As a kid, I used to love playing video games, I remember loading up games from tape on my ZX Spectrum eagerly awaiting the blocky pixel games which were so basic that you only required one or 2 buttons at most.
I also remember thinking how far ahead my Atari ST was when I got it – load times were blisteringly quick (yeah right! Compared to the Spectrum, though, they were! This was also my first console which had a dedicated controller, albeit a clunky joystick with one single button for me to frantically mash on my favourite 2d “boxing” game.
I then went through consoles in quick succession, often having 2 or even three at a time, the NES (and then SNES) With one of my all-time favourite platform games, Mario – which I played through several times, including on the Nintendo 64 (wasn’t Super Mario 64 just great?!) Before long, consoles were evolving at a ridiculous rate, it was time to say “So long, dear Bowser!” one last time and move on from the hours of fun on Mario, and trying to beat my fastest lap times on V-Rally and move on to the next big thing, the PS3 – This is where gaming came into its own, with online becoming more common, everyone seemed to have a console.
Games were no longer single player, or multi player if your mates could come round after school, you could connect any time, and play a friend, or a complete stranger – and that, I think, is what really made video games take off in a fashion we’d not seen before. Console releases were more frequent, with all of the big games adding some form of online play, whether it was GTA evolving from its top down 2d look, to it’s almost photo realistic immersive world play online today, or the likes of Call of Duty which have players not only laughing in joy when winning, but wanting to smash their console when losing!
Nowadays, children spend more time indoors playing console and PC based video games, and whilst I may sound like that is how my childhood was spent, I fondly remember spending most of my childhood outside with friends, something that is a lot less frequent in today’s youth – the world has changed due to technology, with even Smartphones (which almost every person over the age of 12 has these days!) and don’t forget that even the most cost effective android tv box is getting a slice of the video game market, there’s never a moment when the current generation is far from the ability to play a game.
Gaming has come on leaps and bounds over the past 20 or so years, from 2d games with very few pixels or functions, to games which allow you to do almost anything, in a virtual world which looks like the real world – and things are only going to evolve further, virtual reality is becoming a thing, and it does beg the question – how long before people spend more time in a virtual world than a real world?