The best hardware and technical innovations from past generations

These buttons are usually found on the top of the controller and typically have a secondary function in games. Though, in first person and third person shooters, they arguably function has the main buttons.  Over time, shoulder buttons have been further innovated upon with the creation of pressure triggers seen on the Dreamcast and a second row seen on the PlayStation home consoles.

  • Favorite usage: off-hand grenades in Halo

Mode 7 and true 3D environments

A flat, infinite and ever expanding plane probably gave the perfect illusion gamers needed for a pseudo 3D experience but, it wasn’t until CD based systems really started to take advantage of this. Two dimensions was pretty much the only aspect gamers knew and slowly, but surely that notion has reversed. Though, there are still very notable 2D based games around …

  • Favorite usages: Racing in F-Zero (SNES), navigating world maps in Square RPGs

Standard four controller ports

While this isn’t such a big thing now, but having four controller ports built into a system was an ingenious perk. Way before Nintendo implemented this on the N64, two ports were normally found on systems. Microsoft and Sega followed suite on this with their consoles, but Sony never did. Nowadays, USB ports and wireless signals are the standard for controller connections instead of a propriety connection shipped with a console.

  • Favorite usage: GoldenEye 007 multiplayer (N64)

Battery back up memory

Passwords were a great feature, but having to write them down all the time was a pain. Though passwords hung around while battery saves on the cart were being implemented, this function would later evolve into memory cards for CD based systems and hard disk drives further along into the future starting with the Xbox.

  • Favorite usage: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Dual analog joysticks

Looking back, first person shooters were awkward at first, GoldenEye being one of them! Holding down a shoulder button for precise aiming? Now that’s a thing of the past! Innovating controllers like the Dual Shock really paved the way for quicker and easier camera controls as well as a dedicated stick for looking/aiming.

  • Favorite usage: Xbox 360 controller


It’s just not that easy

On a sunny summer afternoon, I got home from work ready to sit down in front of the couch to try to finish one of the many games I have failed to complete. When I come home, not even five minutes in the door, my roommate informs me that the PS3 won’t turn on.

I inquire further about the situation, fearing the worst has happened. Apparently, it shut off in the middle of playing a Netflix stream and refused to turn on after that. I go over to the machine to test this for myself and just like she said it doesn’t turn on.
"Yellow light of death"

My heart sank to my stomach and I sighed. It died on me. However, I figure all is not lost. It can still be repaired. I start to research around the Internet for solutions to my problem and yes, given the symptoms, it’s a semi-common problem with my model PS3. It’s fixable, that’s what matters.

I search for home remedies instead of having to send it off somewhere. The thought of bringing it back to Sony seemed like a good option. But, reading about the repair process just made me backtrack to the DIY repairs, which I don’t have the tools for. So, I then researched repair shops I could send it to, these sounded like a better idea after some of the things I read about sending it back to the manufacturer. Who can I really trust with my prized system?

Knowing that there is a disc stuck in the drive and my save data hasn’t been back up in a while, I just let my PS3 sit on the shelf. I was fed up with research and contemplating the options … My PS3 has gone weeks without being turned on. I had my Deus Ex: Human Revolution preordered for the system but, had to cancel it since I was still undecided about what to do with only home console.

Now, I was not completely without a source of video entertainment, I still have a pretty decent gaming PC. Even with a PS3, there are still some games I prefer to play with a mouse and keyboard. I opted for buying Deus Ex for my rig. Time went on and I became more and more attached to my PC. It has become a pretty reliable piece of machinery. I have since bought Battlefield 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the Windows platform.

In between all this though, I missed sitting in front of my TV, just relaxing with a controller in my hands. There is a certain experience you get in front of a television that you don’t from a sitting a computer chair. The couch is more comfortable but, it doesn’t lean back. Nevertheless, it can feel like a more social experience and more relaxing.

I missed this. Modern technology had burned me. You’ve probably heard the numerous stories of this generation of consoles breaking due to some sort internal malfunction. Did that ever happen in 1986? Probably. Do you have to worry about your Xbox’s hard drive dying? The simple answer is yes.

Putting a different way … A Nintendo from 20 years ago can still play a game pretty much flawlessly but, a state of the art entertainment device can’t even last four years without completely breaking? That’s why I went back. Things were just easier.

Games didn’t used to load, the controls were simple and you probably didn’t have a melodramatic saga of four games with hour long cut scenes. To me, the industry seemed sane then. Now, you have logins, Gamertags and random strangers from the Internet that condemn for a well-placed headshot.

I just want to press start and have the game work.