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The Console That Could Have Changed the Game Industry We Know Today

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In today’s highly competitive market, many wonder if these competing companies could ever come together to create something special. But this was actually very close to happening. Sony and Nintendo were actually once partners and were going to create a console together that would have radically changed the world of gaming as people know it today. However, a major rift occurred between the two companies and this divide completely changed the gaming market forever. This rift was so bad that many people believe that Sony and Nintendo will never work together again.

Back in the late 1980s, Nintendo was leading the gaming industry with its highly successful console, the Nintendo Entertainment System (the NES). Its biggest competitor was not Microsoft or Sony, but Sega who used to make game consoles until it became a software company in 2001.

Former Chairman and Group CEO of Sony Entertainment, Ken Kutaragi

Former Chairman and Group CEO of Sony Entertainment, Ken Kutaragi

Sony originally had no involvement in the video game market. That is until Sony engineer Ken Kutaragi became interested in video games after watching his daughter play the NES. This made him take on a contract where he would develop the audio subsystem for Nintendo’s next console, the Super Nintendo (SNES). Ken Kutaragi secretly worked on a chip called the Sony SPC 700, which became the audio processing unit of the Super Nintendo. Kutaragi’s superiors weren’t happy with this project because Sony didn’t want to be involved in the gaming market, but Kutaragi was able to continue this project due to the support of Sony executive Norio Ohga. This lead to a partnership between Nintendo and Sony where Sony would create a CD-ROM add-on for the Super Nintendo. Development on the project began in 1988.

A prototype image of the SNES add-on.

A prototype image of the SNES add-on.

However, by the early 1990s, the partnership between Nintendo and Sony began to severely decline. Sony and Nintendo couldn’t agree on how to split the revenue and handle the licensing on their joint hardware. Under their agreement, Sony had full control of the SNES-CD disc format and was given a large amount of control over Nintendo’s software licensing, which worried Nintendo because this meant Sony had more power over software distribution than Nintendo had anticipated. As a result, Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi sent Nintendo of America president Minoru Arakawa and executive Howard Lincoln to Europe to negotiate a contract with Sony’s rival, Philips, that would be a lot more favorable for Nintendo.

ces-1991

The 1991 Consumer Electronic Show where Nintendo announced its partnership with Philips.

In 1991, Sony announced their own console called the “Play Station” (spelled with two words at the time) that would be compatible with current SNES games and newer CD-ROM based SNES titles. However, only a day after Sony announced the “Play Station,” Nintendo announced at the 1991 Consumer Electronic Show that they would be working on the CD-ROM add-on for the SNES with Sony’s competitor, Philips. This was a huge surprise to Sony and they felt publicly embarrassed. Sony and Nintendo’s relationship was never the same after this announcement.

Tom Kalinske, former CEO of Sega of America.

Tom Kalinske, former CEO of Sega of America.

After feeling betrayed and left with a console that couldn’t be released, Sony tried to partner with Nintendo’s biggest competitor, Sega. In an interview with MCV, a website about computers and video games, Sega of America’s former CEO Tom Kalinske said, “Sony came to us after they had been rebuffed by Nintendo… They had wanted Nintendo to use some technology that they had, and Nintendo instead chose to work with Philips. That really annoyed Sony.” Kalinske claims that Olaf Olafsson (the President of Sony Interactive Entertainment, Inc.) and Mickey Schulhof (the President of Sony America) came to his office and said, “Tom, we really don’t like Nintendo. You don’t like Nintendo. We have this little studio down in Santa Monica working on video games, we don’t know what to do with it, we’d like Sega’s help in training our guys. And we think the optical disc will be the best format.”

A partnership between Kalinske and the Sony executives and Sega was formed. This lead to the creation of Digital Pictures, which would later create Night Trap, Sewer Shark, and Supreme Warrior for the Sega-CD. Both Sega and Sony were very interested in using the CD-ROM format for their new consoles. Kalinske went to Japan with Olafsson and Schulhof to meet with Ken Kutaragi who proposed Sega and Sony should create a console together. However, President of Sega Hayao Nakayama and the Board at Sega rejected this idea because Sony had no experience developing hardware. This created a division between Sony and Sega, forcing Sony to be on their own.

