EntertainmentGamesFrom Mario to Miles Morales, the gaming evolution from...

From Mario to Miles Morales, the gaming evolution from the first game console to today


Christmas has already arrived at tu.com. If that special someone calls themselves a “gamer”, even forgets to eat when the latest game release comes out, or has been locked up for hours pressing F5 to get a PS5 or Xbox series X, you are in luck. In our gaming section you will have it easy to find the perfect gift.

But if you also want to show off and show that you have done your homework, take note. We are going to tell you about the evolution of an industry that (although it is hard for you to believe), today, and thanks to e-sports and a very, very loyal fandom, is larger than the film and music industries combined.

The complicated beginnings

If we play that you hit the first game console, we are sure that you will lose. This honor goes to the Magnavox Odyssey, the first console released in 1972. However, if we’re talking about Atari, more lights will probably go on for you: the Atari 2600, released 5 years later, was responsible for hours and hours of entertainment among the tallest of the house with titles as famous as Space Invaders or Pac-Man. It boasted a whopping 16 colors, and interchangeable sets came in cartridges, a format that stuck around for many years.

The 80s, or how 8 bits changed the industry

Rarely has such a technical term managed to survive in our memory and become something nostalgic and vintage, but 8 bits have succeeded.

This change in processors allowed a radical evolution of graphics and 2 Japanese companies staged an epic war in the homes of those years, being the first experience with video games for millions of children who still continue with this hobby today.

And from a name as… Japanese as “Nintendo Entertainment System” (NES for friends), the console that Nintendo launched on the market in 1986, was born a character as endearing as Super Mario Bros, a franchise that has endured over time and continues being synonymous with fun to date.

And if Nintendo had a plumber, Sega, the other great protagonist of 8-bits, hired… a hedgehog. Yes, Sonic The Hedgehog became Mario’s main rival or nemesis to give life to the Master System, the only console that managed to overshadow the NES.

The 90s: the war of bits (and formats) begins

In the late 1980s, Sega jumped ahead of the industry by introducing the first 16-bit console, the MegaDrive, the first of the so-called fourth-generation consoles.

In this generation, Nintendo launched the world famous Super Nintendo, of which they recently launched a small size reissue with preloaded games for the most nostalgic in the house. Nintendo begins to mark a very defined style continuing franchises as famous as Mario, which we have already talked about, and others like Donkey Kong, Zelda (Note for non-believers: Zelda is the girl! Yes, the male protagonist of video games from the Zelda saga is called Link, Zelda is the powerful princess with quite bad luck) or Kirby.

Sega began its decline in Japan, not having as much success with this console as its main competitor, the Super Nintendo, although they more than supplied it in the US, Brazil and Europe, which allowed them to remain strong.

And we come to 1994. Intrigues, a broken contract with Nintendo and a Japanese executive, Ken Kutaragi, passionate about video games and with a lot of determination. All of this, which could be the plot of a Netflix series, led to the launch of the Sony Playstation, which was an overwhelming success. The use of 32-bit and the CD-ROM format, owned by Sony, instead of the traditional cartridges, allowed Sony to quickly position itself as one of the great competitors in the industry throughout the world. The original Playstation came to sell more than 100 million units and marked the beginning of Sega’s decline, which neither with the Sega Saturn (32 bits) nor with the Dreamcast (64 bits) managed to keep up. The Dreamcast would be the last console that Sega would manufacture, deciding to direct its strategy to the Arcade and not to home software.

Nintendo’s contribution to the fifth generation was a direct jump from 16 to 64-bit, and to boast of this, the console was simply called “Nintendo 64”. Nintendo thus begins to stand out from the competition based on gameplay and innovation. The first analog stick that we saw in a controller or the “rumble pack” that allowed vibration to be added to games were the assets of a Nintendo that saw that the war for power was going to be complicated and preferred to opt for its own style and gameplay. that has kept them up to the present.

Wait, wait, wait… and where is the Game Boy?

