PlayStation 3. Xbox 360. Wii. Over the past eight years, electronic boxes wearing one of those three brands came to occupy space in the entertainment centers of millions of people around the world. They were the heralds of the most innovative, occasionally uncomfortable, undeniably exciting era in video game history. That era is finally nearing its end.
The seventh gaming console generation, which began nearly eight years ago in 2005 is, at long last, entering its twilight stages. It's time to look back.
Welcome to "Last-Gen Heroes," Kotaku's new monthlong retrospective series celebrating the best and the worst of the past gaming console generation. Starting today, we'll be writing a wide-ranging series of articles focusing on the many things we loved and hated about playing games on our Wiis, our PlayStation 3s and our Xbox 360s. Our entire editorial staff will be contributing, and we'll be running articles daily during the week until the PlayStation 4 is released on November 15. That date, to us, marks the official start of the next generation of console gaming, along with the Xbox One's launch the following week on the 22nd.
Some of these articles will focus on big ideas, on the innovations and trends that came to define gaming at large. Some of these articles will focus on small ideas—they'll recognize the little things that deserve no less recognition for their small stature. We'll talk about games in addition to hardware—our favorite characters and stories, and the best ideas and worlds that came into being. Basically, we'll talk about everything.
Needless to say, we're all pretty psyched.
Of course, it's not all sunshine and rose-petals—we'll also focus on the stuff that sucked, the stuff we hated. Running in tandem will be the Last-Gen Zeroes series, in which we'll identify and surgically dismantle every single thing we hated about the last console generation. We hope to run a pretty even balance of positive and negative posts—after all, it's been an exciting eight years, but it's also been loaded with missteps, annoyances, disappointments and, for lack of a better word, bullshit.
- Since we had to draw a line somewhere, this series is going to focus primarily on the PlayStation 3, the Wii and the Xbox 360. Mobile gaming (including the PSP and DS), social gaming and PC gaming (sorry, master race) won't really be included. That said, don't be surprised if you see an article or two about any of those topics, viewed through the lens of the complete video-game landscape of the last eight years.
- If you're a regular TAY contributor, we really hope you'll chime in with your own TAY posts. Check out how our first few posts work to get a sense of the format, then go nuts! And feel free to email me, Tina or Stephen with a heads-up if you've written something you're particularly proud of, and we'll consider pulling it over to the main site. The most important thing will be to include the applicable tags (more on those below), and, if you want, an image with the badge applied. You can find the Heroes badge here and the Zeroes tag here.
- The series will run regular posts until around November 4, at which point we'll transition to a series of larger, definitive lists looking back at the last console generation in total. These lists will be awesome! and exciting! and doubtless controversial! and you can already probably imagine what some of them will look like. But we're also hoping we'll surprise you often. Look forward to those.
- The series will be organized into two tags: The whole series will be under the Last-Gen Heroes tag, though we'll also have Last-Gen Zeroes for the stuff we didn't like. TAYers, if you write a Zeroes post, be sure to include a Heroes tag as well.
- The series will end on November 15, the same day that the PlayStation 4 is released in North America (with the Xbox One coming a week later). While there's certainly an argument to be made that technically, with the Wii U, the next generation of consoles is already underway, we've decided that the PS4/Xbox One will bring us to the sort of equilibrium we've gotten used to—MS and Sony butting heads, with Nintendo off making cool games for an interesting but relatively underpowered system.
- While this retrospective is meant as a way to understand and celebrate the last generation of consoles, we don't mean to suggest that the current generation will actually end on November 15. The Wii may no longer be getting new Nintendo games, but Xbox 360 and PS3 owners are going to be getting original and cross-gen games for a long time still. The last generation may be entering its twilight years, but they'll likely be a lengthy, enjoyable cruise into a soft retirement.
Everyone ready? Okay, let's get going. This should be fun.