Gaming Consoles- PlayStation Portable: (2004)

Since the PlayStation 2 was first released in 2000 many people have been dying for a portable version of the console similar to Nintendo’s various Gameboy systems.   With both PlayStation 1 and 2 being successful commercially and in sales Sony had eventually decided to release a handheld console known as PlayStation Portable in late 2004.  As many of us know the PlayStation Portable was released in late 2004 in Japan along with countries such as America and Europe in 2005.  The PlayStation Portable was a great handheld console because it contained 32 MB of memory which was very unique.  The basic PlayStation 2 memory card contained 8MB which means the PlayStation Portable contained four times that amount in the game system’s hardware.

However, the internal hard drive feature was more prominent for the PSP Go which contained 16 GB and allowed people to save various types of data.  Other versions of the PSP required people to use the Memory Stick Duo, Memory Stick Pro or the Memory Stick Micro depending on what version  one possessed.  The development of the PlayStation Portable presented a general idea of how much Sony’s technology was evolving since it was far advanced from its handheld successor the PocketStation.  The PlayStation Portable also included Wi-Fi connection which rivaled the Nintendo DS which was released around the same time period between late 2004 and early 2005.   Sony provided the PlayStation Network for an online service for the PSP which gave people the option of purchasing and downloading content whenever they felt like it.

One of the coolest things about PSP was the fact that Sony had developed multiple versions of this handheld console between 2004 and 2009.    Sony constantly made updates and changes to the original PSP-1000 model for better performance and to make their product more valuable to that of their rival Nintendo.   After the development of the PSP-1000 we got the PSP-2000 during 2007 and PSP-3000 in 2008.   By the time Sony released the PSP Go in 2009 the product had included far features that almost made the product an instant buy for many people.  The PSP Go had not only contained 64 MB but it allowed people to utilize Bluetooth connectivity for the first time ever.

Along with many having many added features the PSP included many memorable games including Dissidia Final Fantasy, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Valkyria Chronicles II, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, and Jeanne d’ Arc.  The PSP also allowed people to enjoy classic titles that were popular in the 90s such as Final Fantasy VII and Tales of Phantasia for a memorable gaming experience. Since its initial release it has been reported that the PSP handheld console has sold over 82 million units worldwide and was very popular in the 00’s decade until its discontinuation in 2014.   Despite, its discontinuation the PSP handheld console may viewed by some as underrated because despite how good it was more people focused home based game systems such as PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.  Even though, Sony has not produced handheld game consoles as long as Nintendo many people would agree that this hand based game system was among the best of the 00’s.

 

 

Gaming Consoles- Xbox: (2001)

As many of us know the early 00’s was a revolutionary time period in the realm of gaming.  It was around the mid to late 90’s when 3D gaming started to become very popular and since then both gameplay and graphics on various game consoles began to improve dramatically.  When Sony had released the PlayStation 2 in the year 2000 many people were blown away by the visual features provided by their selected central processing unit the Emotion Engine.  Along with having a fantastic CPU the PlayStation 2 also had many great titles that made the game console worth having.  Shortly, after the release of release of PlayStation the world witnessed the debut of the original Xbox game console.

The release of the Xbox console had included many great visual features produced by the Intel Pentium III  which served as the system’s central processing unit. Many people argue that the Intel Pentium III had provided far more advanced graphics then the Nintendo Gamecube and PlayStation 2.   The original Xbox console also included 8 to 10 GB on its internal hard drive while giving players the option to utilize an 8 MB memory card to save gaming data.  The original Xbox console also provided online service through Ethernet connection which gave people access to Xbox Live where people can engage in various types of activities.   The Xbox Live allowed people to download brand new content for various titles such as the Halo series along with participating in multiplayer online games.  People also had the opportunity to download new games stream the internet along with many other things.

