You know... a true game changer... (pun intended )
Here are a few examples:
John Madden Football - Sega Genesis - November 1990: Ok, when this game first hit in November of 1990, it dropped like an atomic bomb. It absolutely devastated every competing football game prior, and for years and years to come. TV Sports Football for the TurboGrafx-16 and Tecmo Bowl for the NES were the current high water marks in video game football. Madden came in an absolutely destroyed the paradigm. By the way, I think Madden '93 on the Genesis is the pinnacle of video game football.
Doom - PC, Jaguar, 32X, etc - late 1993 PC /1994 for consoles - So yeah, talk about a freaking atomic bomb being dropped. Doom was so next level it isn't even funny. I actually was a bit late to the party on Doom. I first played it on my Atari Jaguar sometime in 1994. It had already been out for awhile on computers, but at the time I didn't have a PC.
Super Mario 64 - Nintendo 64 - September 1996 - Wow, Super Mario 64. I actually was lucky enough to be at e3 1996 in Los Angeles. I was standing mere feet away from the immortal Miyamoto. They actually had an elementary class of kids in the Nintendo booth, and Miyamoto was personally giving them a demonstration of the Nintendo 64. I was waiting in line behind this group, so it took me an extra long time to finally get my hands on the controller, but it was quite a surreal experience now that I look back on it. Being next in line right after this group (also standing very close to Dave Halverson and Kid Fan of GameFan magazine), I was waiting patiently, and just watching Miyamoto show off his new toy, and watching all the school children mesmerized by what they were seeing on the screen. I was pretty mesmerized by seeing Dave Halverson's mullet up close and personal, lol. Seriously, all bullshizzing aside, the game was revolutionary in every sense of the word.
Unreal - PC - 1998 - When most people think of old Unreal, they think of Unreal Tournament. Not me... I think of the original Unreal game. The single player game. The game that basically put Epic on the map. Does anybody remember that Next-Generation magazine cover ? :
I remember getting that Next-Gen issue out of my mailbox, and slowly walking back to my house, and looking at the cover of the magazine, and just having my jaw drop. When I got the actual finished game, I wasn't disappointed. Sure, you play Unreal now, and it seems extremely primitive, and it hasn't aged the greatest, but let me tell you... back in 1998 when that game dropped, it was mega huge to me. The ultimate in next-gen power.
There are obviously more examples I can list. But you get the idea. It just seems like it's been a really long time since anything has been so spectacular, that it could actually cause a bunch of people to spend considerably more money then they were planning on, to get a system and this one game, because it's just that freaking compelling. Like when Street Fighter 2 first arrived on the Super Nintendo. Tons of people ended up buying a Super Nintendo and that game, because they got caught up in the hype. Seems like it's been a while since this has happened. Maybe COD 4: Modern Warfare is the last game that has had this effect ? I'd say Bioshock or Oblivion, but I'm not sure how many people ran out to buy a system and those games, as great as they were. Modern Warfare got into the mainstream culture and everybody was trying it.
Next time was when 3d video cards were released. I remember Quake went from blocky to smooth. A remember a friend got one of the first cards to support the game and he mentioned that it was like being hatched into a brand new world all fluid and in focus.
Could include the first time we added a mod to Doom that let you play on a LAN and suddenly going around the corner and seeing the other player in the same game moving around. World hasn't been the same since then.
Lan parties. Spending hours trying to get everything up and running. (Internet killed the lan star)
Everything else has been small incremental improvements. 2008 seems to be the year that big advancements in tech stopped. Most all advancements past 8 years come from the mobile space.
Definitely 3D accelerators. It was such an epic night and day difference, that I could put a board in a PC and make my game look so radically better than it did before that I've been hooked on PC gaming ever since.
Seeing a first person game in stereoscopic 3D for the first time (way back in 1998, long before 3D vision) was also pretty epic.
It's been a while since I had a "F me, that's amazing" kind of moment. Probably the sheer production values of uncharted 3 came closest.
And although it's nowhere near as amazing and super tech nerdy, every time I see an anti-aliasing method like TXAA or SGSSAA that eradicates every hint of jagged edges or pixel crawl for a flawless image, even if it's a little softer, I'm always super impressed.