The Nintendo Play Station

The Nintendo Play Station

Sony’s attempt to partner with Sega and then use their knowledge from both Nintendo and Sega to create their own console angered Nintendo. As a result, Nintendo sued Sony in an attempt to obtain an injunction over the name “Play Station” which Nintendo claimed they owned. In 1992, they worked out a deal in court that would allow Sony to produce hardware that was compatible with the SNES under the “Play Station” title while Nintendo would have a control of the profits over the games. Around this time, about 200 Play Station prototypes were produced and some software for the console was being developed. But the damage was already done and the first Play Station prototypes never made it out of the factory.

By 1993, Sony was ready to move on with its own console as the company ventured into the gaming market for the first time. With Kutaragi at the helm, Sony rebranded the Play Station into the “PlayStation” that everyone knows today. By rebranding the name, it effectively eliminated Nintendo from their plans. The PlayStation was actually going to be called the PSX due to the negative feedback over the name, but it was scrapped shortly before launch. Either way, Sony was now a major competitor against Nintendo and Sega.

The Original PlayStation

The Original PlayStation

Meanwhile, Philips was allowed to use the rights to Nintendo’s characters for its CD-i multimedia device, which resulted in Nintendo CD-i games that were poorly received. The CD-i itself was considered a commercial failure. Philips ultimately never made a CD-ROM drive for the SNES. The main game in development for the SNES-CD, Squaresoft’s Secret of Mana, was eventually made smaller to fit a cartridge for the SNES. The only remaining legacy of the CD-i is its games often being used for YouTube Poops.

The Nintendo 64

The Nintendo 64

While Sony was creating its new console with a CD-ROM format, Nintendo completely gave up on using the format despite it being the reason for the rift between them and Sony. Nintendo decided to use cartridges for their new Nintendo 64 console, claiming that CD-ROMs required longer loading times and could be pirated a lot easier. However, by the mid-1990s, game developers preferred CD-ROMs because vastly more data could be stored on them. This allowed games to include things like full-motion videos, pre-rendered backgrounds, and high-quality voice acting in their games. Plus, CDs were a lot cheaper to make than Nintendo’s cartridges. Companies like Square and Enix (who were separate entities at the time) encouraged Nintendo to use CD-ROMs, but Nintendo refused to give up on cartridges. This caused several companies that had long histories with Nintendo to cut ties with them and work for Sony’s new console. One example being Square’s Final Fantasy VII which would become one of PlayStation’s most groundbreaking and commercially successful games. Although Nintendo did eventually use CD-ROMs for their next console, the Nintendo GameCube, and all its consoles after that.

The PlayStation launched in Japan on December 3rd, 1994. It came out in North America and Europe a year later. The PlayStation was an instant success due to its appeal to third party developers, its use of CD-ROMs, and its marketing towards mature audiences to contrast with Nintendo. The Nintendo 64 came out a year later, but Sony was already a dominant force in the market by then. By the end of its cycle, the PlayStation became the highest selling console of that generation, knocking Nintendo off its throne in the industry. The PlayStation sold over 102 million units compared to the Nintendo 64’s 32.93 million units. Its successor, the PlayStation 2, would dominate the market even more as the PlayStation 2 remains the highest selling console of all time with over 155 million units sold. Nintendo would not outsell Sony until their very successful Wii consoles that outsold both the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.

Sony's PlayStation brand has become a major force in the gaming industry.

Sony’s PlayStation brand has become a major force in the gaming industry.

In today’s generation, the PlayStation 4 is currently the highest selling console on the market compared to Nintendo’s Wii U and Microsoft’s Xbox One. Nintendo remains popular for its amazing first party support and its focus on innovation with its hardware, but many argue it has fallen behind its competitors (outside of the Wii’s success). A clear contrast to the days of the NES and SNES. Whether Sony is the best company is all subjective, but nobody can deny they’ve become a dominant force in the industry. But just imagine if Nintendo and Sony went through with their partnership. Or even if Sega and Sony went through with their partnership. It’s amazing to think how radically different the gaming industry would be today if these plans panned out.

