Cables

In France, analog consoles used to connect to TV sets using Peritel cables. Back in the early days of console gaming, Peritel cables were the crown jewel of cable engineering… They were French gamers’ pride and Peritel cable became a European standard in 1980 (SCART) and all television sets were fitted with Peritel connectors. Peritel soon became the flagship of French technology and French gamers were delighted by its multi-pin connector. While jealous Americans were cussing and fussing, Peritel now stands as one of the greatest invention in the history of gaming as well as one of the French engineering prowesses along the minitel.

One of the big advantages of Peritel cables is promoting team work among gamers. As a matter of fact, Peritel sockets in the back of TV sets would “get loose” after switching consoles again and again, which would then require to have your younger brother holding the male/female coupling in the right position so you could have a clear picture and be able to play… Now why didn’t we buy a multi-peritel at the time? I’m not so sure but it would have been damn useful to connect all our consoles at the same time…

Even for portable devices such as the Nintendo GameBoy, a special cable, called a link cable for that instance, was required to connect handheld devices and be able to play multiplayer games (mainly Tetris LOL). Link cables were basically useless if, like for me and my brother, your mom would not allow you to bring your GameBoy to school because she was afraid someone would steal it… Excuses, excuses…

At the time, cables were also used to connect gamepads to their consoles, which was just fine unless the cables were too short (Sega Genesis owners know what I’m talking about)… There was only two ways to fix that issue: either play in a small living room or have really long arms (like Dhalsim), but it pretty much sucked if you had a normal living room and normal sized arms.

On the first Nintendo Famicom, it was impossible to disconnect the gamepad from the console as the cables were directly soldered to the PCB inside the console… My mum would tell you it was an advantage as no one could steal them from you (or at least made it more difficult), but the real idea I think was it was cheaper for Nintendo to manufacture as there was no connectors. Only issue would be when the gamepad broke down you would have to change the entire system, or maybe cut the cables and try to connect a working pad yourself…

Following the second Famicom version, all gamepads were able to be disconnected from the console, until Microsoft brought to us a “doubly detachable gamepad” on the Xbox. Microsoft somewhat got the idea to design a small cable to connect the end of the gamepad cable to the console… Possibly to decrease the chances of the Xbox dropping on the floor if someone pulled on the gamepad too much, kind of like a breakaway cable. At the same time, if someone pulls violently on the gamepad, that basically makes him a retard and he does not deserve to play video games… It’s a kind of natural selection for gamers who break their consoles stupidly… Maybe Microsoft should have left nature alone?

But then, one day, a friend of mine explained to me he had brought his gamepad to some other friend’s place to play Xbox. When he got back home he realized he had forgotten that small cable in our other friend’s place… So he had to go back to retrieve it. And that’s what Microsoft wanted all along! To strengthen your friendship by obliging you to visit your friends more often! Microsoft is just giving us an opportunity to see people we love faster.

It’s like all those DLC we can’t lend to anyone… It’s to oblige you to invite your friends to come over to your place and play from your hard disk in order to enrich your social life! Thank you for charging us for all the downloadable content! And when I thought it was just some plot for game companies to make more profit… How silly…

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