Mario 64 blew my mind. I first got a peek of it at Blockbuster and was amazed by every level. I will never forget how I felt when my dad picked me up from school with a Toys R Us bag with Mario 64 in it. We had been searching for the game for a few days, but everyone only had Pilot Wings. I'm still impressed by the game to this day.
Counter-Strike was the next amazing experience due to the great online play. I wasted a lot of time with this game for nearly a decade.
Demon's Souls is the most recent game to fill me with awe. Levels that required trial-and-error problem-solving, epic bosses, punishing yet rewarding gameplay, unique weapons/abilities, and being able to invade people's games or get help from others was genius.
Uncharted 1 blew me away and then Uncharted 2 blew me away again. The building falling over while fighting, well that entire sequence is absolutely awesome.
FZero on the gamecube, on how fast and smoothly it plays. Really want to play a sequel.
Metroid Prime was another masterpiece.
Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast! It was the reason to own a Dreamcast.
First time I played Star Fox on the SNES.
Herzog Zwei on the Sega Genesis
Further back, Blaster Master and of course Zelda was amazing/deeply engrossing game (Dark Souls/Demon Souls Games have kind of taken that spot).
Star Control II on the PC, such a cool game with great music.
I am sure I'm missing quite a bit..
As far as games go, that first moment of stepping on the opening bridge of Demon Souls and hearing the blackbirds. If I hear them around here it takes me right back to the game. The first 30 minutes of Final Fantasy 2, that long intro. Bionic Commando and Gears 1 on 360. For that matter, MoHW and Ghost Recon FS too. Ultima and UT2004 on PC. Way back would be Kaboom on Atari. The first Dragon Warrior and Wizardry on NES. Dungeons of Daggorath on my Tandy Coco 2. Not technical marvels but the text based games Pyramid on Coco and The Count on the Vic 20.
Been gaming for a very long time now and the hobby only gets better. New hardware comes along and games get more complex. Back in the day I'd stare at game art wishing those pixels looked that good aand today I can play those dreams.
Unlike a lot of later games and systems, it still stands up pretty well today too.
AV: Sony DH740
Center: Polk CS2 Series 2
L/R: Polk Monitor 70 Series 2
Side/Rear Surrounds: Polk Monitor 40 Series 2
Sub-woofers: Polk PSW10 (x2)
Crysis - upgraded to Vista just for DX10 to get the improved visuals...this right at the same time I built a new pc costing ~2k
Something also about Shenmue on the Dreamcast was quite a changer for me. I remember spending pretty much my whole summer vacation playing that game.
Sadly...World of Warcraft...just so many years lost to that game as it changed multiplayer for me.
I guess I've been a gamer more or less since I was about 5 or so in the early 80s. I've seen it all, ha ha. It all started when my brother got tired of his Commodore VIC20 and gave it to me. The first game I ever played was Centipede from a cassette tape. So, the first time I even ever saw a computer game it of course blew me away. Tape to 5.25" floppy was also a big jump. Then later, when I got my first ever hard drive, that was a big tech change too; the first time you didn't have to swap discs! The way grapics evolved over the years too...I mean this to me explains why everyone my age is focused so much on graphics. Don't forget (if you're old enough) we used to track the tech year by year and you used to really see the improvements in graphics year-over-year and it was always a big deal.
Another angle on gaming that came after this was the first time I went to an arcade. Oh man. That turned into an addiction. I probably put the equivalent of an 80s college degree fund into arcades with quarters. I totally miss arcades. A highlight of a recent trip to Japan was going to the arcades. They still have arcades there and they're more or less just as awesome as 80s arcades were here in north america.
On PC was the first time I hacked/cracked a game by just finding values to edit in the ASCII of the game code. I can't remember the game but I think it was some sort of dungeon crawl game where I gave myself unlimited potions and hit points etc. So discovering hacking was really cool. It sort of had a "Matrix" effect within my gaming life, like "oh, ok, I don't just have to play by the rules".
I had a game in the 80s that used a headset and you could bark into the mic a small set of commands while using the keyboard simultaneously for other things. That was pretty revolutionary at the time. I mean it was still on like a x286 PC, monochrome parallax pseudo "3d" game. So adding voice command beat Kinect by about 30 years or so.
Bloodmoney on Commodore Amiga was the first time the soundtrack to a game was more than funny beeps and bleeps. This game had an actual composer in the credits. The music was so good I tape recorded it on my ghetto blaster so I could listen to it when I wanted to in my Walkman. It was awesome.
