A Gamer’s History

After watching Pixel Pioneers, I reflected on the games that I played in the past. They brought many great memories and positive emotions but with an educational value of zero. My first experience started when I received the Atari 2600 in 1980 or ’81. Some of the games that I recall were Pac-man, Space Invaders, and Asteroid. The novelty of being able to play using a computer and TV was very interesting and at that time didn’t really the graphics. It wasn’t until the next series of consoles that I noticed the improvement in graphics. My friend had the ColecoVision and so I often went to his house to play games such as Donkey Kong. The improved graphics made the games more alive. Each updated system improved on this and I think this was part of the reason I was hooked. The consoles that I bought were Sega Master System, Genesis, Playstation, and Xbox. Sega had the games Space Harrier and Out Run, which were my favorites. At this time, I began to notice the music which when matched well, enhanced the game’s playability. For example, in Out Run I imagined that I was cruising in a convertible enjoying the music and fine weather. Space Harrier I found the music made the game more exciting. The graphics for both these games were amazing at that time. The camera perspectives were similar but Space Harrier had a 3D feel to it.


The arcades also created a lot of excitement. My thinking was that real games were played here. The machines were more powerful which made the games were realistic. I practiced at home and tried to showcase my skills at the arcade. One of the games that stood was the first Streetfighter, which came out in 1987. The graphics and complexity of moves were unbelievable. These games out classed the consoles until PlayStation in 1994. This system created a new standard. Visual and character animations were better than arcades and the games would could allow for more complex decisions with the introduction of virtual worlds using polygon realm. Even motorsports with games like Gran Tourismo allowed for more decision making with cars that could be modified with a number of different equipment to simulate how they would behave based on their make and model. My gaming days came to an end with Xbox. I had many hours of fun and one thing I regret was not setting it up online to see what that experience was like. It will be interesting to see if Second Life can cultivate the emotions brought by consoles. From early indications, it’s hard say. The game is very different from my previous experiences with “games”. I think the complexity of working out problems through a collaborative effort will be one of the incentives that attract users. It will be interesting to see if the game can bring an emotional high in addition to a learning experience. That would make for a powerful tool! Regardless the experience will augment my understanding of games, simulations, and virtual worlds. It’s a fascinating topic to explore. Some of my movie favorites are Total Recall, Ghost in a Shell, and the Matrix.  That said, a new gadget I’d like to test are virtual reality eyewear or headsets.


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