A reader explores his history of next generation consoles launches and explains why he only got a PlayStation 4 very recently.
Some people of a certain age may remember the jump from 8 to 16 to 32 to 64-bit. Amazing times and I loved them. I can’t ever forget stepping out into Hyrule Field whilst playing Zelda: Ocarina Of Time on the N64 or, for that matter, playing as Mario in a fully realised 3D environment in Super Mario 64. I got jaded with gaming around the Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 era. Don’t get me wrong, there were classics around but nothing to give me that gamer’s feeling of exhilaration. I loved the shiny graphics and better frame rates compared to the previous generation, but something was amiss. There was no innovation.
I loved the 1:1 controls of Zelda: Skyward Sword and that brought me back from the edge and kept me intrigued as to the possibilities of immersion in a game. Time then flew by and I, through work and personal obligations, felt a little less keen to invest, time-wise, into the whole scene. It just didn’t seem important enough to make me shovel my free time at it. Shiny graphics are always good but there is a certain magic that transcends that which I personally thought was lacking.
I’ve been holding off diving into the outgoing current generation largely due to a lack of time to play consistently and also knowing that I have a massive gaming backlog dating back to the GameCube. It’s also nice to understand what a system has to offer, which is easier towards the end of its lifespan.
The backlog will be tackled at some point… maybe. The thrill of video gaming, to me, is the thrill of experiencing something totally original. The moments that make you feel the wow factor. I had it with the jump from 16 to 32-bit and playing WipEout and the original Resident Evil on PS1. Moving on, the first time I played Sonic Adventure solidly with my friend for an afternoon actually left me dizzy! It was amazing and I was figuratively walking on air for an hour afterwards. Some may think it didn’t age well but I still love it.
A generation later and the technological leaps were obvious, graphically and performance-wise, but something wasn’t quite right. I wasn’t quite as blown away as I had been previously when upgrading to the next level. I embraced the generation though and own an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Both are great consoles.
I witnessed the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launch but didn’t feel much excitement as it seemed an incremental step up in performance. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that technological leaps into new iterations of hardware will be less obvious graphically, because we are lucky to see the culmination of all the hard work that programmers put into this profession. I sat this generation out as a result. I just wasn’t tempted and had to chip away at that blinking backlog.
This backlog can wait. I recently purchased a PS4 Pro and PlayStation VR. The feeling of experiencing something totally new is back, which is an absolute joy to a cynic like me. PlayStation VR is absolutely amazing. The first time I fired it up, I played Moss. My mouth was literally agape! Then it got better with WipEout: Omega Collection, Ace Combat 7, Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, and Resident Evil 7. I’m honestly enraptured by this immersion that I never would have thought possible in my wildest dreams.
Just when I had almost given up keeping expectations of this sort of exhilaration, then gaming brought me back. I really hope VR is given a decent backing in the generation coming. To me it was a gaming, ‘That Moment’.
By reader D Dubya
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