I loved playing duck hunt on Nintendo. That flash gun was such a mystery to me when I was a kid...how did it work? I agree with the poster above. I had the power glove, that bazooka thing, and that fascinating gyro gizmo that you would control in 3D in reality and that interfaced with what was happening in the corresponding Mario game. Sorry I can't remember any of the names of these things or games but it was a long time ago now haha! Thinking about it, Nintendo in general in the 80s was pretty ahead of the game in terms of doing interesting things other than what is now known as controller based games.
The biggest software tech change I remember was in early high school some kid brought in a new game called Doom and we loaded onto the computer in the History classroom and all our jaws dropped. Even our super cool History teach...he literally let us spend the class taking turns playing the game, himself included! Most of us had played Wolfenstein, but Doom was something totally different. It was actual 3d movement, it was incredible and the graphics were such a leap at the time. This was the first time I learned what an engine was. Doom was also the first time I played "online multiplayer". My friend and I would dial each other up on our US Robotics 56k modems and play 1 on 1. LOL it was such a huge pain in the ass. We'd call each other on the phone "OK you want to play?" and then we'd spend all this time trying to get our modems to handshake just so we could play. It wasn't easy! Sidenote, my buddy from back then ended up becoming a computer engineer and now has a big career working for Alcatel designing their modems.
In the early 90s I was at a theme park, and that summer they had something new called virtual reality. You put on this helmet and held this gun-like thing. The graphics were so, so bad. It was literally monochrome blocks and shapes floating in a plane and you navigated around them against the other player (it was just 1 v 1) shooting at each other. You would literally get into this little gladiator ring (in real life I mean, as the player) and there was a big crowd of people waiting to play next and they would all stand around and watch the match. You could move around in a little circular pen inside the gladiator ring (I"m just calling it that, you get it) and it would control what direction your character was facing. But it didn't pick up walking, you had to press a button on the gun to move forward or backward. I'm proud to say that I totally won my one and only 1 v 1 virtual reality match and my friends were really impressed haha. I think the other kid was older than me too, so that mattered back then. Ah, kids. Ha ha. Just two years ago I had the pleasure to meet and hang out with Jaron Lanier, the guy who is credited with inventing VR. What a totally awesome guy. If you don't know of him, look for him on The Colbert Report from sometime earlier this year. He's a total genius and a really cool guy.
I could go on and on, those are the earliest ones I thought I'd share just to round out the thread a little.
It's funny how a lot of the "latest" in game tech like online gaming, Kinect, Oculous Rift, etc. I've experienced in very primitive ways decades ago now. What's old is new again. I think we're in a time where these technologies aren't really invented now, but what's happening is the tech is finally getting close to what the inventors of it imagined back then when they invented it. It's crazy to see it all within my lifetime. Centipede to Titanfall and my life is only around half over. I can't imagine what I'll be playing in the retirement home in 40 years.
XBOX 360 - KrazeeEyezKeith
PS4 - KrazeeKeith
Anyway that was my first experience playing a modern video game online. I was just amazed that I could be playing in real time with someone across the country or across the Globe. After that, single player games on my Nintendo just weren't the same for me. So I played more and more PC online multiplayer games and less and less Nintendo games. And there begin my obsession with constantly upgrading my PCs, CPUs, Graphics cards etc. Sometimes several times a year. I spent way too much money. I never had a Playstation 1 or 2 since I was going away from consoles. And I kept playing games on PC until 2005 when the Xbox 360 came out. Then I gave up PC gaming in favor of console gaming with the online component. And then my constant PC upgrading ended. Which is really the best thing that came out of me stopping game play on PCs.
I guess I could also say another moment was in 1977(Christmas) when we got an Atari 2600. My brother and I were so excited. But he was in High School back then so it had more impact on me since I was younger and in middle school. Prior to that we had a magnavox gaming system which basically had pong. And various games based on moving the rectangles and squares like on pong. Only you physically put an overlay on the TV screen. In 1977 the Atari 2600 seemed amazing compared to that.
Amazing in its day. Played MKII I recall. XBand even had its own mail system!
