Video game consoles come and go. Atari, Nintendo, Sega, Commodore, Microsoft, 3D0 and many others have taught us the true meaning of what it is to be a gamer. Many did not last, which was indicative of their hardware limitations and the time period in which they were birthed. Cutting-edge was four pixels strung together to represent your on screen persona. An orchestra of sound was a single rusty tune streamed out from dusty wooden panels and the perfect controller looked more like a paddle then a traditional gamepad. Retro is out, Pacman is dead. Space Invaders is passé. From the ashes of a crumbling empire of the 80’s came Nintendo, Sony and then Microsoft. Which one is the natural successor of the NES, the Atari or the Playstation One? Which one is worthy of your hard-earned payola? It is a cliché, but it is also incredible to realise how far we have come.
· Xbox 360
Before the white lung game console with the wireless controllers appeared under our LCD TV’s, Microsoft’s earlier attempt was an unmitigated disaster financially, but heavily respected by the gamers who brought the black behemoth. A PC inside the skin of a console, the original Xbox was ahead of its time. An internal hard drive, flawless online multiplayer, high-res games and the birth of a superstar franchise – namely the Halo universe – cemented its place in the heart of fans for many years. Downsides there were a few. It was physically ugly in comparison to the Playstation and had one of the worst controllers imaginable. Microsoft imposed a tough challenge on its team: develop a new and future-proof version of its previous failure. And so the Xbox 360 was born. Akin to a piece of art, the 360 sold like hotcakes and had the game library to ensure its success. The first of the current generation of game consoles, the 360 is perfect for the online gamer who craves the best titles with the latest in graphical prowess. The DVD drive is noisy as hell though.
· Playstation 3
The Playstation 2 is selling better then the PS3 game console. This is a telling fact, with sales limping behind the Wii and the 360. Price was an issue. The president of Sony, Nobuyuki Idei, stated that “People will work harder to purchase a PS3”. With a ridiculous statement like that and a price point of $599 (initially) the PS3 was doomed from the onset. Yet, this machine has the type of specifications that tower head and shoulders above the 360 and the Wii. A Blu-Ray drive means that movies look and sound fantastic. An internal processor that supposedly has a lifespan of ten years also means that the PS3’s games could one day mirror reality in their presentation. It’s truly a pity that it is selling as well as a plague-ridden piece of cheese, though.
· Nintendo Wii
Ah yes, Nintendo video games. Every single gamer was brought up on a diet of Mario and Megaman. When Nintendo announced that they were developing a ‘motion sensitive system for all of mankind’, the planet went crazy. When the Wii was officially launched, an already crazy populance took it upon themselves to purchase every single console in existence. The Wii is the number one games console in the world. It is also the most underpowered of them all. Plus it has a dire collection of third-party titles that reflect the true garbage from rubbish software developers looking to cash in on the current Wii craze. Only first party titles, such as Mario Galaxy and Zelda, are worth the bother. With the release of the Wii-fit, Nintendo officially gained a licence to print money as it were. They have captured the heart of the casual gamer, yet left the true fan to wallow in the mire of rubbish games. Game consoles come and go, it is the quality of the games themselves that keeps them alive.