We all just about lose our heads when we receive bits of ‘next generation’ console news towards the end of a current console cycle. And for good reason, at that stage the previous generation strains under the pressure to keep up with the PC format (yes, I know), as that gradually grows and improves when it comes to hardware. Question is: What game pushed the various consoles to their limits over the years? What game nearly had to make the jump to the next generation?
I’m looking at the main entries, so don’t expect to see the 3DO, SEGA MEGA CD or Ouya making an appearance. I’m also skipping the Atari 2600, because let’s be honest – ET won it hands down… #nonotreally
This week we’re moving on to the 32- and 64-Bit era:
The console that nearly could. Unfortunately SEGA was stuck in the 2D era and never quite made the leap to 3D as its competitors did. It’s ultimately the console that spelt the demise for SEGA. It’s when everything started going wrong, but there were still some gems that made an exclusive appearance on the SEGA Saturn.
Game: Panzer Dragoon
What we have here is an on-rail shooter atop a blue dragon. It’s become a cult classic that’s very hard to track down, but also the one and only game to truly show what the SEGA Saturn was capable of in the right hands. What’s more surprising is that it was a SEGA Saturn launch game, which in affect means it never improved much since launch. Effects such as real-time reflections in water and a decent frame rate was a huge technical achievement on a console that simply did not have anywhere near as much power as any of its rivals.
Honourable Mentions: SEGA Rally, Burning Rangers
The console that started a revolution in gaming. It made gaming acceptable to the masses. No longer would we be stereotyped as ‘nerds’. It was a big deal. The PlayStation made gaming cool in South Africa and around the world. Because of this popularity it hosted a library like nothing before it with gaming becoming serious business. There were so many games that pushed so many boundaries that it’s rather difficult to come up with one, but there was one game that pushed the boundaries in various aspects.
Game: Metal Gear Solid
A game that brought with it a new genre (stealth) and had you literally interacting with the hardware of your console, was already pushing the boundaries. Metal Gear Solid was one of the first games to use in-game cinematic, now common practice, to tell a story. The setting, originally developed using blocks of LEGO by he development team, pushed the limits of the PS1. Loading scenes had to be fast between areas as timing was always of the essence. Then there was the massive Metal Gear Rex you had to fight at the end. Before this there was just simply no production value to match it.
Honourable Mentions: Gran Turismo 2, Final Fantasy VIII
Tipped as the most powerful console of its generation, it had one major flaw in 1996 – it was still using cartridges as a format to play games. Before long Nintendo exclusives, such as Final Fantasy VII jumped ship to the PlayStation. Saying that, there were no jagged pixels all over the place. It was smooth sailing when it came to close-up graphics, literally. So which game made the most of the last cartridge-based format console?
Game: Perfect Dark
It’s a well known fact that the N64’s Golden Eye made FPS games a normality on console. The N64 was after all the first console to come packaged with a controller that hosted an analogue stick. Yes, just one stick. Perfect Dark took full advantage of it – more so, if you had two controllers. You could plug one controller into port one and the other into port three and have yourself a dual-analogue setup. You’d also have to upgrade the RAM on your console for it to keep the frame rate up to speed as the graphics sucked the system dry. Like Metal Gear Solid this title also used in-game cutscenes to tell the story. Sadly the prequel bombed out on the Xbox 360.
Honourable Mentions: Conkers Bad Fur Day, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
Do you agree? What game do you think pushed the 32- and 64-Bit era?