Video games have been forever improving their graphics, sound quality, story line, and overall interaction for the past 44 years.
It all started around 1972, with the “literal” first generation release of the Magnavox Odyssey. And in the years since, advancement after advancement has culminated into the recent releases of the PS4 and the Xbox One. There is also the huge realm of PC gaming, and the 100,000s of mobile gaming apps available for easy download.
Not only have the systems and the media we choose to interact changes, but so have our peripherals for gaming. Things like cloud gaming has revolutionized not only the speed and quality of our experience, but how we can interact with virtually anyone in the world.
Each advancement in gaming is important in its own right — they’ve all brought us closer to where we are now. But some were more revolutionary than others. Below, you’ll find the six game-changing devices/features that really did alter the world of gaming forever.
The Dual Analog Controller
This was first released in the United States on August 27, 1997 with the PlayStation. Today’s much more sophisticated controllers are still modeled from its design and functions — even the DualShock 4. Thanks to the introduction of the original dual analog controller, we now have far more advanced controllers that are engineered for comfort and come complete with flawless buttons, triggers, and analog sticks. And that’s not to mention Bluetooth compatibility and a touchpad that can simulate a mouse. It all started with the original dual analog.
With the advent of online gaming came to the need for hands-free interaction with other gamers as well as your system. Companies like Turtle Beach and Razor have continued to develop high-quality headsets with 2.4 GHz wireless technology and 7.1 surround sound. Digital clarity in transmission and reception. Complete sound immersion to deepen your gaming experience more than you thought possible.
Advanced Steering Wheels
We’ve come a long way since the paddles of Pong. Racing car games have really changed lately. Today we have advanced racing wheels, like the recent Logitech G29. Powerful dual-motor force feedback realistically simulates force effects, so you can respond with precision and high-quality, hand-stitched leather, giving it the look and feel of a high-performance racecar wheel. These often come with a separate floor pedal unit with integrated throttle, brake, and clutch pedals, allowing to you comfortably accelerate, brake, and change gears with the feel of an actual car.
When Nintendo released the Wii with its sensor bar, allowing players to physically interact with the screen, things got crazy. Although the PS4 Eye and the Xbox One Kinect have added some incredible technology like heat sensors and facial recognition, it remains to be seen if this technology will continue or be replaced by virtual reality.
With the focus always on faster processors, frames per second, improved graphics, the need for comfort is the next frontier. Sitting for many hours at a time causes stress and fatigue on the body. A more ergonomic approach was necessary to provide a better more comfortable experience. Companies like X rocker and DXRacer came on the scene, providing gamers with a way to have the best of both worlds while sitting on their butts. Things like vibration motors, built-in speakers, and AFM technology would also add to the fun. Not to mention the high-quality PC gaming chairs available for those who prefer office style sitting.
These days we are living closer and closer to the futuristic idea of fully interacting in a virtual world. Since the late 1960s, the idea of a simulated world formed by computers was in the imagination of a few visionaries. Now in 2016, the Oculus Rift and various other VR devices have promised us the ability to enjoy these types of worlds in the comfort of our living room. Will they eventually add other senses to the equation? Who knows? Either way, we can bet that what we are using now, will eventually be retro in 5 years from now.
So much has changed in the past 40 years or so when it comes to gaming systems and the tools we use to add to our fun and even our health.
Having personally witnessed the earlier generation of gaming and seeing how far we’ve come, I’m excited think of where gaming will be in the next 40 years.