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Top 10 Gaming Milestones

VO: Dan
Every generation of video game technology brings about new levels of enjoyment. From technical advances to design changes and even ways we play. For this list, we’ll be focusing on the features and innovations that changed the face of gaming, for better or for worse. You may not like some of these features and changes, but you can’t deny their significance. Join as we count down the Top 10 gaming milestones.

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Top 10 Gaming Milestones

Every so often fun is elevated to the next level. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 gaming milestones.

For this list, we’ll be focusing on the innovations that changed the face of gaming, for better or for worse. You may not like some of these features and changes, but you can’t deny their significance.

#10- Game Saves

Kicking off our list is the feature that directly shaped deep game narrative. Early games were mostly ports of arcade titles, and were thus designed to suck quarters and end in a single sitting. This ended in 1987 when Nintendo put an internal battery inside their Legend of Zelda game cartridge. Powering a RAM chip, it stored player progress, making gaming worlds bigger, and more complex in ways passwords could never do.

#9- Touchscreen

This innovation was planned for Sega’s never released successor to the Game Gear, but shelved due to the high cost of the technology in the early 1990s. Instead the first console to use it was the Tiger Electronic’s “Game.Com” in 1997, before it caught mainstream attention in 2004 with the Nintendo DS, and becoming a standard feature with the introduction of smart phones and the iPhone in 2007. While it may not see a lot of love in the hardcore market, touch controls have redefined mobile gaming and have flipped the portable market on its head.

#8- Motion Controls

While hardcore purists may look down on motion controls as a gimmick, and they’re partly right, when used correctly they push the envelope of creative game design to new and exciting places. Long before the Sony EyeToy, Wii or Kinect, motion features actually appeared back in the days of the Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 with a peripheral called “Le Stick” by Datasoft Inc. While that was way ahead of its time, Nintendo’s Wii made waggle a standard feature, broadening the gaming market demographics to include every member of your family, whether you like it or not.

#7- Analog Sticks

Ah the Nintendo 64, a system both stuck in the past and at the forefront of innovation at the same time. This is the turning point where the 8 directions allowed by Joysticks and directional pads were replaced with full 360-degree movements that could allow you to change the speed of your motion without having to hold down a button, allowing for subtle movements and precise control. It’s still easier to aim with a mouse, but wadayagonnado.

#6- ESRB Ratings and Mature Games

It may seem like a no brainer today, but back in the early 90s games weren’t rated. So why do we consider restrictions a win? Well, in an effort to keep violent content out of young hands, mature games were once shunned and the market focused on games for children. Once the ratings arrived, games production ramped up for the mature audiences and larger numbers of mature games were allowed to exist and be marketed.

#5- Online Gaming for Consoles

Playing with friends over the Internet on consoles is not as old as you think. Although the Xbox and the ever popular Halo 2 broke ground, it only really took off with the seventh generation of consoles, meaning the Xbox 360 and PS3. PC Gamers had been doing this for over a decade already, but bringing internet multiplayer to the home consoles eventually created a huge shift in game design, turning the singular focus of hundreds of games into an collective experience.

#4- 3D Graphics

There’s nothing like crisp 2D. However, it was the introduction of 3D space, beginning with simple polygons in such titles as Tempest and Battlezone. 3D graphics may seem like a non-feature these days, but allowing players to explore 3 dimensions quite literally had an exponential effect on the potential for creative game design. No more would platformers dominate the markets, it was time for the first person shooter to shine.

#3- Portable Gaming & Smartphones

While touch screens and even touch screen gaming devices with 3D have become the norm, not enough can be said about the fact that we can even play games while on the run! Nintendo’s Gameboy brought portable gaming to the masses, even though it didn’t have color. Years down the road, portable consoles have all been destroyed by smartphones, shifting portable gaming from an exclusive and expensive market aimed squarely at young adults to an extremely affordable marketed to anyone with 2 thumbs and a Vorizon contract.

#2- Home Consoles and Interchangeable Media

Okay, so you may not like touch screens, wii-motes and iPhone games, but we bet you love your console don’t you? Way back when, arcades were the only place to play. While each machine there was limited to one title, home consoles eventually grew past this limitation and provided the opportunity to swap games. Having to buy the console and game meant there was no reason for games to remain punishingly difficult quarter suckers, so games became longer and more complex, developing into greater experiences rather than thinly veiled business models.

#1- Arcades

Was there any doubt? While Arcades have all but disappeared in America, these are the places where much of the love of gaming was formed and gaming as a whole found acceptance since their debut around 1971. Many experiences that became standard at home happened in the arcades first including racing games, full motion video, light-gun shooters, music games and dance games. Without Arcades pushing cutting edge technology and experiences, there would have never been a demand to bring gaming back home.

Agree with our list? What do you consider the greatest gaming win? For more entertaining top 10’s be sure to subscribe to

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