An average class kid (except those whose parents were widely travelled or enlightened) dare not ask for a game console or else you get the scolding of your life. “Video game? What is video game? Is that the book you are meant to be reading?”. With some parents, if care was not taken, you would receive some serious spanking. And for those who were "benevolent" enough to consider the request, the best they might do for you was to buy you the “Tetris” or “game-and-watch” handhelds.
But then the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and the Sega Mega Drives 1&2 consoles came ushering in a new wave of craziness that slowly started to infect people. Along with it came the Gameboy, Game Gear and the Lynx (the last one wasn’t as popular). Before you knew it, game-houses started to pop up here and there. Funny enough, some game-houses didn’t even have the SNES or Mega Drive, but rather they had the NES or Famicom but it didn’t matter. Who cared about 8bit or 16bit when Mario could still stomp and kill enemies on any one.
Game-houses were popping up everywhere and parents had hard, long battles trying to stop their children (the boys mostly) from practically living in the game-houses. Worse still was the fact that they had to fight an even harder battle to stop the boys from stealing money from home just to go and waste them in the game-houses. On the other hand, schools had to fight a continuous battle of chasing their students out of game-houses during school periods. At first it seemed like there was progress, but then with release of titles like Street Fighter 2 Turbo, Super Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat 2, Mortal Kombat 3, Donkey Kong Country, International Super Star Soccer Deluxe and a host of others, it dawned on parents that this was a battle they couldn’t win. Some parents were beginning to have a rethink; “Instead of my boy sleeping in game-houses or living perpetually in a friend’s place because of video game, why not I buy one for him and he spends that time at home instead?” As a result, the SNES and Mega Drive era became the era that video games started to grow in popularity. Camps were divided between Nintendo and Sega with the former actually being more dominant in the Nigerian circle.
Then it came, the Sony Playstation ushering in the fifth generation of games. Mind that before now, there had been the Sega Saturn but ONLY A VERY SELECT FEW had it. The Playstation came with its rival the Nintendo 64 and then came the video game boom. The Playstation was the football fan’s pitch, the fighter’s arena, the racer’s track, the shooter’s vintage point. Parents were more open to buying video games for their children. Whether it was due to a resignation to the obvious, an increase in the standard of living, a change in the mindset or for the sake of just wanting to keep up with the current trend, the reason wasn’t very clear. The fact was that more children started owning consoles. It wasn’t necessarily the Playstation (though it was more popular than any of its peers), but at least a gaming console. Added to this was also the fact that the Playstation could play audio cds and watch video cds. The Alaba International Market quickly became popular for “chipping” or “conversion” of games. It was at this stage of events that the sixth generation of games entered the fray – Playstation 2, Xbox and the GameCube. The Dreamcast had been released about two years earlier and like other Sega pioneer consoles, only a few, very very few, owned it.
The fact that the Playstation 2 and the Xbox could play DVDs and could be related to a “computer” was just an excuse for parents to buy it for their children. At this point, video gaming was gradually becoming a pop culture and if you weren’t video-games oriented, you were like a cave man. Parents were beginning to visit stores of their own volition (though some, grudgingly so) to make inquiries about video game consoles and all. Some of the parents however, still had their reservation and couldn’t still understand what exactly was gained in hours of sitting down in front of a TV and playing “cartoon” images. Some on the other hand liked only the sport games like FIFA, Pro Evolution Soccer or the Fight Night series. (At least they could relate with that)
Enter the seventh generation – Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii. At this point, majority of the boys who played the fourth generation consoles (SNES and Mega Drive) had become men and had a generation under them.
The implication? The word video games wasn’t alien to them. They were either video games oriented, video games knowledgeable or were casual gamers in the least.
The result? They went on their own to buy games for themselves or their children. Gaming had become scientific and gaming consoles had become alternative media devices – for playing movies and music. Gaming now had a fast rising follower-ship than any other form of entertainment. Everyone wanted to belong or pretended to belong. People looked forward to game new releases, game updates, game news, game reviews, game tournaments and much more. With the advent and popularization of “faster” internet services, the gaming world was gradually turning into a global village. Also everyone had or knew someone that had a gaming console. It even became an abomination for some parents if their children are not video games inclined.
And here we are , the seventh generation…….the age of online gaming.