After is initial release the original Xbox sold at least 24 million units worldwide which was spectacular.   The development of the original Xbox also exceeded the expectations of many people in terms of hardware & software development.  The original Xbox console was a pioneer in having a built in hard drive which allowed people save data without the use of a memory card.  The graphical features produced by Xbox was so lifelike that it had proved to be a worthy rival for the PlayStation 2.   Sometimes its hard to believe that the original Xbox console debuted over 14 years ago because time flies by very fast.  Video games have been around since the 1970’s and has gradually evolved over the past few decades.  While many people considered the 90’s to be the golden era of 2D gaming it would be safe to say that Microsoft made a great contribution to the advancement of 3D gaming during the 00’s with the introduction of the Xbox console.

Gaming Consoles- Sega Dreamcast: (1998)

Anyone who was a gamer back in the 90’s remember the wonderful games & consoles that provided hours of  high quality entertainment.   There were many game consoles that were so great that most people would think twice about selling them along with certain games they purchased with it.  One of the game systems that many people enjoyed in the 90’s was the Sega Dreamcast released in Japan during the later part  1998.  As many of us know Sega Dreamcast was not released in American and Europe until 1999.  After its initial release many people were blown away by various features of the Sega Dreamcast.  This game console had includd a 128-bit graphics engine along with a 56k modem that provided high quality 3D gameplay.  Along with having excellent visuals it was also the first console to have a built in modem for internet where people would have access to online services.

Some of the online services that the Sega Dreamcast had included was SegaNet and Dreamarena which many people were eager to use when the console was first released. The inclusion of internet use was one of the many reasons why so many people were excited about the released of the Sega Dreamcast.  Another reason why many people wanted to purchase Sega Dreamcast included many of the popular titles that was released for it.  Some of the top titles for the Sega Dreamcast included Sonic Adventure, Crazy Taxi, NFL 2K, and Shenmue. The original Sonic Adventure game reportedly sold over 2.5 million units worldwide and was just as good a Super Mario 64 in terms of gameplay, graphics, and storyline.  Along with some of the top titles for the Sega Dreamcast there were also many fun titles such as Marvel vs. Capcom I & II, the Capcom vs. SNK series, Skies of Arcada, and Phantasy Star Online.   These types of titles kept people emotionally invested in the Sega Dreamcast along with additional releases between 1998 and 2001.

Despite, the Dreamcast being discontinued in 2001 many people are aware of the fact that Sega has recently released new games for this specific console.  In 2014, a very exciting RPG title entitled “Pier Solar and the Great Architects” was released for the Sega Dreamcast and it features 1-bit gameplay that is also available for multiple consoles including PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.  Some people are also aware that Sega plans on releasing another 2D RPG game entitled “Elysian Shadows” in 2017.   The fact new games are still being released for the Sega Dreamcast almost 15 years after its inception shows how valuable this console truly is.    The fact that Sega still produces great titles for the Dreamcast makes us wonder if they plan on releasing a Dreamcast 2 in the near future.  Either way, the Sega Dreamcast console was an awesome game system to have in the late 90’s and early 00’s.  The high quality gameplay and amount of features the Sega Dreamcast produced made it a strong attraction among many people.  Despite, the competition Sega faced from Sony and Nintendo the Dreamcast managed to sell over 9 million units worldwide which is a testament to how great this game system was and still is.

Gaming Consoles- Nintendo GameCube: (2001)

During the late-90’s and early 00’s we began to notice a huge transition from 2d to 3d gaming.  From the mid to late 90’s many different consoles such as Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, along with 3Do focused on 3d graphics and animation in various titles.  When the Nintendo 64 was released in 1996 many people were excited about popular titles such as: Super Mario 64, Mario Kart 64, Super Smash Bros and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.  After the release of the Nintendo 64 many people thought the game console was just as great as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.  However, when Nintendo GameCube was released in late 2001 many people were generally impressed by console itself.

The Nintendo Gamecube was unique because it the first console the company had produced that used optical discs rather than the traditional cartridges utilized in previous game systems.  The use of 1.5 GB optical discs was an essential component of the game console due to the fact that GameCube had the Dolphin OS operating system which featured 128-bit graphics.  This game system had featured many classic titles such as: Mario Kart Double Dash, Naruto Clash of Ninja 2, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, Sonic Adventure 2 and Super Smash Bros Melee.  Along with having many classic titles  GameCube had included a broadband adapter and a modem adapter for certain games such as Phantasy Online I &II Plus and Mario Kart Double Dash.

