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Yahtzee reviews the fifth generation of consoles.

Transcript Edit

(jingle) Let's all laugh at an industry that never learns anything, tee hee hee.

Zero Punctuation's Occasional Guide to Retarded Special Moments in Gaming History Edit

My first idea for this episode of the Zero Punctuation occasional guide to gaming's most voluminous trouser shitting incidents was that we could all laugh at the Virtual Boy, tee hee hee. But that didn't feel to revalatory. You know, Nintendo's headache-inducing masque of the red death didn't do so well. Then I thought perhaps we could all laugh at everything else Nintendo was doing at the time as well, tee hee hee, because they stepped into more than a few potholes and the potholes were big and black.

But then again, Sega was about to fall into some potholes that were bigger and blacker and also full of cum. So I did a bit more reading up and eventually threw up my hands and said "Fuck it, let's all laugh at the entire fifth generation of consoles, tee hee hee."

Console Wars: The Vexed Generation Edit

Funny how the world of gaming was turned completely upside on its head by the incremented of a single digit by one, that digit being the 2 at the start of 2D. If only they'd known that one day 90% of the indie games on Steam would be aping the 16bit era, they could have just gritted their teeth, held on for twenty years and been purged pretty as the perfect patricion of Port Pixel Art. But no, everything had to be 32bit now, sprite's out, first generation polygon's in. There's no stopping progress, even if progress looks like double-bagged tiger whoopsies being jizzed out of a dead spider.

It was a painful, transitionary period when the old kings collapsed syphilitically from their throwns and the crowns were up for grabs. What really sums it up is that if mid-veteran companies had been doing the console war thing for years, the eventual winners of the generation was the newcomer, Sony, a company best known for a thing for men to use while walking, called a Walkman, and their station for playing things on, the Playstation. Apparently Sony was the one doing all the smart thinking, even if their naming division wasn't. 

Nintendo went into the fifth generation with everything to loose. The SNES and the Gameboy had created a world in which confused, elderly, relatives referred to every gaming platform as "Nintendos", to the undisguided contempt of their children. Perhaps Nintendo had gotten cocky, that might explain why they tried to push a VR console fifteen years before commercial VR tech was even remotely viable, that could only do red-on-black sprites and had no tracking, so it was essentially just the experience of sitting really really close to a broken TV. But let's not dwell on the Virtual Boy, that was just an experiment that got rather misguidedly overpromoted and hey, experimentation is good. That's how we learn. How else would you know that you get sexually aroused from packing peanut butter into a dolphin's blowhole.

Partially it was pushed to distract from the Nintendo 64 being delayed half a year, missing the Christmas sales, but that was small potatoes in the long run. The N64 boasted the most powerful graphics tech of its time and first party titles that still to this day appear in best-game-ever lists written by nostalgia-blinded twats who probably still eat children's breakfast cereals. The N64 had the power, the IP and the good reputation, there was just one tiny little massive cargo container full of bat smegma sitting on the N64 railroad tracks and it's had the word "cartridges" along the side. Cartridges did have merits. They load fast and are sturdy enough to still work after you smack your brother with it for asking for their turn, but the same is true of an articulated truck and you wouldn't pick up your dinner date in one. 

The age of the CD-ROM had come, which may well have been slower to load and stopped working if you used them as improved weaponry. But in comparison, developing for cartridge was like chiseling the ones and zeros onto stone tablets and third-party developers were turned off. Ultimately the third-party developers would be the kingmakers of this generation. Capcom gave their old pals Nintendo the cold shoulder and showed up to the Playstation's birthday party with Resident Evil. Squaresoft batted away Nintendo's attempt to hold hands so it could go behind a bikeshed with Sony and show them their nickers, aka Final Fantasy 7.

But it wasn't just the Nintendo 64 strapped to the railroad tracks. Sega also saw the incoming Playstation juggernaut, its driver blinded by all the moist third-party developer panties covering the windscreen and had a little wee-wee squirt which led to the launch of them launching the Sega Saturn in the US four month early to selected retailers. But that squirt went right in their face because some of the not selected retailers got pissy, so to speak, and dropped Sega from their lineup. This included Walmart and so Sega lost the important shithead market. 

In the end, the Saturn's head start only let the Playstation piss on the back of its head. But there were many factors leading to the Saturn's failure. Some blame the cancellation of its one and only Sonic game, Sonic X-treme, which would have been the 3D Sonic decount on Mario 64. And yes, I think it's a shame we didn't discover early on that Sonic and 3D meet the way the German invading infantry met the Siberian winter. Perhaps a lot of later unpleasantness could have been avoided. But if you asked me, banking on a console mascot is playing the game by old rules that the fifth generation was in the process of rewriting. Mascots were part of the world left behind, the one that would be compressed down into a little, comfortable nostalgic ball that Nintendo would wear on its head for the rest of fucking eternity, like the space helmet full of gummy bears.

In a pivotal moment of technological upgrade, all the old, established ways proved to be nothing but unnecessary baggage that weighed the veterans down as the light, new hotness ran up and took the gold. So congratulations Sony, you won the fifth generation. Here's your fabulous price: several million snotty, unpleasable fanboys that must now be kept in a state of constant satisfaction. Don't overdo the champagne now. 

The lessons nobody learned Edit

Today the console conflict is a three-party system. Well, two parties and one bloke chewing gummy bears in a space helmet. And, of course, PC gaming watching it all through high-powered binoculars from the roof of their giant money factory.

But in the turmoil of the rise of 32bit at was anybody's race. And there was quite a field of the healthy competition we could with more of nowadays. I didn't even mention the console I had: the Amiga CD32, the console so good it had to be discontinued and declare bankruptcy after six months to give everyone else a chance. Then there was the 3DO with its wonderful FMV games that made flesh look like biscuit dough smeared in water-based lubricant. Or the Atari Jaguar, technically the world's first 64bit console, in that at least 64 people looked at it and said: "Well, it's a bit like a console, I guess. But what's with the controller that looks like a Genesis controller got knocked up by a pocket calculator?" Hmm, you know, on second thought, healthy competition wasn't the right choice of words. Slightly run down competition, maybe, or how about competition that could probably get out of bed, given a drip, a wheelchair and the second coming of Jesus?

Addenda Edit

  • Loss leader: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • Also I didn't mention that Sony offered to partner with Nintendo on a CD console but Nintendo turned them down 'cos the company brain cell was on loan
  • Mascots in internet video reviews, on the other hand, still going strong
Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe
Q3 Get Even · Hollow Knight / Dead Cells · Fifth Console Generation · The End is Nigh, and Yonder: Cloud Catcher Chronicles · Pyre · Splatoon 2 · Hellblade · Agents of Mayhem · Sonic Mania · Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle · Destiny 2 · Metroid: Samus Returns
Q4 Knack 2 and SteamWorld Dig 2 · Cuphead · Hob and A Hat in Time · Middle-earth: Shadow of War · The Evil Within 2 · Super Mario Odyssey · Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus · Assassin's Creed Origins · Sonic Forces · Star Wars Battlefront II

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