Human beings have a basic need for entertainment. What can one do to pass the time? Reading books, watching films and listening to music are satisfying, but they do not fulfill that urge to win. The competitive and creative spirit among humans is what inspired the creation of sports, street games, board games and more.
As technology advanced and gaming made its way into the virtual-digital realm, video games came into being. This became an immediate charm for introverts and those who desired instant gratification or an interactive challenge beyond the real world. Gaming consoles became best sellers by tagging on to this need for virtual gaming platforms within the comfort of one’s own home. The following are some of the most influential gaming consoles of all time:
Ralph Baer, a German-American engineer, designed the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972. It was the first ever gaming console that could be kept at home and which was capable of displaying more than three moving objects at once. The device created various play areas which were possible due to the colored overlays. About 40 transistors and diodes replaced microchips and the console could simulate simple games like Table Tennis.
Atari Video Computer System (VCS)
The 1970s had numerous home consoles, but the Atari VCS emerged as a victor with its launch in 1977. The device had ROM game cartridges, a 6507 microprocessor of 1.19 MHz MOS Technology and was the last to have wooden paneling. Although it had many competitors like Intellivision and ColecoVision, games like Space Invaders and Adventure and Breakout gave the Atari VCS the necessary push to beat the rest.
Nintendo Entertainment System
Launched in 1983, the Nintendo Entertainment System entered the market and took on the title of the savior of the console industry in the 80s. The system introduced rigorous quality control measures and kept an eye on the market of third-party developers do that crappy titles wouldn’t flood the scene. The gamepad replaced the joystick and brought forward games like Super Mario Bros, Metroid and Zelda.
The Sony PlayStation was launched in 1994 and was a cross between a SNES and a CD-Rom drive. It was developed in a partnership with Nintendo and its designer, Ken Kuturagi, built it to drive quick 3D visuals—becoming the first device to do so. The console's target market was a well-off youth in their 20s and installed their demo units in nightclubs. The console had games like Tekken and Driver.
Among Microsoft’s greatest masterpieces is the Xbox 360 which was launched in 2005. Although the original Xbox was great, the 360 took gaming to the next level by providing multiplayer service. Further, the console even allowed a smooth play online along with mechanisms like GamerScore and Achievement points to inspire players to spend more time perfecting their game. The console was a success due to the popularisation of the need for a connected console and shifting 80m units, despite its being faulted for the ‘Red Ring of Death’ and other such issues.
Launched in 2006, the Nintendo Wii replaced the underperforming N64 and GameCube with the feature of a motion controller that took it made it shoot in the market. The motion controller allowed the user to experience an intuitive physical interphase. The console uses wireless technology inspired by mobile phones and remote control devices which the designers, Ken’ichiro Ashida and Shigeru Miyamoto, quickly inculcated in the device. The console sold 100m units with the target market as mothers who weren't used to gaming technologies.