Different Platforms For Releasing Games

You might have thought about releasing your own game or you might just be curious about what platforms can be used for playing games. This is interesting for me as a programmer so in this blog post I am going to open up a bit these different ways you can today play and even design games.

I have been making websites as a hobby for very long time. I started back in the 90s. To be precise it was the end of 90s. Back then we didn’t have any mobile devices at all. Bluetooth wasn’t where it is today. I think there even wasn’t this thing we call USB standard. So if you had a PC you had to plug in your gaming pad some other way. I don’t recall what that way was. Basically if you wanted to play with game controller you would be preferring PlayStation over PC.

But what I was saying is that one platform that you can make games on is the web browser. You can develop your game with only HTML, CSS and JavaScript. If you make a game this way it is very easy to release it. You just have to upload your game to a web host. There are places on internet that actually sell these games also. So this is one way to make a game.

You might want to go mobile. This means you have to learn Java and after you have mastered it you must learn software development in Android (or iOS and ´the programming language that is used with it). I have tried my hand at Android development. I found it to be very hard. So I gave up on this idea. But this isn’t what you should do. If you have an interest there’s nothing that can stop you from downloading the appropriate IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and start working on it.

One way to release a game is on some gaming console. This is a bit harder since manufacturers of gaming consoles tend to have a sense of control over what kinds of games are being released on their systems. Sometimes you even need a specific development kit for the desired console. So this is a hard way for an independent software developer. It can also cost a lot of money. This way includes also handheld consoles like Nintendo Switch Lite. You might notice that Nintendo is going in it’s own direction as it doesn’t really care so much about mobile gaming.

You can also release a game for an old gaming console. You probably don’t have an appropriate development kit but I can assure you that there are lots of software tools for accomplishing this. So you actually can make a game that is playable through emulator. You can use emulators to play old games on a wide variety of devices that include smart phones, computers like Raspberry Pi and personal computers. There are emulators for playing games of for example Commodore 64, NES, SNES, Master System, Mega Drive, MS-DOS, PlayStation 1 & 2, Dreamcast, GameCube, Wii and many others.

There are also many operating systems that games for PC can be released on. There is Windows, right now it is Windows 10, and many versions of Linux (like Ubuntu). There are also Linux distributions that are dedicated to retro and emulator gaming. I can name some of them. There is Lakka OS, RetroPie and Recalbox just to name some of them.

If you don’t want to release your game for free there are many online software stores that can be used to sell your game. There is Steam and GOG which are big names that have numerous amounts of games available. There are also lots of other options that you can find using your favorite search engine.

I didn’t go to what tools you can use for developing your own game. This might be a good time to have a break. I will come back with another post for you very soon. It would be a good idea to present for you some tools that can be used for developing a game for Android, Windows, Linux or for web browsers. This would be interesting wouldn’t it?

Importance of Nintendo to Console Gaming

Nintendo was founded in 1889. It was originally named as Nintendo Karuta. As you can probably conclude – the end of 1800s wasn’t yet the time for this company to develop a gaming console to be played at thousands of living rooms worldwide. But it was the same company that brought NES or Nintendo Entertainment System to markets in 1983.

NES wasn’t the first video game console that was introduced to consumers. Atari brought their very popular console to the markets at the end of 1970s. It was very popular device but it got into real problems as the quality of games that were released did drop. These games included a game that was well-known and often named as the worst game ever made. It was a game based on Steven Spielbergs movie “E.T.” . This and many other games were buried to wasteland. And this is a true story. When Nintendo released NES the industry started to get over this crisis of games that didn’t have a good quality. Nintendo was making sure that only good and playable games would be released to the system.

If you have to name one game console you probably get your mind to NES. I remember clearly that it also was the first gaming device that I remember seeing ever. In the 1980s we had Commodore 64 but what Nintendo offered was something that revolutionized gaming.

Nintendo had to compete with Sega and later with such big names like Microsoft and Sony. Nintendo has been in gaming industry for a long time. Somehow Nintendo kind of missed mobile gaming and approached handheld gaming by bringing new handheld consoles to the market. Lately there was introduced a new handheld device and this device is the one I acquired very recently – Nintendo Switch Lite. Thinking about this makes me puzzled. I bought this for about 220 euros. A new smart phones price is from about 150 to 400 euros. Would you buy a handheld device for gaming if you have your smart phone already? This is something to think about. Although I have been very satisfied with my purchase this far.

So Nintendo was the company that brought 8-bit gaming to our living rooms. It might not have been the first but in my opinion it had the strongest impact on this culture that was already starting to rise it’s head. This brings out the question – Why are games so popular? I think Nintendo has come up with the answer and they are, after all these years, still coming up with new innovative devices and games to gamers worldwide. So the impact to the whole industry is undisputed.

