Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The 12 Generations of Gaming - Gen 7

On the seventh gen of gaming,
Nintendo sent to me,
The Nintendo Wii-e-e,

On the seventh gen of gaming,
Sony sent to me,
The PlayStation 3-e-e,

On the seventh gen of gaming,
Bethesda sent to me,
A bigger, better world.

The Seventh Generation – 2005 - Present

Xbox 360
PlayStation 3
Nintendo Wii

Popular Games:
Assassins Creed
Elder Scrolls Oblivion/Skyrim
Wii Sports

And so, we join up with the last gen that just happened as well as the gen that brought about the rise of a new type of gamer: the casual gamer. It also saw the rise of HD gaming as well as motion controls (and even no controller at all). Finally, it saw the rise of the big three of gaming: Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft.

In this post, I will write about all three consoles and three of their most defining and best-selling games.


Code-named 'The Revolution' the Wii definitely was one, inventing motion controls and a whole new genre of home console gaming - casual. It was also the first Nintendo console that didn't have the name Nintendo in the trademark console, i.e. a Wii is just called a Wii whereas a GameCube is called a Nintendo GameCube. And that brings me nicely to the name of Wii. According to Nintendo, the name Wii is a combination of the word 'we' and the 'iis' representing two people standing next to each other. The name came to mixed reviews with many critics preferring the name Revolution to Wii. However, Reggis Fils-Aime (Nintendo President of America) responded with 'Revolution as a name is not ideal; it's long, and in some cultures, it's hard to pronounce. So we wanted something that was short, to the point, easy to pronounce, and distinctive. That's how 'Wii,' as a console name, was created.' The Wii was launched on the 19th of November 2006 in North America, December 2 for Japan and December 8 for UK. The Wii Remote are used through the use of a sensor bar, that you place under or on top of your TV, reading infrared signals off of the Wii Remote. The Wii Remote's sensitivity can be increased by a Wii Remote Plus that you attach onto the Nunchuk slot at the bottom of the remote. The console is completely backwards compatible with the GameCube although the Wii Mini and Wii Family Editions are not. The legacy of the Wii is great as it created motion controls and the casual gaming audience and therefore introducing many people to gaming (the Queen of England, Elizabeth II is also reported to have been playing it) as well as being the 3rd best-selling console of all time.

Xbox 360:
Xbox 360 is the successor to the successful Xbox and is also the first console entered into the 7th generation of gaming. The Xbox 360 was released on the 22nd May 2005 in the United States, December 2nd in Europe and December 10 2005. Over the course of a year, the Xbox 360 was released in 36 countries, which is more countries than any other console in the same period of time. Yet again the original name wasn't final and in development the Xbox 360 was known by such names as the Xbox Next, Xenon, Xbox 2, Xbox FS and the NextBox (you can make up your own minds about whether they chose the right choice with the Xbox 360). Trying to better Nintendo's Wii Remote motion controls, Microsoft released the Xbox Kinect, a camera that reads your movements and transmits it into movements in the game. A new and better version of Xbox Live was also released which revolutionised console online gaming yet again. There were, however, a few technical faults that have been reported such as the Red Ring of Death which indicated a General Hardware Failure which prompted Microsoft to introduce a 3-year warranty on the console.  The legacy of the Xbox 360 is that it strengthened Microsoft's hold on the gaming market as well as seeing the release of some of the best games of 7th gen.      

PlayStation 3:

The PlayStation 3, the only console where I do not have to write about the name as it is simply another number. Well, it makes it easy to count, I guess. The PS3 was released in Japan on the 11th of November 2006 and North America on the 17th while Europe had to wait until the following March to get it. In 2008/2009 a software update by Blitz games allowed users to play certain games and movies in Stereoscopic 3D (however, you also needed a certain T.V to use it). To compete with the Wii Remote and Kinect Motion controllers, Sony released their own PlayStation Move controllers in 2010. Over the years two more models were released (Slim and Super Slim) of which the Slim model got better reception than the original. The PS3 Original was slightly backwards compatible with the PS2 and completely backwards compatible with the PS1 however the PS3 Slim/Super Slim was not backwards compatible with the PS2 but was backwards compatible with the PS1. The legacy of the PS3 is that of great games as well as being used to build supercomputers.    


Assassin's Creed:
Assassin's Creed was released world-wide throughout November, 2007 and throughout April, 2008 for Microsoft Windows. Assassin's Creed was originally supposed to be another Prince of Persia game (Prince of Persia: Assassin, naturally) but game developer, Patrice Desilets felt that the Prince was not interesting enough to be the protagonist. So, instead, you controlled an assassin who was trying to rescue the Prince. However, Ubisoft did not want a Prince of Persia game that did not focus on the titular Prince and so moved the idea to another IP where the Prince was dropped and Assassins Creed was born. In the game, you play as the Assassin Altair as he tries to find a piece of Eden, save the world and recover his title of Assassin at the same time. The story plays from the memory of Desmond Miles, a bartender from modern day (as opposed to an assassin from the crusades) who has been strapped in to the Animus, a futuristic device capable of reading people's memory's. The game features Parkour aspects added to the adventure/stealth/hack and slash game. Assassins Creed was received well but was criticized for its repetitive nature. However, the game did start off a whole new series of much loved games and spin offs with the latest one being Assassin's Creed: Black Flag.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
Conceptualized after the release of Oblivion in 2006 and developed after Fallout 3 in 2008, Skyrim is considered the spiritual successor of these two games. Thanks to their new game engine Creation Engine, the game was able to do so many things that was considered next generation. Adding weight to branches, making the wind affect rivers and snow these are just two of the tiny little details that make this game seem so alive. Character's and scenery were also big parts of development with Bethesda focusing on making each race/character/mountain and building feel unique and essential to the story. Read the review that Euan did for the story/gameplay. The release is a date that we all remember (11/11/11) and so Bethesda really got their timing right... or they would have if someone hadn't leaked it online... or the Netherlands hadn't been selling it since the 7th... or the Australians since the 10th. But, oh well, most of the world got it on that memorable day. The legacy of the game is that of accomplishing many next gen feats as well as re-creating the open world genre.

Wii Sports:
Wii Sports was designed to appeal to non-gamers and casual gamers as well as families. Originally, the game featured Mario characters but the feedback from player showed that they preferred Mii's. The game was bundled with the console as Nintendo believed players would not buy the Wii just for Wii Sports. To begin with, the modes included in the game were tennis, baseball, gold and airplane (like pilotwings) but airplane was scrapped (to be included in Wii Sports Resort, later) and instead replaced with bowling and boxing. Wii Sports was received with mixed reviews, with many people criticizing the difficult/unresponsive controls as well as the lack of in depth gameplay in some of the sports. But the numbers speak for themselves with Wii Sports selling around double the amount that the second-place game did of Super Mario Bros making it the highest selling video game of all time.         
Goodbye for now, Harry

And the blog's collective knowledge

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