Since only about 200 Nintendo Play Station prototypes were made, it is a very rare and legendary piece of gaming history. In 2015, it was reported that somebody found one of these prototypes. This prototype was reportedly left behind by CEO Olaf Olafsson during his time at Advanta. Terry Diebold, a former worker at Advanta, acquired the prototype during the company’s 2009 bankruptcy auction. The system has been confirmed as operational and SNES cartridges can actually be played on the console. Although the audio output and CD drive remain non-functional. Terry Diebold and his son Dan Diebold traveled to Hong Kong for a retro gaming expo and showed off the console to the website, Engadget. Check out the video below:

Sebastian was born in the Sunshine State. Growing up at the dawn of 3D gaming, he has been playing video games since as long as he can remember. The first game he remembers playing was Super Mario 64 on the Nintendo 64. He has many favorite franchises and loves a wide range of genres. He has owned every console that has come out, but his favorite console of all time is still the PlayStation 2. Sebastian became a Pokemon Master in 1998 when he was 5 years old and has remained one since then. When he’s not being a gamer, he enjoys writing, especially about video games and sports. Sebastian is a huge Miami sports fan and follows his teams very passionately. Graduating from FAU with a Bachelor’s in English, he hopes to become a professional journalist. Preferably in gaming and/or sports journalism. When he’s not being a nerd, he enjoys hanging out with his friends and relaxing at the pool. Wait.. who is he kidding? He’s always a nerd.

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Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Antlers’ Gets a Mysterious Trailer

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Fox Searchlight has released the first trailer and poster for Antlers, a rural horror film about a small-town Oregon teacher (Keri Russell) and her brother (Jesse Plemons), the local sheriff, who discover that a young student (Jeremy T. Thomas) is harboring a dangerous secret that places the entire town in danger.

Director Scott Cooper and producer Guillermo del Toro have teamed to adapt a short story from Nick Antosca, the creator of the criminally underrated horror anthology series Channel Zero. Not much is yet known about Antlers other than Fox Searchlight, now owned by Disney, has scheduled the film for a 2020 release. Rounding up the main cast is Graham Green, Amy Madigan, Scott Haze and Rory Cochrane. Watch the trailer below.

Antlers Movie
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Be Excellent to Each Other with these Awesome ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ Figures

“History is about to be rewritten by two guys who can’t spell.”

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Since its release in 1989, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure inspired a sequel (Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey), a Saturday morning cartoon, a comic book series, and launched actor Keanu Reeves into movie stardom. And now, three-plus decades later, Bill and Ted are getting their own scale collectible set courtesy Sideshow and Blitzway.

This is your chance to own the friendly duo in one go! The work put into creating these high-end figures is truly astounding as the figures capture the look of a young Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves just as we remember them. If you have $399 to spend, they can be all yours.

Check out the photos below along with the official press release.

Bill and Ted are two high school buddies who dream of becoming international rock stars. Their hilarious time travel adventure is depicted in the amazingly audacious comedy Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

It’s like having them pop up right in front of you, with their iconic fashion and elaborate accessories. Besides, the iconic props are designed to let you reproduce a variety of wonderful scenes from the movie.

Be excellent to each other and travel to the past through the exciting story of Bill and Ted!

The Bill & Ted Sixth Scale Collectible Set specially features:

Highly detailed likeness of Alex Winter as Bill S. Preston Esq.
Highly detailed likeness of Keanu Reeves as Ted “Theodore” Logan
Newly designed and developed male body with over 30 points of articulations and flexible soft arms
Two (2) Newly designed and developed figure stands
Twelve (12) interchangeable hands (total for both) including:
Two (2) pairs of guitar hands
Two (2) right blow fist hands
Two (2) pairs of open hands
Two (2) right good fortune hands

Costume for Bill:

One (1) purple pattern shirt
One (1) graphic t-shirts
One (1) pair of blue jeans
One (1) pair of pattern underpants
One (1) pair of striped socks
One (1) pair of canvas shoes

Costume for Ted:

One (1) blue jacket
One (1) black vest
One (1) graphic t-shirt
One (1) pair of graphic shorts
One (1) pair of inner training pants
One (1) pair of striped socks
One (1) pair of canvas shoes

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Watch the Creepy Trailer for ‘Little Nightmares 2’: Six is Back and She has Help.

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One of the biggest surprises to come out of Gamescom 2019 so far is the announcement of Little Nightmares 2, the sequel to the puzzle-platformer hit horror game developed by Tarsier Studios.