After being released in late 2001 it has been reported that Nintendo GameCube as sold 21 million worldwide  with Super Smash Bros Melee being the best selling game on the console.  Many people would argue that one of the advantages that Nintendo GameCube had over the PlayStation 2 included the multiplayer titles that allowed up to four people on one game. While having up to four players on certain games is possible for the PlayStation 2 it would require people to purchase a multitap and more controllers opposed to just buying more joysticks for GameCube.  Also, similar to the PlayStation 2 people have can buy memory cards that contains up to 64 megabytes giving players the option to save their progress throughout their respective game.   Having memory cards were especially useful for long RPG titles that would require hours of sacrifice in exchange for game completion.  Despite, the increased level of competition provided by  PlayStation 2 & Xbox many people would agree that Nintendo GameCube was definitely one of the most enjoyable game systems of the 2000’s decade.

 

 

Retro Gaming- Gran Tursimo 6: (2013)

When Gran Turismo 5 was released in late 2010 many people were highly impressed by the gameplay and improvments made in comparison to its prequel Gran Turismo 4.  Gran Tursimo 5 was so great that some people probably held on to it while waiting in anticipation for Gran Tursimo 6 to be released.   Prior to its release many great things were expected in Gran Turismo 6 included more advanced gameplay and new features. When Polyphony Digital developed Gran Tursimo 6 not only did they improve the gameplay but they kept elements of the series that kept the interest of many people who were fans of previous titles. An example would be the intro of  Gran Tursimo 6 performed by  Daiki Kasho entitled “All My Life”.   The first forty seconds of the intro not only provides hype for the game itself but it shows people that they are in for something special.  While the intro for Gran Tursimo 6 was awesome some people place the intro in the same category as GT2 and GT4 in terms of greatness involving musical composition.  The intro music for Gran Turismo 6 was so epic that some people would probably debate that it was just as good as “Moon Over The Castle” composed by Mashiro Andoh in Gran Turismo 2.

Speaking of musical composition the main menu theme composed by Yuki Ouke was another great piece that some people liked.  The menu theme provided a smooth/chill 90’s like atmospheric vibe which probably brought some people back to the Japanese soundtracks of GT1 & GT2.  In Gran Turismo 6 a series of challenges were included where players were allowed to complete in different races to unlock a variety of cars throughout the game. Similar to the prequel in Gran Turismo 5 players compete in a series of license tests and events such as National A, National B, International A, International B and Super to gain access to various cars from the 70’s to the 00’s.  While progressing throughout the game players can unlock various cars  including the Toyota CELICA , Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Mercedes-Benz, Mazada, BMW, Honda, and Chevrolet series.  This title had also included “X” series Red Bull cars which made people want to buy this game other than all of the obvious reasons.

Following its release this game was well received by many critics and fans alike for many reasons including the amount of improvements made from the previous game.  Shortly after its initial release IGN, GameTrailers, GamersPack, and Gaming Illustrated named it “Racing Game of the Year” along with many other publications.  Also, GamerRadar rated this game 4.5 out of 5 stars coming within an inch of earning a perfect score.  While Gran Tursimo 6 exceeded the expectations of many people in 2013 there is still plenty of anticipation for the release of the sequel entitled “Gran Turismo Sport” in November 2016.

 

 

 

Classic Gaming- Gran Turismo 5: (2010)

We all remember how great Gran Turismo 4 was for the PlayStation 2.  The graphics for Gran Turismo 4 on the PS2 was spectacular along with the various features which allowed people to gain many hours of gameplay.  Gran Turismo 4 had so much offline features that it would make people think twice about selling the game. We all knew that eventually there would be a Gran Turismo 5 but was not sure when it would be released.  As we all know Gran Turismo 5 was developed by Polyphony Digital and was released in late 2010. Before the release of Gran Turismo 5 we did not know what to expect other than improved graphics and gameplay similar to what was produced in Gran Turismo 4.  But after Gran Turismo 5 was released we got more than what was expected in terms of gameplay.

