The First Great Console War

Thinking about it today, it never made any sense, if you spend five minutes looking that Xbox and PlayStation lovers say to each other and trawling gaming forums online, although you can find that mentality. Anyone with their head screwed on correctly can see that these companies are essentially the same. And while some might go in greater ways than others, that fact never really changes. Nintendo is talked about by A good deal of people like their HQ is a type of gambling Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory; joyful minions spending hours crafting the payment they’ll ever want and matches is a kid’s smile. Life simply is not like that, and like most wars there is rarely a clear cut”good guy” The game business isn’t quite as dangerous since the Normandy landings, but console manufacturers will do exactly what they need to do in order to market their product to the masses, with a number of possible buyers wielding a finite amount of money to spend. It had to duke it out when Pong was first released in a home version. Came the Atari 2600 which dominated sales contrary to systems that were largely forgotten like ColecoVision. After the North American video game crash of’83 it looked like console gaming was done for in the States, but SEGA and Nintendo were about to enter the fray, and gaming could be altered forever. Since man first learned to style undergarments humanity has lasted five minutes without starting a war. Whether it’s for soil, for to simply take down a egg like Hitler and his cronies, or faith, we as a people are prone to letting our fists do the talking a little too. Commonly, resources are the reason that we go to war, whether those in power care to admit it or not.

President Bush might like to tell you that the Middle East was invaded by him but it just so happens there’s also a hell of a great deal of oil on the market. Everybody would like to make sure they get their share, when there’s not enough to go around. As Tears For Fears sang,’Everybody Wants To The Rule The World’. The aggressive advertising of the Genesis of SEGA was. Children see the advertising mocking the NES and championing the Genesis as the future, would pick up the latest magazines, and embrace it. Unlike some of the last skirmishes between console manufacturers, the conflict between SEGA and Nintendo attracted players in and effectively set them on the front lines. Being at college in the late eighties meant you were either a SEGA kid or a Nintendo kid, and you fought for your console whether you were at the wrong or in the right. The NES’s achievement demonstrated that gaming might be a way to generate money while the SG-1000 didn’t create much of a splash, and SEGA wanted a piece of that pie. The SEGA Master System was started in 1987 to compete with the NES for market share. Technically, the machine was more powerful than the Nintendo console, but with all the NES having been for a few years, the Master System struggled. Gamers already had the NES, and trying to convince them to change to a new system could be difficult work; an issue made even tougher since third party publishers were largely reluctant to take a risk by releasing games on the system for fear of repercussions from Nintendo, and so the number of games available was limited in comparison to the NES. SEGA were primarily known for making coin operated machines, but they made an attempt at cashing in on the home console market also. Their SG-1000 console actually started in the exact same period as the NES, but due in part to the aforementioned industry accident in North America, the lack of games available for the system, and also the fact that their machine has been underpowered in comparison to the Nintendo console, the SG-1000 never really found any footing. Nowadays, the SG-1000 is largely forgotten about, staying little but a footnote in the pages of video game history. The Master System didn’t come close to overtaking the NES since the number one gaming console, and so SEGA, still needing to control the video game industry, chose to change their approach.

How can you persuade people to change to a console when they already have one that is basically exactly the same? You do not. You create a console that is better, and there’s no debate. And that is what SEGA did. Back in 1989 SEGA released the Mega Drive (named Genesis in the United States), a 16-bit home video game console which was far before the NES in terms of hardware power it amounted to another generation of gaming. To be able to capitalise on the leap their console had made, SEGA decided to take the fight to Nintendo in marketing too, with the now infamous motto,”Genesis does what Nintendon’t”. And the first console war had actually started. Nintendo were a card game company that had witnessed the fascination with board games and card games decrease because the arrival of arcades, and just like any firm that sees the market they accommodated.

Moving into arcade gaming and toys, Nintendo found some measure of success and the upcoming step was to move in to the home video game industry. Atari were the big name in gaming but the wreck of’83 had decimated the business, leaving the business wide open to shoot over. In Japan Nintendo introduced the Family Computer in 1983, and following a successful run in their home country, made plans to go international. In’85, the Famicom (since it had become known) was rebranded as the Nintendo Entertainment System and launched globally.

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