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Back in the day—and I only know about this due to the Interwebs—there was a marvelous invention called the Atari, the OG of video game consoles. Sure, the pixels weren't very pretty, and the controllers look like a monstrosity now, but back then, it was a diversion from the plethora of board games available back then. Nowadays, a lot more pixels are used, and memory space for one slot can even equal many, many megabytes. In here, I shall explore the gradual evolution of the graphics and gameplay of something that probably only thought was going to be a trend, but has now lasted about 40 years or so.
Since we're talking about evolution, the next step was actually Game N'Watch. Yes, yes, this was essentially a ploy to raise money for Nintendo to get to the next step, but indeed, it showed what portable gaming would look like. Despite the fact it was in black and white and not in color like the Atari, it was definitely a wonder to look at, especially since its Shape kinda looks like the 2DS oddly enough. Again, though, this was just foreplay to Nintendo's actual step in the gaming.
This was of course the NES, aka the Nintendo Entertainment System. Originally called Famicom (short for "family computer"), this started Nintendo's line of excellent, and fun, consoles. With Super Mario (originally called Jumpman, but got changed due to the fact the character looked like someone's landlord)/Duck Hunt being the first game packaged with it, the console was definitely off to a great start. This gave birth to the black-and-white portable cousin, the Game Boy, along with the better version, the SNES, which actually had tricks in certain games that made it seem like the player was playing in 3D, the most noteworthy being of course Mario Kart. Due to Nintendo's success in the gaming market, this of course gave way to many competitors down the road.
The first main competitor was Sega's Genesis. Though both had cartridges, there was definitely a large improvement in graphics, and sophistication in controller design, along with giving birth to what would forever be Sega's logo: Sonic The Hedgehog. So popular was this that it even gave birth to the Sega CD, another boost in graphics, and the first console to have a CD-ROM in it.
Both Nintendo's success and Sega's success gave birth to many forgettable consoles, including ones from Radio Shack (which had a cartridge system that looked like an audio cassette) and Panasonic (let's just all forget that there was a game based on a TV Show based on one of Nintendo's most well-known franchises, okay?). In fact, the biggest leap in gaming didn't come until the Playstation, Sony's first entry into the gaming market. One of the biggest flagships for this console was Crash Bandicoot, an American-made game that got so popular in Japan that there was even a Crash Bandicoot dance (no joke, but trust me, a bit cringeworthy to watch). The console also introduced Parapa the Rappa and the Tekken series, with the former later gaining popularity on Nintendo consoles, which makes sense since the original prototype for the console was essentially a CD mount thing for the SNES. It looked so weird, that Sony decided to scrape the idea in favor of a CD-only console.
Many consoles have come and gone since then, with Microsoft being the latest to enter the console market, but at least to me, Nintendo and Sony will always have a place in the gaming world no matter what year.