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What a way to wrap up E3. Microsoft announced it's planned restrictions, then took it all back, Sony announced some exciting new games, and Nintendo was just... There. But while we're all hyped up on what coming November will bring us, why not spend these last few months to look back at the console generation that defined storytelling, gameplay, and characters. Not only did these eight years change how we play, what we play, and where we play, but who we play with. They may just be games, but many of us have emotional attachments to some of the most ingenious creations in the genre.
How we play...
The Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii generation introduced a vast array of features and improvements over past generations. From the simple connectivity of Xbox Live, or the many new IPs from Sony, or the motion controls introduced into the Wii. Many features were well implemented; others, not. The Xbox 360, like it's predecessor, charged $50 a year to access Xbox Live, but to greater quality and stability. It didn't work so well with customers with tighter budgets, but did decrease the amount of updates and crashes. The Xbox 360 also launched at a cheaper price over the PS3; which may be the cause for so many people chatting, (and swearing) over matchmaking. In 2010, Microsoft announced the Kinect; A motion control device to compete with the Wii. It sold quite well in the early part of it's life, only to be a laughing stock, once the supposed "Hardcore games" were released to poor scores.
Sony launched the Playstation Network for free; with a subsequent update every few weeks to a month. Sony alternatively offered the steal of a package, Playstation Plus. Giving gamers access to dozens of free and discounted games on the Playstation Store, though it didn't change it's stability issues. Sony did offer many free to play MMOs like DC Universe and Dust 514, and the upcoming Planetside 2 on PS4. Sony also launched it's own motion controls called the Playstation Move, though I doubt anyone bought that...
Nintendo, while falling behind the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in power, and forced motion controls, did amazingly well for several reasons. The price point was less than both PS3 and 360 at $250, the games they put out were incredible, and the ability to purchase older games off their online store. However, they did fall short in the third party section. Many games that were multi-console either worked poorly, had ho-hum remakes, or weren't available at all.
What we play...
Sony announced many new IPs developed by big name developers, like Naughty Dog and Sucker Punch, and completely new teams, like Sanzaru Games and Media Molecule. Master Chief made a huge return on the new console, along with Bioshock and Mass Effect, releasing first on Xbox, while Nintendo mainly stuck to it's roots with fantastic Mario, Animal Crossing, and Zelda titles.
Undoubtably Sony's biggest first party franchise, Uncharted, debuted on Playstation 3, and really put Naughty Dog on the map. It was praised for it's cinematic action, beautiful graphics, and great characters. Two sequels followed Uncharted: Drake's Fortune, and added many new features, characters, and locations.
Bungie brought back the iconic soldier to Xbox 360 with Halo 3, one of the biggest and best shooter franchises to date. With a new story, John "finished the fight," or so we thought... Bungie delivered with great gameplay, story, and was a proper close to the trilogy. To date, across all Halo games under Bungie's development, players have spent over 150,000 years worth of playtime in multiplayer, firefight, and campaign. Fans sure love their Halo.
You can't think of Nintendo without thinking about Mario, or Zelda, or Donkey Kong, or Kirby, or Pokemon, but what if they all came together? Nintendo proved that fans like a bunch of random franchises punching each other two generations before, but Super Smash Bros. Brawl was by far the most well received. There's nothing better than playing with four friends in a tournament, and nothing worse either. Hopefully Nintendo can pull off the same in their upcoming Smash game, SSB U and 3D.*
Thanks for reading!
NOTE: I was planning on writing one part every friday, but part two will be postponed until the friday after at the very least.
Next part I will discuss my personal part of this generation of games.