I’ve been playing video games for as long as I can remember, from my first hand me down ZX to my lovely shiney Xbox One however something definitely shifted when cd based consoles truly kicked off.
When I think back to one of the pre cd systems I owned there’s always a distinctive feeling I get no matter what the game, wether it be exclusive or multi platform. I immediately can pin point why I remember it and for what system it was on. It’s identity is so apparent that there’s no mistaking it’s origin.
This started to shift for me like I said when the CD based systems started, I’m not talking about the mega cd or cd32 because they weren’t true original disc based consoles. Sega Saturn, psx in my eyes were the dawn that video game home consoles lost their identity. Most games from that period onwards could be made for each competing company’s device and there would be little to discern them from each other. This is even worse now with PS4 and Xbox being practicality identical inside.
Visuals play a part in a systems identity, you can definitely tell in the early days which game was on which system from the palette and size/number of sprites etc…Now…you may disagree with me but I feel that the biggest factor in a games/systems identity is the sound.
When I think back to a game in my past the first thing that comes into my mind is the music or sounds effect. I can’t really remember a system having similar sounds chips, the c64 and Speccy sounded world’s apart, the NES and master system were wildly different; and the SNES which is my personal all time favourite was on a different level altogether.
So my point is I believe our thirst for better visuals and more importantly realistic soundscapes has destroyed a systems true identity. Anyhow, enough chit chat let’s enjoy some tunes courtesy of you tube: