Video games: old vs. new

Bruce Wallace

X-Box? PS2? Gamecube? What ever happened to the good old days of simple video gaming? What happened to the Super Mario Brothers? What happened to the good old days when a kid used to blow into a Nintendo game, press start and it would start right up?
The game had basic graphics, and basic controlling. They were longer and more fun to play. One could sit down for hours trying to beat the Mario Brothers number 3 or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Not beating the game meant starting all over again. There were no memory cards, only codes to write down.
Nowadays playing a video game is almost like watching a movie. With all of the intense graphics and hardcore game play, it makes it difficult for children of our generation to play these new systems.
When Nintendo was developed in 1983, people swarmed to get a taste of the new state of the art, “wave of technology,” video game system.
The state of the art was before the personal computer. People were all dressing in loafers with no socks, and tide-dye shirts with sport coats.
The Nintendo consisted of a gray cube with a power button and reset button in the front with a flip down panel for the game and two simple plug-in cords in the back. The controller was a gray rectangle with a total of five buttons, a start, a select, an A button, a B button and the navigational pad.
The games were square with a hole on the bottom and the circuit board was exposed. When putting the game in the system, it was neccessary to blow the dust off of the circuit board so it would work properly before pressing the power button. Then kids and even parents would play these games for hours on end.
When Nintendo was first released it cost at most $120, and the games would run about $30 on an average. If one needed an extra controller it would be $15.
Today, everyone is getting into the video game spirit with an endless amount of systems, from and endless amount of manufacturers.
Take Microsoft’s new X-box for example, “The New Wave of Technology.”
The X-box is a black square, with a big “X” on the top. Then in the front of the box there are four game controller ports that allow “easy multiplayer gaming” (as indicated on the box). The Nintendo enable other peripherals, ranging from game pads to voice-activated headsets.
The X-box consists of a front-loading CD/DVD/game tray, a multi-signal audio-video connector (that allows for easy hookup to entertainment systems), an Ethernet port for rich, fast-action online gaming via a broadband connection. It features an intel 733MHz processor, the most powerful CPU of any console, and an internal hard drive, for massive storage of game information – a first in the console gaming industry.
The controller for the X-box is big and black with an eight way navigational pad, left and right analog sticks, left and right shoulder triggers, six pressure-sensitive multicolored analog buttons, dual slots for memory cards and other peripherals, and a built-in “rumble” feature to increase gaming realism.
The X-box is currently on the market for $299. The games run anywhere from $50-$60. And, of course, an extra controller will be $40.
Video games have literally gone from a small grey box to a multi-user’s unit. Do we really need all these things to keep us entertained?