The Gaming Evolution: Old to New to Vintage

Pix­els: a minute area of illu­mi­na­tion on a dis­play screen, one of many from which an image is com­posed.

We hard­ly notice them with the high res­o­lu­tion screens we now use, where every image is smoothened and hyper-real­is­tic. The games we now play have incred­i­ble AI (arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence), such as F.E.A.R’s enemy’s intel­li­gence, and superb atmos­pher­ic back­grounds. But that doesn’t mean we for­get the begin­nings from whence these high-tech and advanced games come from, because every new game is built from a sin­gle pix­el.

Old School: refers to any­thing that is from an ear­li­er era or any­thing that may be con­sid­ered old-fash­ioned.

Our new-age games are evo­lu­tions of its pre­his­toric ances­tors, the 3-dimen­sion­al ver­sions that link many abbre­vi­a­tions into a sin­gle game — MMORPG (mas­sive­ly mul­ti­play­er online role play­ing game), FPS (first per­son shoot­er). But remem­ber the times when the first PlaySta­tion came out, or when con­trol­lable-mov­ing pix­els were a thing of the future? Those were the seeds to which our cur­rent favourites evolved from, the seeds which we will dig up and redis­cov­er, as new ver­sions of these games cloud the mem­o­ry of a dis­tant past we should not for­get. The old school games.

Boot up: to turn on one’s com­put­er


The first PlaySta­tion (PS1)

I don’t know if you remem­ber the grey box that sits in front of you as you plug in — yes there were wires! — your con­troller to play. Boot up the sys­tem and put in the disk as the game whirrs to life.

  1. Final Fan­ta­sy VII

Prob­a­bly one of the most leg­endary names in gam­ing his­to­ry, this was what Final Fan­ta­sy VII looked like in the begin­ning. It was the game that prob­a­bly pop­u­larised Japan­ese role play­ing games to the rest of the world, with the graph­ics, music, plot and game­play receiv­ing numer­ous praise.

When com­put­er graph­ics and dig­i­tal art were not as refined or advanced, you could see how the char­ac­ters were made chunky and their fea­tures were more sim­pli­fied shapes rather than the life-like resem­blance we see today in the Final Fan­ta­sy VII Remake.


  1. Grand Theft Auto I

In the same grand scheme of things, one of the oth­er pop­u­lar games on the PlaySta­tion is Grand Theft Auto (GTA). Even now, Grand Theft Auto remains one of the best sell­ing games in the world, with the lat­est GTA V emerg­ing as the first best sell­er in Unit­ed Kingdom’s charts.

The sto­ry­line fol­lows a band of rob­bers, which the users role­play as, as they attempt to com­plete their crim­i­nal mis­sions. Today’s GTA is a three dimen­sion­al game with superb graph­ics and a dizzy­ing array of weapons play­ers can use. How­ev­er, do you recall the clas­sic bird’s-eye-view style that GTA orig­i­nal­ly start­ed out with, and how the start-up screen will shout out its clas­sic ‘GRAND THEFT AUTO!’?

With the funky elec­tron­ic music in the back­ground, GTA of the past was less real­is­tic in terms of gore and hence more adorable in a way that you can’t help but rem­i­nisce.



Avatar: a playable char­ac­ter that may or may not be cus­tomis­able by the user.


The Super Nin­ten­do

The con­sole that has secured Nintendo’s posi­tion as one of the top gam­ing com­pa­nies in the world. This 16-bit home video game con­sole took the world by storm back in the 1990s. Com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sors and com­rades around at that time, the Super Nin­ten­do had an advanced sound and graph­ics sys­tem, mak­ing it one of the ‘must-haves’ for every gamer, and prob­a­bly every boy then.

  1. Super Mario Kart

Super Mario is prob­a­bly the world’s most icon­ic video game, with his tagline “ It’s me, Mario!”, pop­ping into your head in heav­i­ly-accent­ed Ital­ian. The pop­u­lar Wii game Super Mario Kart is a favourite, espe­cial­ly with the younger ones, and it is a great game to play with friends as you zoom through race cours­es and see who fin­ish­es first.

The avatars like Mario, Lui­gi, Yoshi (just to name a few) are bright and colour­ful, mak­ing the game that much more attrac­tive. The first Super Mario Kart in 1992 was extreme­ly pix­e­lat­ed, giv­en the capac­i­ty of the old Super Nin­ten­do, and the images were more 2-dimen­sion­al. The mechan­ics of the game is sim­i­lar to the one we are famil­iar with now, but we can see how far the graph­ics have improved since then.


    1. Don­key Kong Coun­try

Com­plet­ed in 1994, Don­key Kong Coun­try was orig­i­nal­ly a side-scrolling adven­ture game, in which play­ers have to com­plete 40 lev­els. Dodg­ing ene­mies and col­lect­ing bananas and bal­loons, the play­ers take the form of Don­key Kong or Did­dy Kong as they run through excit­ing lev­els.

