The Tech that Changed Gaming!

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Have you seen the games back in the 80 to early 90s where it was 2D, and very simplistic? Have you always wondered why consoles back in the day used cartridges and floppy disks? In the old days of the late 80s and early 90s, console gaming was very popular due to the successful Nintendo console of Super Nintendo (SNES). In the early 90s (1994), Sony decided to enter the console gaming with the revolutionary console of Playstation (PS1).

People who were gaming in the old days use to store games through their floppy disks, or cartridges on the consoles. The downside about the floppy disks and cartridges for consoles were that they were very limited in memory, and can only do so much in terms of limitations for games. As a result, Nintendo and Sony agreed to use another more revolutionary alternative to store the memory of games through the CD-ROM Method (Physical CDs). However, contracts disputes occurred between Nintendo, and Sony, and plans for collaboration disappeared.

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Until the release of the play station, console games were primarily cartridge based, and the cartridges were quite expensive to produce, and had long manufacturing cycles. In addition, 3D gaming and full motion technology requires large amount of data, which meant that putting those features in cartridges were expensive, and impossible to make a profit.

Benefits of CD-ROM:

Held more memory than floppy disks or cartridges,

could interface audio, data and graphical files simultaneously,

can be quickly manufactured,

less costly than other alternatives at the time

The Playstation was designed by Ken Kutargi (who previously designed the audio chip for the SNES), he designed a powerful chip that was able to support the graphical demands that the Playstation was outputting.

Commercial Success:

Due to the video game crash that happened in the 80s, companies were afraid to label their consoles as “Video Game System” but rather label it as an entertainment system to consumers for a better perception. Nintendo did label the SNES as an entertainment system. Sony also did the same thing with their console of Playstation (PS1), and labeled their system as a “computer entertainment system” implying that the console can do it all such as playing Music CDs, and etc.

At last, on December 3rd, 1994, the Playstation was released in Japan, one week after the Saga Saturn at the retail cost of $387 USD at the time. It was a popular hit as their were long lines from consumers across Japan, and was labeled as one of their innovative products since the WalkMan in the 1970s.

“ The look of the PlayStation was dramatically different than the Saturn, which was beige (in Japan), bulky, and somewhat clumsy looking. In contrast, the PlayStation was slim, sleek, and gray, with a revolutionary controller that was years ahead of the Saturn’s SNES-like pad. The new PSX joypad provided unheardof control by adding two more buttons on the shoulder, making a total of eight buttons. The two extended grips also added a new element of control. Ken Kutaragi realized the importance of control when dealing with 3 Dimensional game worlds.” (IGN)

Furthermore, PS1 was released in the US that retailed at $299. and also had massive success as it was $100 less than the Saga Saturn, and sold over 100,000 units were already presold at launch.

Critical Point: While games today are more graphically advanced, and controls are better defined. PS1 is still recognized as the console who introduced gamers to 3D world of games, and kick started the CD-ROM Revolution.

Personal View: The game I really enjoyed on the original playstation that I use to play back in the day when I was really little (1999?) was Mega Man. I thought that game was so visually appealing on the PS1, and challenging at the same time. The Playstation (PS1) gave me fond memories in my childhood.