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The Evolution of Consoles and Games

Super Mario The PlayStation 2 (Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.)

Game console manufacturers have built close ties with video game publishers. This means that many game titles can be played only on specific consoles, and also that the sales of each console depend very much on the popularity of the games that can be played on it. Here's how it works: A console that comes with popular games will sell well. Thanks to this success, the manufacturer will have plenty of money to invest in new game development. This enables them to come out with better games, attracting more people to their console.

More than 1,200 games have been made for the Famicom. Among them are Dragon Quest (which was Japan's first full-fledged role-playing game), Super Mario, and Legend of Zelda. Some games, such as Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy, were so successful that people wanting to buy them formed long lines in front of stores on the day they went on sale. These and many other popular titles have gone on to become long-standing series that, in some cases, still continue today.

Video games are now in the age of superfast processing at the 128-bit level. The leading game consoles in Japan today are Sony Computer Entertainment (SCEI)'s PlayStation 2 (which went on sale in 2000), Nintendo's GameCube (2001), and Microsoft's Xbox (2002).

Several groups of companies are striving to create new and better 128-bit consoles and games, and this has been contributing to the immense success of Japanese video games. Just as personal computers have grown into multimedia environments capable of playing video and music, video games have come to include advanced 3-D graphics, high-quality music, and rich varieties of voices and sound effects.