A wide array of changes have happened since my earlier years. Not just in the appearance of hardware as well as software, but in the world as a whole. What a time to be alive! Just last night I attended a symphony here in San Francisco that was absolutely dedicated to playing the music to some of our favorite games. To me this was a sign of how far this industry has come.
But for me, it goes back to the beginning. The Nintendo. Now, before any of you readers start screaming about Pong and the like being before Nintendo, please be aware that I did not forget those pioneers in the gaming industry. But for me, the reason why Nintendo is called the beginning, is that it was the first to separate itself from the arcade scene which considered of pinball machines and arcade machines and started a new era in gaming. Many game historians will tell you that during the 80s the game industry was starting to slow down. Companies did not want to take a risk in new console systems here in the US so Nintendo tricked the toy makers into thinking the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) was a robot toy. But enough about Nintendo's wit. The reason why I love Nintendo and will always love Nintendo is because they know what gaming is all about. Fun.
What do you get when you render a lump of dog dung in full 3D with spectacular graphics? A really good looking lump of dog dung. To me at least, it never really mattered what the game looked like, or what movie it was trying to recreate. Sometimes the limitation of graphics enhanced the creativity of the designers. For instance, the lack of pixels available to the designers of donkey kong caused a bit of creativity when it came to designing "jump man" (later renamed Mario). In order to add features to him, they added a mustache and hat. Now easily recognizable symbols of the character.
Not to say that today's games are bad because they are not as limited as Miyamoto was back in the 80s (The Elderscrolls IV Oblivion being one of my favorite games). But Nintendo has always been very true to their standards when it comes to their games as well as their consoles. Just last year, Nintendo denied an upgrade to "Next-Gen" graphics in favor of reinventing to the way we play games. This to me will outlast all attempts by competitors to out perform the industries most powerful company.