 

What Is Evercade?

Do you like handheld game consoles? Do you play retro games? If you answered yes to these questions you might find Evercade interesting. It has been in the markets already for some time. I haven’t really got into it but I think I am somewhat interested in it so I decided to gather some information and write a blog post about it. Here we go!

We have seen many forays on handheld retro game consoles. They are marketed by saying that they include tens or hundreds of classic games. I have also seen some do-it-yourself projects that have been made with Raspberry Pi. Evercade is a bit different. It offers games in a form of cartridge that has many games, like ten games or so (it actually varies a bit). So you can buy more games.

Let’s talk about some features. It is possible to connect Evercade to television with HDMI connection. Evercade scales th picture to HD resolution when connected to a television. It’s battery is charged through USB-to-micro-USB cable. There is a place for headphones and it is a mini-plug-connection. There is no Bluetooth connectivity. You can see in the “Featured image” of this post how the controls are positioned. Controls include also trigger buttons on left and right side of the device. The size of the screen is 4,3 inches. It is promised that Evercades battery will last four hours maximally. And one more thing about the features. The price of the Premium Pack is, here where I live, about 110 euros. On the Wikipedia it is said that the price is about “£80/$100”.

I think this product is interesting. I don’t know if I am going to buy it. I have made lately a purcase that I will now only tell that about it that it was a handheld game console. So I am not so interested in buying another new console. Also I am not going to buy any new game consoles to be connected to our television. My living room has right now so many consoles that I would have to think about where to put them and how to accurately display them. So I’m basically running out of room.

Redream – A Dreamcast Emulator

Segas last gaming console, Dreamcast, was released in 1999, at least in Europe. It was actually released in November 1998 in Japan. It wasn’t a bad console. Many say it was the best gaming console that was ever released. To some it was even better than the first PlayStation. It sure was more powerful. It had many great games but it only stayed available for consumers to buy for a short period of time. Dreamcast was drawn from manufacture at the end of 2001. So there might have been more games released for this system if it would have been longer in the markets.

Some good Dreamcast games that I’ve played are Skies of Arcadia, NBA 2K2 and Crazy Taxi. I have heard that games like Sonic Adventure, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Quake III Arena and Jet Set Radio are good games also. If you have a game for Dreamcast I haven’t mentioned here feel free to comment this post. Skies of Arcadia is a nice role playing game. It reminds a lot of Final Fantasy games. Crazy Taxi is a kind of a driving game where you pick up customers and drive them where they want to go. NBA2K2 is pretty much what the title says – a basketball game.

Let’s talk about Redream. It is a Dreamcast emulator. It is available for Linux, Windows and Mac. There is also an option for a download for Raspberry Pi. The setup is made easy for a user of a computer. You select the download that corresponds to your operating system. Then you unpack and just run the application. You might want to add shortcut to desktop also. The user interface is also easy to learn. You can see all the games you have currently. You can select the location of your rom files inside your computer. You can also adjust some settings concerning your saved games, input devices, video (for example the resolution of the screen you are using) and some other options related to localization.

Redream is a good looking Dreamcast emulator. It’s clearly the easiest one to use when I think about its competitors such as DEmul and NullDC. They required more fiddling with the settings. Dreamcast emulators, all in all, are far more easier to setup than a well known PS2 emulator PCSX2 is. Don’t get me wrong. PCSX2 is a great emulator. It just is a bit hard for a non technical user to setup. Redream also works very nicely. I haven’t had any problems. It hasn’t crashed at all as I have used it for some time now. You can download stable release or development release. This means that the stable version has been tested and development version is the most recent versio´n that has the most recent new features.

You can download Redream here

Getting to Know Nintendo

I have played a lot of Sega Mega Drive, various PlayStation consoles, PC and even Xbox. I started thinking about what have I to this day missed. What would be something for me to get to know next? I figured I hadn’t played Nintendo so much and seriously. What were the titles I would like to get into and could I maybe purchase a new console. Could I learn something new about gaming?

I thought about this for some days. I had some plans about first getting some NES games. I figured also that I haven’t played any games in the Zelda series. It would be expensive to buy first or second game for NES. It was almost 50 euros and I would have only old retro game. It wouldn’t be a great experience.

I was thinking about this. I thought that I could buy Nintendo Switch. This would however cost over 300 euros and I would have to think about games and spend even more money to get them. I finally made my decision. I would get my hands on Nintendo Wii.

My Nintendo Wii came with one game that was Super Mario Galaxy. The price tag was 80 euros. Shipping didn’t cost anything since the purchase was expensive enough which was a nice deal for me. I was a bit surprised of the size of the console – it was definitely small and light.