While the first Little Nightmares has you take control a character named Six while avoiding instant death as she traverses alone amongst the depths of a dungeon, the sequel will give her a companion named Mono, who must accompany Six throughout her terrifying new journey.  

Little Nightmares was one of our favorite games of 2017 and so we can’t wait to get our hands on the sequel. In our review, James Baker wrote, “Tarsier Studios have created a wholly original concept to a horror genre that has leaned more towards thriller before anything else, bringing its roots back without relying on jump-scares and needlessly-gory shocks. Just like hide-and-seek, Little Nightmares captures the fear of being caught, albeit in a creepy, macabre style.”

Little Nightmares 2 will be released sometime in 2020 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.

Watch the trailer below and if you are a fan of the first game, we recommend reading this article that dives deep into the meaning behind Little Nightmares.

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NBA 2K20’s Story Mode Gets a Stunning Trailer

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NBA 2K19 features to date, its strongest MyCareer mode with the aptly titled, “The Way Back”, a fascinating look at the culture behind college basketball recruiting. The story mode was well received by critics and fans everywhere and in our review, we called it, “an incredible achievement that conveys the fabric of modern American life, aspirations and incidentally, sports, in close-up and at length”.

NBA 2K20 which will be released in less than a month, promises to include an even better story mode, and while we haven’t played the game yet, we have plenty of reasons to think it might be. Not only does it feature an all-star cast with top-tier talents such as Idris Elba and Rosario Dawson, but the story mode – entitled “When the Lights Are Brightest” – is being produced by LeBron James’ Springhill Productions, the same company behind the upcoming Space Jam 2.

NBA 2K20’s latest trailer, which debuted Monday during Microsoft’s Inside Xbox show live from Gamescom in Cologne, Germany, give us a good idea of what to expect. We get a glimpse at Idris Elba and Rosario Dawson in action as well as the rest of the supporting cast which includes Thomas Middleditch, Mark Cuban, Ernie Hudson, Lamorne Morris, Scottie Pippen, and Jaleel White!

The NBA 2K20 demo will go live on Wednesday, Aug. 21 and will allow players to create a character and get a head start on MyCareer. Any progress made will carry over to the full game, which will be released Sept. 6 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.

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The Transformers: Lessons in Warfare, Scale, and Childhood

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The Transformers are an enduring part of American pop culture. Starting with the introduction of the first toy lines in the early 1980s, the animated series went on to define a large part of ‘80s culture, reaching its apex with the release of The Transformers: The Movie in 1986. After a disappointing performance in theaters, however, the brand reached a nadir in the post-movie era, receding from the front of American pop culture until the late 1990s, when Transformers: Beast Wars brought the franchise to the forefront again.

It was into this climate that I was born. By the time I was old enough to watch TV and get toys courtesy of the North Pole and my parents, I began to take an interest in the series. After all, what five-year-old boy doesn’t like the idea of giant robots fighting each other for control of the earth and the universe?

My local video store (yes, those used to exist) had a copy of the first three episodes of the original Transformers series, Generation 1, on VHS. I remember renting this one particular copy from the store and watching it at least three times, sun-faded front cover and all. Even then, I loved the series, though I only had a few generic dollar-store “transformers,” an Armada Megatron that I had received for my fifth birthday, and a couple of hand-me-down G1 figures from my Dad.

Some of my earliest memories of Transformers came from a trip my parents and I took to visit my Dad’s former college roommate, a professed 80s culture geek. I remember watching a ton of G1 episodes, like “Dinobot Island,” as well as The Transformers: The Movie on his large projection-screen TV, an experience which inculcated within me an intense love of the series.

Optimus Prime The Transformers The Movie

Optimus Prime, bastion of bravery and an excellent role model for a maturing boy.

The first real episodic Transformers show that I watched with any sort of consistency, however, was Transformers: Armada. Now, I don’t remember much about this show — for good reason, as it’s derided by many Transformers fans for its poor animation, bad dubbing, and terrible story — but what I do remember is one particular toy that I really enjoyed: Armada Unicron.

I think it was the Christmas of 2002 when I first got Unicron. I remember having seen him in the store and (probably) telling my parents something or another about it, but I was utterly shocked when Santa brought it to me as a present. As a kid, Unicron was an impressive toy that towered over all of my other Transformers. He was such a hefty toy that I had trouble just picking him up from the ground. After having seen The Transformers: The Movie, I was just impressed by having the planet-eating destroyer of worlds himself in toy form. It was good to be a kid.