Through the years, the char­ac­ters devel­oped more char­ac­ter and graph­ics became more 3-dimen­sion­al. There is also a spin-off game called Don­key Kong Jet Race for the Wii con­sole, where play­ers vig­or­ous­ly swing their Wii con­soles up and down to make Don­key Kong move for­ward. This tir­ing game is a race between either you and the com­put­er or you and your friends in the mul­ti­play­er mode. It’s amaz­ing how dif­fer­ent con­soles can spin off vari­a­tions of the same game, and make it so dif­fer­ent from what it orig­i­nal­ly was.

In a good way.



Lag: delays in client and serv­er com­mu­ni­ca­tion, but now also used to refer to slow fram­er­ates.



Ah, the big boxy ones. It was the age when your com­put­ers came with a rec­tan­gu­lar box called an exter­nal CPU (cen­tral pro­cess­ing unit) and pro­duced chok­ing nois­es as it pow­ered on. Those were the days, man.

  1. Doom

Doom was pret­ty pop­u­lar in 1993, although it has been over­shad­owed by new­er coun­ter­parts such as Counter Strike and Over­watch. But did you know that it was one of the pio­neer­ing 3-dimen­sion­al first per­son shoot­er games of its time?

Bat­tling through Hell, killing demons and the undead, it made the game pop­u­lar amongst the guys. The most cur­rent remake of the game in 2016 has got­ten rid of the retro style pix­el art and replaced it with high def­i­n­i­tion real­ism. The con­trols are smoother too. But we all can’t for­get the ances­tor that has sparked off so many oth­er 3-dimen­sion­al first per­son shoot­er games that we know of today.


  1. Dia­blo

Once again deal­ing with oth­er­world­ly realms, Dia­blo is a game between heav­en and hell, where the hero has to fight through the many mon­sters and restore order over the town. A real-time role play­ing game, Dia­blo start­ed out pret­ty advanced for its time and the graph­ics were not too bad. Com­par­ing Dia­blo 1 and Dia­blo 3, it is not a game that changed much, save for the improve­ments in graph­ics and char­ac­ter design. Nev­er­the­less, it is nice to take a trip down mem­o­ry lane and enjoy a time in life when sim­plic­i­ty is enough, com­pared to the advanced, action-packed games of today.



Autosave: A process where­by a func­tion in a com­put­er or video game saves your cur­rent changes or progress, to avoid loss of data in case of a crash.



The hand­held device that, for once, allowed the users to play on the go. With this device, it spurred on so many oth­er hand­held gam­ing devices such as the Nin­ten­do DS, the PlaySta­tion Portable and so on. With the screen direct­ly in front of you, you could now play any­where and when­ev­er. Recall the excite­ment of your first game­boy, as you load up the car­tridges and the Game­boy logo appears on the screen. And when the game hangs, we believed that blow­ing the car­tridge slot would help from some rea­son.

  1. Leg­end of Zel­da

Leg­end of Zel­da is a pix­el role play­ing game that may remind you of Poke­mon. The graph­ics, playables and style are bub­bly and colour­ful, with the sto­ry fol­low­ing the main char­ac­ter Link.

While still retain­ing its RPG for­mat, the new­er ver­sions of Leg­end of Zel­da now is a 3-dimen­sion­al immer­sive game, where you move the char­ac­ters through the ter­rain and feel as if you are the one walk­ing the grounds your­self. The mon­sters and char­ac­ters got an upgrade too, with more details added to the avatars. That being said, whether or not you pre­fer the old­er ver­sions or the new­er ones depends on you.

Some­times, old is gold.


  1. Poke­mon Red & Blue

Just as every oth­er colour starts from a mix­ture of pri­ma­ry colours, Poke­mon start­ed with Red and Blue, a game that is still dri­ving trends and hype till today. Before Poke­mon Go, Poke­mon Sun and Moon, Poke­mon Sil­ver and Gold, Red and Blue was the first instal­ment to this Poke­mon series. The cute mon­sters imme­di­ate­ly gained pop­u­lar­i­ty and the con­cept of trad­ing was very well received.

Even in recent times, Poke­mon is still crowned the ‘best sell­ing RPG of all time’ and the ‘best sell­ing RPG on the game­boy’ in the Guin­ness Book of World Records. Look at how we have pro­gressed, with Poke­mon Go mak­ing vir­tu­al real­i­ty come to life where the lit­tle mon­sters seem to be right in front of you. You can bat­tle with oth­er play­ers in real time and the whole world became the very map we used to play in on the game­boy.



Shut down: a con­trolled removal of the pow­er to the computer’s main com­po­nents.

Even as we boot up our new­er gad­gets and dis­card our old­er mod­els, some of us still rem­i­nisce about an oft-for­got­ten past, when pix­el art and sim­ple con­trols were the mod­ern tech­nol­o­gy. Not every­thing done up by com­put­er graph­ics is bet­ter, and you might enjoy mov­ing a sin­gle avatar through a side-scrolling game instead of get­ting inter­rupt­ed by many cutscenes and hav­ing a com­pli­cat­ed myr­i­ad of maps to fin­ish. Some may even rel­ish the fact that their games lag due to the antiq­ui­ty of it and lose all their progress due to the absence of the autosave but­ton that we rely heav­i­ly on nowa­days. But whether you pre­fer the old-school games or the new­er ones, shut­ting down our con­soles does not mean for­get­ting them.

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