sega's Japanese headquarters to design the console. In its small lifespan, the Dreamcast introduced many features that would become standard in future consoles such as being able to browse the internet, downloadable content and in-game voice chat. There have been many rumours of a Dreamcast 2 since the discontinuation of the original but sadly Sega has not admitted to designing one.

The GameCube or NGC/GCN as it was abbreviated in Japan and America respectively was released in Japan on September 14 2002, November 18 2001 and finally world-wide in 2002. It was the first Nintendo console to use optical disks rather than cartridges to hold its software but it was not designed to play DVD's or audio CD's on account of the GameCube's smaller disk drive. It was also the first online capable Nintendo console although it did require an add on broadband or modem adapter which were short in supply. Finally, the GameCube also supported the Game Boy Advance as a second screen/ controller for certain games. It was also shaped more like a box than the Xbox. The GameCube was used to set apart Nintendo from its competitors with such slogans as 'The Nintendo Difference'. The GameCube received mixed reviews and ultimately finished in third place in the sixth gen console war.


Halo 2:
Released in 2004, Halo 2 is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Halo: Combat Evolved and is the second instalment in the Halo franchise. Developed by Bungie Studios, Halo 2 is a first-person shooter in which the player uses a mix of human and Convent (aliens) weaponry in order to defeat said aliens and stop the purging of all sentient life in the universe. So, it's a good thing that you're a super human called Master Chief then, isn't it? The game features 4 game modes (easy, normal heroic and legendary) which affect the difficulty (obviously) as well as changing certain pieces of dialogue and the hidden 'skulls' you can find. These skulls have different effects on the gameplay such as lowering the gravity. There is also a multiplayer system that also supports Xbox live in which you fight other players. The game was critically acclaimed and only criticised on its cliffhanger ending (although, this did mean that Halo 3 would have to be made so I don't think players minded too much).

Super Smash Bros. Melee:
Released in Japan and North America in 2001 and Europe and Australia in 2002 this game is the sequel to the highly acclaimed Super Smash Bros. in which Nintendo characters from franchises such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon. Like its Super Smash Bros., Super Smash Bros. Melee featured a percentage count rather than a health bar which increased knock back damage. In single player, there were 5 modes: classic (in which you beat rounds of enemies until you reached the boss), home run contest (hit sandbag, watch as it flies into the distance/ straight into the ground), target test (run and hit targets in a specialized area) adventure mode (travel to the different universes of Nintendo franchises) all-star mode (defeat every character in the game with limited health restocks). In multiplayer mode players have to defeat the other players in a certain amount of time or keep all their coins (gathered from defeating enemies) or defeat all the other players until they run out of lives. Super Smash Bros Melee. is a great testament to the legends of Nintendo.

GTA: San Andreas:
The highly controversial and popular series is back for its third 3D game and expands on its last game by quite a bit. From a bigger map to no loading times (except for in cut scenes and going inside buildings) as well as better customisation options San Andreas is a big game. Other additions include gang wars, car modification, burglary, minigames, a better money system and mulitiplayer rampages. The storyline consists of the player 'CJ' trying to find out why his mother was murdered as well as trying to bring his gang, the grove street families, back together. The game was the highest selling game on the PlayStation 2 and was released on October 26 2004.  

Call of Duty:
The first game in the Call of Duty series was released in 2003 by Activision. The game makes the player in various WW2 themed missions while using several authentic WW2 weapons. Its campaign consisted of three campaigns (American, British and Soviet) in which the player controls different characters and participates in completely different storylines. The game is unusual for its use of allied AI helpers as well as its concentration on simulating a real battlefield. It received critical acclaim and spawned one of the most successful series of all time.

Goodbye for now, Harry

And the blog's collective knowledge

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