One of the very strong positives of this game in comparison to Gran Turismo 4 includes the added realism included during each of the races.  Gran Turismo 5 includes weather effects during each race along with damage modeling including scratches and dents after crashes which is an improvement many have wanted to see for a while.  Also, players had the ability to gain extra horsepower changing the horsepower on a newly purchased car which was helpful to many people in game.  Along with added realism Gran Turismo 5 had introduced over 70 race tracks that players can choose from.  In addition to more race tracks the game had included over 1,000 cars to choose from.  Most cars in the game had to be unlocked throughout the game which proved to be more challenging than the previous Gran Tursimo games.  In Gran Turismo 5 players have the opportunity to complete various tests including licenses, A, B, C, and International.  Along with completing different licenses people can are required to play throughout different categories including Gold, Silver, and Bronze in order to unlock specific cars.

As one progresses throughout the game in completing different license tests they can unlock various cars including Honda’s, Mazada’s, Nissan’s, Toyota’s, and Mercedes-Benz’s.  While there were many enjoyable tracks in the game there were also many difficult tracks that many people thought were impossible to complete.  Some of the courses that were very challenging included A-8, IC-10, and IA-10 which was a nightmare for many people.  Another feature that made Gran Turismo 5 a great title included the online gameplay which can include up to 16 players.  While players have the opportunity to unlock different cars thoughout the game they can also special racing events including the Top Gear Test Track and Jeff Gordon’s NASCAR school.

After its initial release Gran Turismo 5 received praise from various gaming publications including GamePro which rated the game 4.5 starts out of 5.  Gran Turismo 5 also received various awards under the category of “Best Racing Game” Game Revolution, Game Trailers, and the Golden Joystick Awards.  The gameplay, mechanics and improvements made in Gran Turismo 5 had exceeded the expectations of many people who were fans of the series.  While Polyphony Digital had produced many great GT games in the late 90’s and early 00’s it would be safe to say that they started of the 10’s in a very special way.

Classic Gaming- Gran Turismo 4: (2004)

There have been many great games in the Gran Turismo series since its inception in the late 90’s. After each game was developed it seemed that the sequels exceeded the expectations of many people who were fans of the series.  Gran Turismo 4 was no different and presented a spectacular sequel to Gran Turismo 3 which many would argue is one of the best racing games ever for the PlayStation 2.  When Gran Turismo 4 was released in late 2004 and early 2005 many people didn’t know what do expect besides great gameplay. Each title in the Gran Turismo series appeared to be more realistic and lifelike as time progressed due to the advancement of technology in gaming.   However, Polyphony Digital was able to develop a game that pushed PlayStation 2 to its limits in terms of gameplay and graphics.

As many of us know Gran Turismo 4 had a video output that supported HDTV (1080i) which is something that was rare for a PlayStation 2 game.  In other words, people can play Gran Turismo 4 in High Definition which was not a common feature for the PS2 at the time. Along with having outstanding graphics Gran Turismo 4 had at least 500 cars which can be unlocked as one progresses thoughout the game.  Generally, players start the game with $10,000 and have the choice of buying used cars along different parts for the current vehicle they have.  New cars can be unlocked by competing in different halls including a DMC Delorean which was popular back in the early 80’s. Gran Turismo 4 provides players with hours of gameplay in various halls including: European, Professional, Easy Special, Endurance, Beginner, Extreme, American and Japanese.

After its initial release Gran Turismo 4 was well received by critics and fans alike for taking racing to another level on the PlayStation 2. Game Informer, IGN and GameZone scored Gran Turismo 4 in the nine point bracket with two of publications leaning towards a perfect ten.  This game also received praise from the Detroit Press and was rated a perfect ten score by Maxim magazine and PlayStation Magazine after its initial release.  It came very close to receiving a perfect score from GamePro as it was rated 4.5 stars out of 5, but it was considered to be the closest to a flawless racing game you can get. While many games in the Gran Turismo series are considered to be instant classics it would be safe to say that this title along with its prequel are among the best racing titles of the early 00’s.