Looking forward to another exciting 2014, diving into even more of the history behind gaming’s gems and forgotten side stories. I’ve learned a lot in the past year in refreshing my memories of classic gaming while researching some of the pieces that went up whether it was exploring Ultima’s history or how Miyamoto was hired in because Nintendo’s emperor, Hiroshi Yamauchi, essentially liked the way he thought.
The old saying that “truth is stranger than fiction” was something that constantly proved itself over and over again when piecing together many of these stories, never ceasing to amaze me on how different the industry was decades ago, seeing dreams rise, fall, and then return again, stronger than ever, in so many different ways.
Looking at industry giants such as Electronic Arts and Activision change so much in the decades since they were first founded, how garage developers solo’ed their way into their first companies thanks to ziplock bags and using their houses as their first offices, and the struggle that the PC industry went up against as consoles took the stage — and a piece of a highly lucrative space in the living room.
Now that the Xbox One and the PS4 are out alongside the Wii U, it’s strange at seeing the kind of narratives being created by Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Back in the late eighties and throughout the nineties, Nintendo, Sega, and NEC among many others would boast hardware specs so distinct from each other that the games for each camp stood out in the same way.
Today, the war is over social media and how to connect experiences across a network of shared points, something that trading hints on the pages of Gamepro or telling stories of how to beat Ganon at the end of The Legend of Zelda at lunchtime in school were as social as it could get in gaming’s past. Or, if you want to get a bit more geeky, Usenet posts and BBS .txt files.
Who knows what the next ten, twenty, or even thirty years will bring? Or how gaming will change? For now, it’s a new year and like many journeys, I’ll just take it one step at a time and see what new chapters 2014 will write for the future — and what new stories I can try and delve into from the past.
Stay safe, and Happy New Years everyone!