- Intellivision. All my friends had 2600s, but my dad brought home an Intellivision one day and it blew me away. Awesome graphics for its time, a 32-direction movement disc (which was superior to any other console until analog controllers started showing up for PS1/Saturn, I believe), and 16 buttons with game-specific overlays. Arguably the first RTS game ever (Utopia), unrivaled sports games (football, baseball, and tennis were fantastic), and the super-awesome Dreadnaught Factor. Sealed my interest in gaming for the long haul. I wasn't lucky enough to have the speech module, but I knew a kid who did, and that thing was also amazing for its time.
- Sega Genesis. Revenge Of Shinobi and Sonic The Hedgehog made me feel like I had an arcade cabinet in my living room. Great music, great graphics, 10 layers of parallax scrolling. Made the SNES look dog-slow and weak by comparison, and the SNES came out later than the Genesis. Had a really amazing game library, including the groundbreaking Herzog Zwei (which is definitely the first RTS game if you don't think Utopia qualified).
- Sega Saturn. Not a popular system overall, but it had three key wins that really sold me:
1. Light gun games. Light guns had been done before, but Virtua Cop, Virtua Cop 2, and House Of The Dead were really faithful ports, and the Saturn light guns were really accurate.
2. Virtua Fighter 2 at 704x480, 60fps. My jaw dropped when I first saw this running. It was quadruple the resolution of most games of the time and running buttery smooth. Yes, the backgrounds were 2D, but everything that mattered was 3D and looked awesome.
3. Guardian Heroes. Still one of the best brawlers ever made - a side-scroller that let you hop between 3 layers of depth, choose tons of alternate paths through the game, and build your character stats like an RPG. And its arena mode let you play as any character in the game that you had played as or defeated, including bosses, and you could set arbitrary teams, levels, and AI or player control for up to 6 characters. I'm still pissed that the HD remaster of this only showed up on the 360...
- Tempest 2000 on the Atari Jaguar. Trippy video feedback effects, great music and gameplay. An all-time classic, IMO.
- Ecco The Dolphin: Defender Of The Future on Sega Dreamcast. Gorgeous game for its time. Unique, epic, and challenging.
- Grand Theft Auto III on PS2. I had played the previous top-down GTA's and loved them, but they really knocked it out of the park with the transition to 3D. Cars handled like a dream, and they still let you steal fire trucks and tanks. Such an amazing game, and then GTA:SA took it to even greater heights later on.
- Virtua Fighter 5 on PS3. The game that got me to buy the system. Booted that sucker up on my 1080i-only HDTV from 2001 and I swear it knocked me back in my chair when those glorious HD graphics hit the screen. Too bad most of the PS3 catalog downscaled to 480p instead, since the console didn't natively convert 720p to 1080i. I had to choose games very carefully until that TV died and I replaced it with one that handled 720p properly.
I think the next wow for me will be when I try out a convincing VR system. Hopefully Morpheus will fit that bill.
Edit: my old brain fails me. The card was for hints.
This quote reminds me of a picture I saw not to long ago.
Speaking of floppy discs...anyone remember those crazy addons where you could load genesis and SNES games off of floppy discs? One of my friends had one, it was nuts. He even had one for the n64 that used zip discs! A whole 100MB on a giant, super expensive disc!
I had Sega channel back in the day.
Riverraid, Atari 2600
Coleco Visio - the graphics were soo cool and I had the roller ball controller thing
Ultima series on Commodore 64. The game was soo massive. lol
Ultima underworld PC, the real first 3d first person game
Turbo for Arcade and coleco vision with a wheel.
Super Mario in the Arcade
Wlolfenstein and Doom of course
Far Cry, Crysis.
soundwise, I had a Gravis Ultrasound card that changed how I thought about PC sound.
But I remember when I got my first Monster 3Dfx card. That was a moment for me. Right then and there I knew everything changed. That was a game changer in every sense.
Yeah, I remember that I had Tomb Raider on the Playstation back in 1996, and I thought it was amazing. A buddy of mine told me that I had to come over to his house and check something out. He showed me Tomb Raider running on a 3Dfx PC. About two weeks later I was building my first gaming PC, lol... I remember the early 3Dfx days very well. 1996, 1997 and 1998 were all amazing playing 3Dfx games. I remember seeing that Tomb Raider running on his PC monitor, and it was like somebody with horrible vision finally putting on some glasses.