Out with the old
In the space of 24 hours two news posts caught my eye which I thought I’d talk about. The first is that after 13 years Sony Japan are talking about shutting down production of the most popular games console ever made, the Playstation 2.
The second is a story about another console being launched this year not involving the big three which is being partly funded by a Kickstarter campaign, The Game Stick.
It got me thinking about how things have changed in those 13 years. How quickly we’re progressing, how high our expectations are and how unreasonable as a community are we getting. That last part i’ll come back to in a later post.
13 years ago the Playstation 2 came out and I remember the excitement. I myself didn’t get one straight away but I had a couple of friends that did and we were all blown away. The jump was always huge in how games look from console to console but it seemed greater this time. It felt as if games were finally growing up and the same time that I was reaching adulthood (I still haven’t quite reached it but that’s for another day) Grand Theft Auto 3 was the biggest example for me as I’d played the first two games on my PC and while I enjoyed them, the top down style was a world away from the open world game we now had. It’s often spoken of as being a watershed moment for gaming and I share that sentiment. I think what isn’t spoken of as much is how the Playstation was designed to look as though you’d want it in your front room. It was designed to be your go to entertainment device as it had a DVD player built into it. This was the first step to consoles being aimed at adults which made sense as the average gamer age was growing all the time.
I however thought it was ugly as hell
Look at it’s 80’s hifi look. The thick plastic, the unevenness, the crappy retro-before-retro-was-cool styling of it all. I hated how it looked with a passion and only bought one myself when the silver edition came out later. However looking back I now LOVE the Playstation 2 look. It is a classic now and it will always be the top selling games console ever. Unless something drastic happens in the future, it will stay that way. But when I say drastic, I mean Zombie apocalypse drastic in which the only cure is to buy a wii. Then things would change. Although I’d still try my luck without buying a wii to be honest (I strongly dislike them). With the news of production finishing I now want to find a mint condition model of the PS3 and display it in my man cave of gaming that will one day happen should my wife let me and we get a mansion. Until I get my cave I should still get one just in case. I’ll probably never play it though as it doesn’t come with trophy support or internet. Plus the graphics will destroy my eyes and ruin my memories. I’ll just look at it proudly, remember the amazing games I used to play on it and then buy the HD remakes of the games I used to play and play them on my current consoles.
“But the graphics are in HD. I MUST BUY IT”
Which leads me to the second story. A new console has been put onto kickstarter for help with their funding (And find out if the console would have a fanbase to start with so they won’t loose too much money) and it’s beautiful in how simple the design is.
The Game stick is a console that plugs directly into the HDMI port on your TV, It’s powered by the HDMI, comes with inbuilt wifi adapter, Bluetooth for the controller and flash memory. Your game files will be stored on a cloud based service and you download games from the interface. The console will also fit into the controller when not in use. Like so.
It’s such a brilliant idea and shows just how far we’ve come in just over a decade. More power is stored in something smaller than a PS3 controller than in the entire PS3. Imagine going on holiday and being able to take your console with you and plug it into the TV in your hotel room when you get there. Actually I’m kind of annoyed as this comes out in April, I’m going away for two weeks in March and I’m getting a bit fidgety about going that long without my consoles. Anyway….
The Game stick follows on from another beautiful piece of hardware also funded by Kickstarter which I’m also supporting called the Ouya. It’s a beautiful piece of kit which manages some impressive stats for something smaller than my Swindon town hot chocolate mug (I don’t drink tea or coffee alright? Get over it).
Look at how gorgeous it is……..MMMMMmmmmmmmm tiny
I’m really excited about what these consoles mean for the industry. This would be an ideal platform for indie game producers to potentially get onto the market without having to jump through the very restrictive hoops of the big three. Games like super meat boy, Fez, the recent Mega man anniversary game would be a perfect fit and probably get more attention than if they’re competing against bigger games. I would hope this would make the bigger companies sit up, pay attention and get a big more creative about what they’re producing. Currently the indie market is gaining momentum and these two new consoles could be a tipping point.
I just hope in a few years time I can look back on these consoles and have as many fond memories as I do with the PS2.
I’m still Playing Super meat boy. It just keeps getting harder and harder and more soul destroying and more soul destroying But it’s still fantastic. Before I was getting through 10+ levels per one bath my wife takes. Now it’s closer to two. My wife’s bath times are my prime gaming hours and a new unit of time I’ve just created.
I actually saved a replay of a level which took me about half an hour to complete. One clear run of this level takes about 13 seconds. That’s a lot of dead meat boys considering the last run was at the end. I didn’t go back to do the level faster. As soon as I finished it, I wiped the foam from my mouth, shut my eye lids to re hydrate them a little and attempted the next level. I will carry on and finish it very soon, hopefully before my TV has been damaged beyond repair.
The Game stick kick starter should you want to get involved.