Pokémon Sword and Shield are releasing later this year and fans are already dying over its compatibility with Pokémon Go. The game marks a series of firsts for the series. It’s the first main storyline game on the Switch, the first 8th generation game, and the first that isn’t a Pokémon Let’s Go! game to be compatible with the popular mobile game.
But, how has the inter-device feature changed over the years? How has this changed to adapt to the ever-increasing play-as-you-go market?
Let’s take a walk down memory lane and see how device mobility and functionality has changed over the years.
A brief history of video game consoles
In 1967, Ralph Baer and a few colleagues released the first video game console prototype, the Brown Box. It featured two controllers attached to a heavy, rectangular motherboard. After attaching it to the TV, you’d switch through multiple games by flicking through the individual switches. Basic, self-explanatory, yet still a pioneer that sparked the chain of events that would eventually create the devices we have today.
Come 1975, Magnavox and Atari decided to release more home consoles following the success of the arcade machine system. This resulted in the creation of dozens of video game consoles being released every year, starting with the Magnavox Odyssey 100 and Atari Sears Tele-Games Pong System. The two constant released versions of these consoles. New companies kept joining the mix. Far from consumer-friendly. But still, console compatibility was not a thing, and handheld devices were pretty much unheard of. Not a lot of mobility.
In came major-player, Nintendo, in 1978. Their first device, the Nintendo Color TV Game Series, met virtually no success. Devices shrank in size, but there was still more to improve on. Video games were limited to being played on screens, and handheld consoles were still in the works.
The 80s was the golden age in gaming. There was the major switch from disc to cartridge, and the progressive increase in console ports represented the features that were to come.
Come the mid-80s to the early 90s, Nintendo slowly started beating out Sega, whose last successful effort was the Atari 7800. This saw the introduction of backward compatibility with the amazing Atari 2600, allowing players to play beloved classics. The ever-iconic Game Boy family was introduced during this time period, featuring link cables that allowed for players to play and interact with other devices. In the case of Pokémon, players could now trade with others by joining their devices through link cables.
The 90s marked the rise of internet gaming and increased opportunities for multiplayer play. Technology only continued to get better and better, and that brings us to today. Consoles like the PlayStation 3 have backward compatibility with its predecessors, but the feature has disappeared in the past few years.
Whether you’re fond of this new feature or not, Pokémon Sword and Shield is certainly a game to watch out for. The possibilities that lie in inter-device play are endless. We may save our game on one device and pick it back again on another. Or maybe we’ll only be able to catch certain Pokémon by linking the devices together. Who knows?