The 90s were also the decade in which portable consoles became popular. The Game Boy of which Nintendo came to sell more than 200 million units between all its generations (Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advanced) and the Game Gear launched by Sega, which despite being clearly superior to the Game Boy , its low autonomy and its large size prevented Nintendo from taking dominance in portables.

2000: As Sony and Nintendo Evolve, Microsoft Arrives

The 2000 effect, which in the end was not so much, brought us a new competitor to fill the void left by Sega: Microsoft joined the sixth generation bandwagon with a name that will be more familiar to you: Xbox.

The sixth generation is marked by the moderate success of the Nintendo Game Cube in the face of the explosion caused by the PlayStation 2, the best-selling console in history with 160 million units, incorporating DVD as support for games.

Microsoft would thus become the third in contention in the world of video consoles, continuing this triumvirate until today.

In the mid-2000s, we debuted the seventh generation.

While Sony and Microsoft are abandoned to the war of power, with the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360 respectively, Nintendo gives another punch at the table of gameplay innovation: Nintendo Wii popularizes the first controls with spatial detection (the Wiimotes). and in the portable field, it launches the famous Nintendo DS, the successor to the Game Boy with 2 screens, one of which is touchscreen. These movements made Nintendo adopt a very loyal audience and manage to enter the homes of people who, a priori, did not consider themselves “gamers”. The Nintendo Wii managed to take over the scepter of social consoles, family and multiplayer experiences. Who hasn’t challenged his friends to a game of tennis on Wii Sports?

Sony tried to replicate the success of Nintendo in the portable area, and although without reaching the same sales, it achieved some success with the PlayStation Portable versions: PSP, PSP 3000, PSP Go and PSP Vita).

This generation was also where one of the major sectors of the industry became popular and definitively democratized: online gaming.

2010: moment of the eighth generation

Nintendo, which has always been one of lime and another of sand, opens the eighth with a discreet remake of the Wii, the Wii U, which went unnoticed through the history of video consoles. Of the more than one hundred million Wiis sold, Nintendo did not manage to place more than 14 million Wii U, but maintaining the pull of the portable with the family that released the 3DS: the first console capable of displaying real 3D graphics (with depth of field), without the need for glasses or accessories.

However, Sony and Microsoft dominated the desktop sector with the Playstation 4 family and the Xbox One.

In these years we have also seen how the sector expands and grows non-stop, opening sectors such as virtual reality (Oculus, HTC Vive and Playstation VR have been the greatest exponents of a sector that continues to be somewhat niche but has great potential) and streaming games, or Cloud gaming, which we will talk about later.

Nintendo, after the “failure” of Wii U, reinvented the wheel again by launching the Nintendo Switch in 2017: the first “hybrid” console that can be played both in portable mode and connected to the television. For this, it has the Joycons, controls that are separated from the console and can also be used wirelessly.

Ninth and last? generation: the era of cloud gaming

2020, in addition to the coronavirus, has brought us new releases from Sony and Microsoft. The Xbox Series, with the X and S versions, and the Playstation 5, with the Standard and Digital Edition versions have brought us spectacular advances in technical matters:

8K HDR resolutions, refresh rates up to 120fps and almost non-existent load times thanks to the latest generation hard drives.

But… will it be the last generation of consoles as we know them?

The new very high-speed, low-latency internet technologies, such as fiber networks for the home or the new 5G mobile networks that are being deployed, have enabled what until very recently was unthinkable and known as Cloud Gaming: games are They run on a server directly, so we can use any screen to play without needing the power of consoles.

This has allowed that, apart from Microsoft with Xbox Game Pass or Sony with Playstation Now, other competitors such as Nvidia with the GeForce NOW service or Google itself with Stadia have entered.

It is quite likely that, in a matter of a few years, the console as such will gradually disappear and we will start playing with our tablets, smartphones and PCs interchangeably.

The future is already here and at tu.com we will be, as always, offering you the latest technology so that you can get the most out of these services.

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