My consumption of Transformers-related content stayed relatively the same for a couple of years. Since my family didn’t get any of the channels that the shows came on, I was often left to make up what stories I could from my own memory, but we had Netflix (back when it was a DVD mail-in service), so I was able to watch some of the old series, including Beast Wars, Beast Machines, and Transformers: Energon on DVD. As usual, however, I spent most of my time in school or playing on my GameCube.  

When Michael Bay’s Transformers released in theaters in 2007, it ushered in an entirely new era of Transformers fandom across the world. With the return of G1 originals Peter Cullen and Frank Welker as the voices of Optimus Prime and Megatron, respectively, the ‘80s were alive and well again. This transformation (pun fully intended), brought about the introduction of an entirely new show, Transformers Animated, which aired on Cartoon Network. Before the days of DVR, it was nearly impossible for someone like myself, who was usually involved in any myriad of school activities on any given day, to find the time to watch a show at its air time. 

Unicron Armada Transformers Toy

Just look at this toy! Even today, it’s impressive.

However, luckily enough for me, Cartoon Network aired reruns of two episodes of Animated every day at 6:30 AM. As someone who lived literally two minutes away from school, I usually didn’t leave my house until around 7:45 or 8:00, so I had plenty of time to watch the show. I remember getting up every morning, fixing myself a big bowl of cereal, and sitting down to watch Animated before anyone in the house was up. Just me, Transformers, cereal, and a lot of fun. 

Soon, as I aged and Animated was replaced by Transformers Prime, I grew into a more nuanced appreciation for the shows’ storytelling. Prime, a dark tonal contrast with Animated, found me at the perfect time in my life. I appreciated its reverence for Optimus Prime and its overarching themes of sacrifice and leadership. While some would say it was boring or over-wrought, for a burgeoning pre-teen it was an engaging combination of cool and edgy that I thoroughly enjoyed.

When I sit down to think about the impact the Transformers series has had on my life, there’s one point in particular that sticks out to me: the imagination that playing with Transformers encouraged. While the brand was doubtlessly born of a commercial desire to sell as many pieces of plastic as possible, it nonetheless developed into a series capable of some interesting, if not always deep, storytelling. 

I copied this sense of storytelling when it came time to play with my toys. I remember incorporating various weather machines, weapons of ultimate power, and energy crystals into overarching narratives that could last a whole afternoon. Narratives in which Autobots died, lost limbs, or were otherwise in peril before the power of the Matrix of Leadership or Primus himself showed up to save them in the end. While this may not seem all that unique, I credit the series with instilling in me a sense of narrative detail. In fact, I remember not mixing my G.I. Joes and Transformers together, because in my internal head canon, they weren’t to scale (everyone knows that Transformers are at least three to four times taller than humans.) 

Megatron vs. Dinosaur G1 Transformers

I can safely say that I probably played out this exact scenario at least four or five times in my childhood.

However, Unicron himself created all sorts of problems for an internal narrative. For a being the size of a planet, he was rather puny in scale when compared to the other figures. So, I would always put Unicron to the side and pretend that the smaller Transformers were mere dots on him, tiny little specks that could barely be seen, the same as they had been in The Transformers: The Movie. I feel like the toys gave me an appreciation of the tropes of narrative fiction that I otherwise wouldn’t have noticed or appreciated. 

Today, I still love the series and try to watch The Transformers: The Movie at least once a year. Newer entries, like Transformers: Rescue Bots and Rescue Bots Academy allow me to share my love of the series with my younger siblings without encountering the darker elements of some of the classic shows. It allows me to teach them all about the Cybertronians that I grew up with, and perhaps encourage them to craft stories of their own. Now, excuse me while I help the Rescue Bots put out a fire on Wayward Island…

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Freelance Film Writers

Goomba Stomp is the joint effort of a team of like-minded writers from across the globe. We provide smart readers with sharp, entertaining writing on a wide range of topics in pop culture, offering an escape from the usual hype and gossip. We are currently looking for Film, TV, Anime and Comic writers.

Contact us: Editor@GoombaStomp.com

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