The Zero Hour

Reviews, rants and oddities on video game and film culture.

A Decade in gaming

So yesterday, we counted down the greatest video games of the decade and it just made me realise how quickly we’ve moved on in the past decade with video games. I think the past decade has been the most important since the ’80’s in terms of innovation. Why?

Well, first of all, it’s become bigger. Back in the ’90’s, video games were a cult. Enjoyed only by children (most of whom would grow out of them) and few adults. But it was a steady cult, nontheless, which allowed Sony, Nintendo and Sega to continue their business. At the turn of the millenium, we were still reveling in our 64-bit (Nintendo 64) and 32 bit (Playstation) consoles, Donkey Kong 64 was the most popular game at the time. However, that was about to change.

in 2000, pretty much off the bad, change was on it’s way. The next generation had begun with the launch of Sega’s Dreamcast, a console tha baoated 128-bit graphics and online support and Playstation had sold over 100 millions copies. Nintendo were still hanging on there and selling well, but the playstation was attracteing everyone to video gaming (in a similar way to the Wii’s popularity now) The Sims was released, aiming at a wider audience in order to create, live and potentially destroy a bunch of virtual people. Suddenly, all that hate for your neighbour went away as they burned in a fire…

Sony, impressed by their success, released the PS2, officially the most succesful console of all time and aimed it at teenagers/twentysomethings. This proved to be a good plan for the business, bad news for other gamers, who now had to put up with beer guzzling, loud mouth morons popularizing FiFa games. But I’m not bitter…Anyway, Nintendo decided to get their act together and release a next generation console, called the GameCube, it would be more powerful than the PS2 and use smaller discs and promised less loading time. The downside, it can’t play DVD’s…(good move, guys…)

However, in 2001 they were beaten to the post by Microsoft, who realised the potential of the Video game industry and launched the Xbox, which after a shakey start, released, so-so shoot ’em ‘up (as they were once called, before Counter strike) Halo, which then skyrocketed sales and the console gained the same audience as the PS2. Nintendo released the Gamecube to good reception. The console launched with a odd selection of games, from a Star Wars license, a game starring Luigi and Monkey’s in rubber balls (FTR, best game at launch) The latter was released by Sega, who by this point had retired from console making due to the commercial failure of the Dreamcast.

2002 came along and didn’t offer any new surprises (apart from the Xbox and Gamecube launch in Europe) Grand Theft Auto was condemned by people dumb enough to think that video gaming was “for children” and Nintendo suffered a huge blow in popularity, upon selling their 49% share in 2nd party developer Rareware, makers of Goldeneye, Perfect Dark and Banjo Kazooie. Microsoft had alreay bought the other 51% meaning the company was now a division of MGS (Microsoft Gaming Studios, not as some thought, Metal Gear Solid)

The rest of the generation proved uneventful. The Playstation 2 sold over 140 million units, the Gameboy Advance even more, and Video game sales began on the decline. Valve also created the Steam network on PC, online gaming was about to change…

In 2005, after announcement of the PS3 and Wii, Microsoft, due to eagerness, rushed out the Xbox 360, with it’s excellent Online system and HD-DVD support, it was released to acclaim. However, for all their enthusiasm, it would be a while before the Xbox 360 properly took off. The Nintendo DS, a 2 screened touch based console, released with 64 bit grpahics (and bastily less powerful than the PSP) was selling like hot cakes with games aimed the non-gaming market such as Brain Training and Nintendogs.

In 2006. The Ps3 and Nintendo Wii were released. The PS3 with HD graphics, a built in Blu-ray player and online support and the Wii with widescreen support, motion controllers and small memory. Guess which one sold more?

That’s right,  The Wii. In a similar move to the Nintendo DS, as well as releasing games for their core fans, the company released games such as Wii Sports and Wii Play, this made the console popular. Everyone owned a Wii or wanted to play one. Video games were no longer a cult success, GMTV played one, adverts involving Ant & Dec, kids got obsessed,

and to be honest, as a Nintendo fan, it kind of became embarrasing as a gamer to exclusively own one. It sparked the Hardcore/Casual debate about games, a blurred line in the sand about gamers themselves and the games they play, really it’s a big contradiction. looking at the trends of the latter half, we saw the First Person Shooter genre explode in popularity, thanks to Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare, music rythm games, such as Activision’s whoring of the Guitar Hero franchise and Wii_____

As the decade closes, we stand at a time of change again. Microsoft’s Project Natal is almost ready for launch (a device that effectively gets rid of controllers) and we’re eargly anticipating Nintendo and Sony’s next move towards the next generation. I’ll leave you with all important stats and sayings of the decade in gaming.

Most successful console
Playstation 2 (140 million sales worldwide)

Most successful handheld
Nintendo DS (113 million sales worldwide and still counting)

Most succesful game
Wii Sports (45.71 million sales and still counting)

Slang and words of gaming in the ’00’s, a beginners guide

Leetspeak – Gaming slang that uses unique spelling and grammer with a combination of words letters and numbers.

N00b – A person who isn’t very good at a game, often used as an insult

Headshot – Shooting a players character in the head, causing an instant kill

Gib – Short for Giblets, when a player has been killed in a foul way and reduced to parts.

Frag – To kill a player

One shot – killing a player in one shot (most often possible with Headshot)

Leet – a highly skilled player, the opposite to noob and often spelt 1337

Uber – German word for over. But in gaming means Super, for example uber pwnage. Means awesome kill.

Pwn/Own – Said to show that you killed a player to humiliate him “You got pwn’d!”

Camping – Waiting in a single place throughout the match, mainly for items to respawn.

Lag – A momentary slow down in connection

Troll – A person who goes on the game but either insults, does nothing but talk, or remain AFK purposely, to annoy other players.

AFK – Away From Keyboard, when someone stays online, but has something unintended to do (long periods of this can get you booted from the game.

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