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Posted by Tom Cheesewright on

Fun and Games: The history of the console

Just been down to the BBC studios and not for Flashback as usual — I was too slow confirming my availability with the producers so they replaced me this week. Instead I recorded a short interview about the history of computer games for a show going out tomorrow might at 10pm — 95.1FM in the Manchester area or nationwide on iPlayer.

Being more of a tech generalist than a games specialist I did a bit of digging around in advance and came across the great site at: http://www.thegameconsole.com/. The copy tells you enough to see how the technology has changed and the pictures provide a great history of the style of gaming technology over the last 30 years. Check out the wood veneer!

The point I made on the radio was that for all the advances in the technology, the mechanics of gameplay have remained largely the same. What sucks us in and keeps us playing is the thrill of the chase, the fear, the competition, and that is still achieved through very similar constructs to the first games: Wii Tennis is only a more sophisticated PongPortal a graphical Granny’s GardenCrysis a super-slick Beach-head. Great graphics, intuitive interfaces and awesome sound might mean we need a little less imagination to immerse ourselves in the action, but the fundamentals of a great game are the same today as they were in 1972 when the Magnavox Odyssey, the first console, hit the shelves.

Tom Cheesewright