Home Video Games Industry History My Golden Era of Gaming
My Golden Era of Gaming PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tim Wray   
Saturday, 13 June 2009 11:13

It has often been said that the golden era of home video games was the era roughly between 1977 and 1982, the era that was strongly ruled by the "original Atari", as most people knew it, the Atari 2600 "Video Computer System". I am, actually, an avid collector of video game items from this period, which are not getting easier to find in 2009 aside from the internet. Honestly, though, as far as my childhood goes, I'm more a graduate of video game generations three and four.

Generation three consists of, predominantly, the original Nintendo Entertainment System. This, in fact, was the very first console I ever owned. My love of the video game began on December 25th, 1989, at age 7, with rousing rounds of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", "Super Mario Bros.", and "Duck Hunt", right in the middle of Generation 3, and at the onset of Generation 4 (The Sega Genesis had hit the market in 1989 also.)

While I loved (read obsessed over) my Gen 3 games then, I remember the first time I saw a Super NES commercial on TV. It was practically an immediate case of "gotta have one." They were advertising the original release games, titles like "Super Mario World", "Pilotwings", and "F-Zero".

Go foward about a year, to Christmas 1992. I was 10, and had just unwrapped my very own Super NES "Super Set", with both controllers and "Super Mario World" packed with it. The console amazed me over and over through those years, first with the gameplay of Super Mario World (which is also the first game I ever beat), the speed of "F-Zero", and the jaw-dropping gameplay and 3D design of "Star Fox", the first game to incorporate the RISC-based "Super-FX Chip", in 1993.

In November 1994, "Donkey Kong Country" was released, and in the last 45 days of 1994 6.1 MILLION units were sold, the fastest moving video game up to that date in history. One of those ended up in our house, and once again, the SNES was revolutionized with the 3D modeling used in that game, which was unlike anything I'd seen yet. This game was arguably smoother looking than many of the early Playstation games that came out between then and 1996.

Also, it should be mentioned that Generation 4 was the only generation that I owned the two major consoles of a generation at the same time. I saw the best of the Sega Genesis, as my family got one Christmas 1993. I owned "Sonic The Hedgehog 3" within 2 months of it's release in 1994. The whole early platform Sonic games were one of the epitomes of platform gaming, along with the Super Mario franchise and the later Donkey Kong Country franchise at the end of the 16-bit era.

I love the old Atari stuff, even if it is the same age and older than myself. Still, my best memories were made with the occasions of current-generation consoles my youth. I remember playing against friends at their home in "Super Mario Bros. 3." I remember being at another friend's house in 1993, the only time I used a Super NES "Super Scope". I remember spending the night at yet another friend's house in 1994 and playing the original "Sonic the Hedgehog" for the first time on Genesis.

It's safe to say that Generation 4 of video game history was MY generation. Long live GEN 4!