I haven’t played any Wii games before. I have barely seen it. I knew the controls were very different if compared to PlayStation or Xbox. I had ordered a gamepad with my Wii. It was a bit of an surprise that I had to plug the gamepad to this other controller called “Wii Remote”. And I didn’t get the gamepad to work. What to do next? I started the device. I even had to go to the store to buy some batteries for this new and exciting thing I had just added to my gaming collections.

So it was soon getting late and I just had this thing called Wii in my hands. I knew also that I could play GameCube games with it. I had ordered also one game for GameCube. I found out that I would need at least an original GameCube controller and maybe even a memory card. So I had to order them also. I did that next morning.

Nintendo Wii is a very nice product. I connected it with my television through SCART. There was a HDMI adapter also available but I haven’t, at least yet, ordered one. That would surely make the display more detailed and sharp. I found out that playing a bit of Super Mario Galaxy introduces this system for a complete beginner. The controls aren’t so difficult once you get the hang of it. You have to be a bit careful not to slash your friend or drop a bottle of lemonade from your table while playing. But after all it works great. You are playing with both of your hands and not only with your thumbs and index fingers. You have several buttons and sometimes you have to shake your Wii Remote for Mario to spin fast around for couple of times.

I am going to play my Wii some more. I already have three games and one GameCube game. Those three are Zelda – The Twilight Princess, Resident Evil 4 and, the one I already mentioned, Super Mario Galaxy. The GameCube game I got is Resident Evil and it’s a remake of the original one that was released for PS1. If you want to get yourself a Wii just remember to check if it does run also GameCube games. Newer versions of the console don’t support this feature. And remember that you have to have yourself at least a controller of GameCube and preferably also a memory card. I might write a post or a few about Nintendo Wii games in the future so stay tuned.

Making games is big business

Right now video games are more popular than ever. PlayStation 4 has now sold more than 110 million copies. Nintendo Switch has sold more copies than Nintendo Entertainment System. Switch and PS4 haven’t been around so long. Switch was released in 2017 and PS4 in 2013. Let’s think about this. NES was released in 1983 and the most popular and the most sold gaming console ever PS2 was released in 2000. So PS4 has been around only 7 years and Switch only 3 years. What will these figures be after 15 years? You don’t have to be any genius to figure out what’s going on. Games are popular. Making games, and selling them, is big business.

I sincerely hope that big game companies keep bringing more quality in form of good games to growing group of gamers. Making a HD remake is sometimes okay but where are the new innovations? I don’t meen big changes, such as virtual reality, but those small things that made video games of late 90s and early 2000s so great. Game developers would have to take time to experiment with a gaming console and find its limitations and opportunities. That would be a way to win my hearth back.

I have already said this. I don’t care how excited you are about PS5. I am not going to be one of the first ones to buy it. I bought PS4 back in 2014 and I was a bit disappointed in it. That just tells about me as a person a lot. It tells us about my history in gaming. I started messing around with video games well before I even bought my first console. That’s just where I’m form and that also tells a lot about in which direction I’m headed.

I am a bit worried. At the same time I am hoping the best. I keep buying PS4 titles for twenty euros and I have now about five or so games that I haven’t even opened up. I haven’t played them. I haven’t even installed them. Why did I buy them? I don’t know the right answer. I just hope we get some very good games in the future. I have to also get to my retro games at times to get the idea of what a perfect, or at least good, game is and why. And what gaming means to me…Well, there’s a lot to think about there…

The picture is a screenshot that I took from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_game_consoles

How Halo changed gaming?

First game of Halo series was released in 2001 for Microsofts Xbox console and also on PC. Gamers all over the world had already seen some amazing first person shooters that were made for PC. It was thougt back then that you just couldn’t make such realsitic and accurate shooting game for console since it didn’t even have a mouse on it. Halo changed this situation totally. It was the first really, I mean really, good first person shooter game and the first one that could be played with gamepads that had only thumb sticks.

After the release of Halo there were many to follow its path. Suddenly you just could do it. You could play FPS game with your gaming console instead of your regular PC setup where you had to have keyboard and mouse. We had already witnessed many games that were more than playable on consoles. The first PlayStation had many genres of games. It had racing games, like Gran Turismo, it had fighting games, like Tekken series. Metal Gear Solid was very good on PS1. Who didn’t like to play Tony Hawks Pro Skater? I remember everyone liked it. The point here is that we really had these games that were played on PC and some games that we only played on consoles.

