Ah Pokemon the good ol’ days

Man I remember Pokemon, it was when I was in the 5th grade and everyone in my school and schools from all over the place were hooked on it. Everything from the game to the playing cards to even the movies and memorabilia. We would trade and compare cards, play the game with each other and battle or trade Pokemon. Me and my friends were so into the game back then that we could recognize the Pokemon just by the little sound that played when you encountered them. We would even quiz each other on evolutions, tricks and tips and the like. Of course that was only with the original 151 Pokemon. Everyone remembers the Blue and Red version? That was definitely the best; great childhood memories. I feel really attached to the original versions but I think they are beating a dead horse with the new versions that keep coming out. let’s see, after red and blue came yellow, then Silver and Gold. Then the remake of the original with Fire Red and Leaf Green followed by Ruby and Sapphire then Diamond and Platinum now finally Black and White. To be honest I probably missed a set in there somewhere.

Pokemon used to be so big, the trading card game was so popular that the good cards were as good as actual money in some places. The TV series was probably the highlight of every kid’s weeknight as they came out with new episodes every couple of weeks. What happened to games like this? Why was Pokemon so popular and why has nothing else been able to replicate its success? Honestly I wish games of this magnitude would come out more, it kind of unites everyone ya know? Its like something that everyone is interested in and can talk to others about. Its so rare that something as simple as a game could accomplish something like this but Pokemon is proof that a game can unite a nation. Everyone remembers the news reports of how Pokemon cards were banned in schools nationwide? That’s because everyone one in every school had them! It was like an epidemic! Sometimes I wish they would leave classic games like that alone instead of milking it until there is nothing left. I hope one day something becomes as popular as Pokemon so kids can have the same experience as we did with Pokemon

What’s going on at Michigan?!

Video games are bustin’ out all over the place… a classical studies professor starts talking about them, but even before that (OK, like 19 years before that) a video game tournament described as “frenzied” broke out in South Quad.  Read all about those who came before you here, including plenty of Jurassic trash talking.

What ever happened to the good ol’ days?

The new era of gaming has been set upon us, one that has broken all the other rules of gaming since I’ve known it. Flashback to the 1990’s, the game systems that were out were the playstation, sega genesis and the N64, Xbox was not even created yet. Times were good, playstation had the Final Fantasy games in their pocket, Grandtheft Auto, and of course Spyro! Sega had their trademark Sonic while N64 had Mario. Then the next gen of systems came out; Playstation 2, Dreamcast and the Gamecube. Dreamcast tries a revolutionary thing, they try to do online gaming. Sega had the idea of uniting everyone through the interenet and take gaming to a whole new level. One where people can play with and against each other from the comfort of their own home. Unfortunately the world was just not ready for this advancement because normal people did not have cable internet and dial-up was just not able to handle gaming. This cost Sega dearly as the company went bankrupt.

Around the same time Xbox hits the market and also shakes up the world of gaming. Xbox gave rise to the Halo series and it rose to the top ranks with a single game under its wing. Xbox was marketed to older teens and adults, much like the Playstation was, while the gamecube was marketed toward younger children. Xbox started to give playstation a run for their money when they started taking titles from them such as GTA and spyro and eventually even final fantasy, all the while still able to keep Halo as their exclusive.

Flashforward and here we are today. A new generation of systems has come about us; The Xbox 360, Wii and PS3.The time was finally right and online gaming has been taken to new heights. Not only can you play online with each other but you can play gameshows from your console, even play motion sensor games with friends online! What a crazy world this has become eh? Prior to this new generation of consoles, gaming systems were only expected to stay current for about 4 years, during this time the gaming companies would be looking for new ways to improve their systems and come out with the next console with better graphics, better processors and pretty much better everything. The new consoles however are expected to be able to last up to 15 years meaning that we probably wont be seeing a new system come out until around 2015-2020. With the new ability to play on the internet companies can just update the systems with new patches, even games can fix bugs and glitches via the internet.

What I find most concerning is the fact that gaming seems to be taken to a new level of reclusiveness. It used to be that you would invite a friend or two over to play video games. You could play against each other in sports of shooter games or you could take turns playing RPGs and so on. With the new rise of online gaming I hear a lot of “oh, I’ll just see you online” when I aske friends to come over to play video games. There is a certain feeling that you get when two people are actually in a room playing together but now it just seems like people want to stay in the comfort of their own homes to play. It seems that with the new rise of party chatting and online playing things have been shaken up a lot. Not only are things different between playing with friends but it is also different because you are playing against people that you cannot see. This gives rise to the people who I call E-thugs; the people who are tough only in online settings. This is the kind of person that will trash talk your ear off even though you are doing multiples better than him, the person that everyone time they kill you or score on you will call you a noob and tell you that you suck. Sure you can block this guy but what about all the other thousands of people that you meet that are like this?

I used to play in tournaments for Halo 3 and when I was at the tournaments people treated each other with respect. Often times I wondered if these guys would be different if we were only playing online and had no face to face interaction, are these the guys that shove every kill down the throats of people less skilled than themselves?

With the new rise of video games comes a whole new set of problems. I am always respectful when I play competitive games. Whether I win or lose I always commend people on their wins, I am always the guy that says “Oh man that was an amazing shot that you had on me.” but more times than not, the courtesy is never returned. The new era of games is upon us and I say that new is not always better.

A History of Video Games

Did you know that the very first video games were made using oscilloscopes?  Well, they were! That’s how games like PONG started out. Here’s a video that shows a brief history of games, from the oscilloscopes up to the PS3 and Xb0x 360!

http://vimeo.com/18743950

I’m a little disappointed that the video didn’t show a more Xbox-exclusive game (they show Rock Band instead of an exclusive title like Halo: Reach or Fable 2, whereas they use God of War 3 on the PS3 and Super Smash Bros. Melee for the GameCube, both of which are exclusives), but the evolution is pretty neat.

Also, fun aside that you may not be able to tell in the video, Mario of Super Mario fame was actually first featured in the original Donkey Kong arcade game!

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