Space Invaders being the very first game made by Japan which started the craze for gaming, because of its simple nature of playing and no complexities which included only shooting the descending aliens. It quickly became a smash hit and by the end of 1978, Taito had made $600 million in Japan and installed 100,000 Space Invader machines — with some arcades dedicated solely to the game.
While on the other hand the western market was being flooded by new consoles like Coleco, Atari 2600, Sears and Tandyvision just to name a few and each had to offer their own set of games which we now know as “Exclusives” caused saturation and the constant flooding of video games into the market
After the huge success of Space Invaders by Taito, Namco another company from Japan released PacMan and by now we all know it has become an all time classic. Invented just two years after the release of ‘space invaders’ Pacman introduced a new genre to the gaming world for ‘maze chase’ types and since then numerous times it has been copied and recreated on nearly every platform.
Which also happened to be the main reason behind the Crash of 83 also know as Atari Shock in Japan, with so many consoles flooding the market with their own exclusives, the decline in console sales increased. The crash decimated the gaming industry and left several companies bankrupt in the process. The crash lasted 2 years.
That is where Nintendo a Japan based company stepped in the console market with NES, more popularly known as the famicon. It made an immediate impression and after a very short span of its release it could be found in almost 37% of the homes in Japan. The famicon was released two years later in the U.S.
The console with it’s release in US breathed a new life back into the dead gaming market as we know it. With huge success brought huge competition. Another Japan based company Sega entered the console market with its own console.
While one was offering Super Mario the other offered Sonic the Hedgehog. One boasted about Super Graphics while the other called out “Nintendon’t”. It was a perfect time to be a gamer as the gamer themselves become a part of this huge rivalry between two gaming giants from Japan. Now knows as “Console Wars”
According to the gaming expert and the author of “Console wars”, Blake J Harris:”without the contribution of Japan we wouldn’t have a video game industry or at least not one that we have today”.
To ridicule Sega for their “Genesis does what Nintendon’t” commercials, Nintendo started development on a handheld portable gaming console which we now know as Game Boy. Nowadays playing games like Skyrim or Doom on the Go sounds cool. Back in the day just the thought of playing Legend of Zelda and Pokemon or Mario was thought unbelievable and revolutionary.
In the 1988, Nintendo and Sony started to work on a supercharged version for the NES which was capable of playing both regular cartridge and new disc games.
But after it was announced at the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas in 1991 the deal broke off and unfortunately the ’Nintendo PlayStation’ never materialized, but Sony seeing a huge potential in the gaming market reworked on the idea and made its own PlayStation which operated on the C.D Rom format. The console was supposedly cheaper and offered developers much more space for creating games like “Tomb raider”,”Tekken 2”and “Grand Turismo” because of being on a CD instead of a cartridge. With a cheap price, 3D Graphics and impressive an library to chose from Sony PlayStation became the first gaming console to sell more than a 100 million units.
Seeing the success of Sony’s 3D graphics, Nintendo decided to ditch 2D and start development on 3D Graphics and the result was Mario 64 which was the first 3D platformer, to do 3D platforming right. The controls were impeccable: hours of fun could be had by simply running around as Mario outside Princess Peach’s castle — something the game’s legendary creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, is said to have done it for months, as he perfected the technology, but that wasn’t enough game like Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, StarFox64 and GoldenEye just to name a few all utilized 3D graphics.
By 1998 Sega decided to leave the hardware market after the Sega Saturn was a huge failure and decided to enter the software market. which is why you see games like Sonic on every platform now.
With the start of 21st Century Nintendo and Sony both are still competing and due to this competition, We get to see new and more powerful hardware with each generation and it is all thanks to Japan.
Which was your first gaming console? Let me know in the comments down below