Game Saves (Zelda’s Save Function)
I know what you’re thinking. – “Who puts the save function on a list of innovations?” For those of us who grew up with the Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and SEGA Master System (SMS), the ability to save your progress was a huge leap in gaming. Before gamers had the ability to save their progress in the game, you three options. You could spend hours upon hours trying to beat the game you were playing. Some games (later on) offered you the ability enter a code to pick up close to where you left off. Depending on the game you were playing, you could find a spot to hide your character in the game where you couldn’t die and just let your system run. The Legend of Zelda for the NES changed everything with a battery that kept your progress saved in the cartridge. This innovation in 1986 is something we take for granted today, but changed everything.
Modern Control Pad (SNES Controller)
If you’ve ever seen one of those posters showing the evolution of man where it starts with and ape and ends with a human man, you’ll get what we mean when we say that all the modern control pads can be traced back to the controller on the Super Nintendo. You can look at the current controller for the Xbox 360 and see the evolution from the controller S from the original Xbox, which was a scramble move by Microsoft to replace their Duke controller with something similar to the PS2 pad. We all know the PS2 pad resembled the PSone DualShock. The Playstation controller has been referred to by many as the “SNES Pad with Wings”. It’s not hard to trace the evolution of the modern-day controller. While the NES pad was a huge jump from the Atari joystick, it’s the SNES controller that really started it all. We truly view the SNES controller as one innovative piece of hardware.
Online Console Gaming (SEGAnet)
Networked gaming has been around on computers almost since the moment computers were networked in a non-work environment. Consoles however, had to wait much longer to play online. Attempts were made and planned on multiple occasions dating all the way back to the Atari 2600, where a modem was planned. Even the 64-bit Atari Jaguar had plans to do online multiplayer with a game named Ultra Vortek releasing with the option on the menu to go online. Despite all the attempts, online gameplay for consoles didn’t successfully materialize until the Sega Dreamcast and its packed-in modem with every console. SEGA had a relatively successful online network on the Saturn, but it was SEGAnet on the SEGA Dreamcast that laid the ground work for today’s Xbox LIVE and Playstation Network. We’re still not sure what’s up with Nintendo.
Rumble or Vibration (N64)
While rumble was available for some PC gamers in various controllers and peripherals, we didn’t see it hit our consoles until the Nintendo 64. Even then it was in the form of an add-on that plugged into the controller. The rumble-pack influenced the industry to the point that SEGA had the option for the SEGA Dreamcast controller with a similar peripheral that plugged in. The feature really took off when companies started including the option built into controllers. The feature is so popular that Sony actually caught quite a bit of flak when they attempted to skirt a contract issue with a manufacturer by telling gamers the PS3 would not include the vibration feature in the SIXAXIS controller because they felt the technology was “last gen”. The gaming giant quickly found out that gamers wanted their controllers to shake and released the “Dual Shock 3”. This innovation might wear down our batteries, but it does help draw you into the action.
Join us next week when we look at even more of the greatest technological leaps and innovations in gaming here at Gameplay Today.