I came across this infographic yesterday about how Nintendo became the global success it is today, and I thought it was rather good. I like a bit of visual history and it is a great story.
Did you know that more households in the US own a Nintendo Wii than a cat? That the company started in 1889 making playing cards? And by the 1990′s Mario was more recognisable to American children than Mickey Mouse?
Just the thing for a Wednesday morning:
Now as I think you know, I am not the world’s most enthusiastic gamer, but I do recognise the significance of gaming culture and its importance in the world of transmedia artforms.
I was therefore interested to read about improvements in the sophistication of games, particularly the developments coming out of Crytek the video game company. For those, like me, not familiar with all this, Crytek market a game engine called CryEngine and they have just unveiled the latest version, which I am sure will have developers everywhere getting very excited.
What struck me was just how realistic the effects are – the characters who people games look incredibly realistic, even in close up. And apparently they have even improved the glass shader: it can represent a wide range of glass types, including regular windows, stained glass, leaded glass, beveled glass, some crystal types and some types of transparent plastics as well. The improved glass shader now also boasts features such as a dirt layer designed to produce extremely realistic-looking glass surfaces complete with dust and dirt, differential fog and refraction blur. Incredible!
Watching their demo made me think about how far we have come since the 1990′s.
Have a look at Sierra’s very popular King’s Quest VI:
And then compare it to the demo for the new CryEngine technology and marvel at how you could have been addicted to something so basic …
I have to admit that I am not one of the millions of people who own a video game. My experience hit a brick wall when Star Wars appeared on those pub tables and I was pushed into a corner by my over-enthusiastic male friends.
However, I have had to abandon my stereotypical view of a gamer – it’s not a lone teenage boy closeted in his bedroom at all, but a 37 year old man or woman, half of whom play on mobile devices. In America, 72% of households play computer or video games and the average age of the most frequent game purchaser is a mature, responsible 41 years old.
I was so wrong!
Reflecting this massively growing industry, that bastion of British culture BAFTA has even become involved. I discovered that the organisation has been recognising achievement in interactive and video gaming since as early as 1998 and in 2006 BAFTA announced its decision to give video games equal status with film and television.
This evening sees the annual BAFTA Video Games Awards ceremony at the London Hilton, Park Lane and the event will be streamed live on the BAFTA website. There are 18 categories ranging from Best Game to Best Mobile and Handheld.
Apparently this year’s Awards are a showdown between Batman: Arkham City and LA Noire (a neo noire crime video game whatever that is), with 8 nominations each.
I think my cultural development has been sadly lacking and maybe I need to put a better-late-than-never New Year’s Resolution in place – GET INTO GAMING ASAP.
Any advice for the woeful amateur gratefully received.