There might be some debate on how you feed your reactions to the system you are playing on. There has to be a streering wheel for a driving game. You have to have joystick for Street Fighter. You can only play FPS with a mouse and a keyboard on professional level eSports. But I think some games are best, and there’s lots of them, played with a good gamepad. I haven’t even tried to compete seriously but it makes sense that you have to have a controller that is capable to sense your reactions effectively. This varies as games are very different. You could play Colin McRae Rally 1 or 2.0 and Gran Turismo with a gamepad. You still wouldn’t seriously try to compete with this method of control. But the point here, once again, is that Halo brought some difference to this matter. FPS games were now able to be played with a gamepad. And theres still exists games that are at their best when played with a gamepad.

I personally just love games that are designed mainly to be played with a gamepad. That has something, propably, to do with that I played lots of Mega Drive and PlayStation as I was growing up. That was the beginning. I was used to play these kinds of games. I didn’t play so much PC back then. Nowadays you can even play real time strategy games with a gamepad. That was once thought to be impossible. Would you play for example Populous, a strategy game released in the end of 1980s, with your Mega Drive or with your PC if you had to choose? I would go for the PC version and I think so would many other gamers. But now you can consider any game to be played with a gamepad. And that’s where we are going. Gamepads have evolved and they will keep evolving. Take a look at Mega Drives gamepad. Then take a look at PS4 gamepad. Now you can see the difference. So, this is how Halo brought this whole FPS genre, and maybe some other genres also, to consoles.

My gaming consoles

PlayStation Classic

I bought my PS Classic for 40 €. The price was so low that I figured I should buy it. This device flopped very sadly. It had only 20 games. Gamepad included has too short cable and it doesn’t have analog sticks. Games included were not so special though it had FFVII and Metal Gear Solid. If you consider buying this think seriously about modding it and don’t pay too much. The price was originally 120 euros.

Retro Trio HD+

This is cool gaming console. It combines NES, SNES and Mega Drive. What that means is that you can play all cartridges that you buy from gaming stores or you might have kept them for a long time. Retro Trios price was 110 € so I think it’s cheap. It also gives HDMI output so the graphics aren’t too messy. If you want play with older retro type television I don’t recommend this. In this case you should get original systems.

PS3

I didn’t really buy this one. It was a gift to my then-girl-friend-now-my-wife. It was expensive as new but now you can pick one, I think, for under 100 euros depending on games or controllers that are included. It has a hard drive. Depended on model the size of hard drive varies. There was also some kind of backward compatibility with PS2 and PS1 games which depends a lot about the spesific model of PS3. So yep, there were multiple models, for example Slim Model and so on.

PSOne

My first true console that brought us the experience of 3D graphics. I bought this one from flea market for as low as 15 euros. It didn’t have controller with it so that effects to the price of course. PS2 controllers are compatible with it so I just played with my PS2 gamepads. It requires memory card so I had to buy one for about 10 euros. Memory cards work with PS2 but PS2 memory cards don’t work with PS1. This is a smaller version of PS1. Very cool product I would say and definitely retro.

Xbox 360

I bought this one from a friend who sold it to me as she didn’t play so much and also her gaming console was becoming old. She hasn’t bought a new console. Not yet at least. I have maybe 30 games for this and I have mainly picked them up from flea markets and gaming shops. I invested 70 euros in this one. I first thought I would play and get all Xbox 360 only games so first games I played and also completed were Alan Wake and Halo 3. I also have Gears Of War, Mass Effect, Fable, Halo, Halo wars and so on. This system has backwards compatibility on some original Xbox games but not all. The list can be found Googling.

PS4

I bought my PS4 as my birthday present in 2014. That was also a moment I turned 30 years old. It cost me about 500 euros and I had Tomb Raider with it. So the game and console summed to this amount of euros. I didn’t really like this one so much. It had no backwards compatibiltity, I didn’t like so many of games that were released to it. It was a bit of a disapponitment. It had some good games. Games I played most were NBA2K14, Dirt Rally and Diablo 3. When companies like Sony keep coming up with new devices every six years or so I am currently thinking not buying fifth PlayStation but don’t you just follow me. Make that decision yourself.

PC

Personal computer was my first gaming device. It will always be there. I might play old retro games or the most new one. Provides large collection of controllers so you can pick your favourite USB gamepad. Easiest one to modify also if you want to upgrade your hardware or software. Much love to PC.

broken

– original Xbox

Yeah, so I broke my Xbox. I’m not going to buy a new used one to replace it. I now just have a large collection of games that aren’t supported on Xbox 360. So they lay now inside my dungeon and in my closet buried there. I’m not planing to sell them. Maybe some day we see Xbox Classic?

– PS2

This is sad one. It started to malfuction so I opened it up carefully. I tried to clean it. Finally I decided to try to fix it by replacing its optical drive. That didn’t go well as I had a wrong replacement part. So I just screwed back some screws and now it’s in condition that it starts up but you cannot boot a disc. So it’s useless. Maybe I buy a new used one or wait for PS2 Classsics release if there is one coming to us ever.

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