Console snobbery

Recently a good friend asked me for advice on what console to buy. (There are several of them out there, you know.) After much hemming and hawing, my answer ended up being along the lines of: “buy the console that has some games that you want to play.”

We’re in a golden age for games. It’s a great time to have to make that decision, because each platform really does have an amazing experience to offer. If you go to the store and come back with a Wii, a 360, or a PS3, you are guaranteed to be able to have fun.

That’s a fact that gets lost in the reporting on the so-called Console Wars. Capitalism worked this time! Competition really did create a healthy market for videogames! Now it can get on top of ending poverty and providing a safe workplace for everyone.

I play a PS3, and I love it. My friend said that he mostly plays Grand Theft Auto and some sports games. I told him that he could probably get a 360 for less money and would still be able to play any game that he wants to play for the forseeable future.

I bet those people who bought the Wii are having an awesome time with their friends.

I still maintain one form of snobbery: I don’t play many games on my PC nowadays. I don’t have the patience to endlessly upgrade my graphics card or tweak my system in order to get great framerates out of the latest games. Nowadays, a top-of-the-line 3D graphics card costs as much as a gaming console.

Consoles are a stable platform that don’t typically require upgrades over their lifetime. A game that comes out at the end of a console’s lifetime plays just as well as a game that came out when the console was first released.

Besides, I’m don’t enjoy sitting at a computer screen while I play games. I like a bowl of popcorn in my lap. I like my big screen tv. I like my couch. I like my games to feel like something I do to relax.

Right now, I’m playing Oblivion for the first time. I can’t imagine hunching over a computer keyboard to play this game. The scope is massive, the landscape is huge and sprawling. Behind every hill is a new ruin to explore. I spent all of yesterday afternoon picking flowers, for chrissake. From my couch, it’s an immersive, engaging experience. From a computer chair, it might just feel like work.

“But MCP,” you say, “What of the better image quality on a PC monitor? What of the higher degree of interactivity? What of the ability to play with mods or download new content? What of the wider number of interesting input devices?”

To which I say, “Eh.”

Appropos of nothing, here’s a few new developments I’m excited about:

Okami on the Wii. If anything would get me to buy the Wii, it’s this game. I already solved the PS2 version, but the prospect of a Nintendo version is too tasty to resist.

A new game from Keita Takahashi. Katamari Damacy kept me up late for many nights rolling items up into ever larger balls of stuff. Nobi Nobi Boy looks like it’ll be just as cute and quirky. By the way, I hold to my belief that Takahashi is actually some breed of pixie and not actually human at all. Just look at him!

keita.jpg

He recently freaked every one out by implying that there was more to life than video games.

Little Big Planet. Yes, it’s still supposed to be out in 2008. Yes I still really want to play it.

Racing Games. Is there a fun multi-player racing game for the PS3 yet? I bought Motorstorm because I thought it would be just that, only to find that it didn’t have multi-player. You can play it over the internet, but that’s lame. I want to race my friends in my living room. I’m not interested in competing against racist, trash-talking pre-teens on the other side of the planet. It’s a fun game, but racing by yourself is boring and sad.

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3 Responses to “Console snobbery”

  1. You know, strangely I came away from that conversation thinking I should buy the PS3. Maybe I was only hearing what I wanted to hear.

    Can I do all that crazy “my game console plays movies through my TV” stuff with the 360? And…when you play online…can I choose who I play online with or do I have to subject myself to playing Madden 08 with 15 year olds who think it’s hee-larious to use the screen name P3yt0nMann1nG69?

    And…after you answer those questions, I would like it to be known that my real dilemma results from the fact that you and Dale Cooper own opposing systems. If you both owned the same damn thing I would buy it and not be worried about whether I would have fun or not. But since you’re the guys I’m likely to be playing with, I hate choosing to play with one and not the other.

    I wonder if GB has an online-able system yet…

    Good post tho.

  2. Yeah, I was oversimplifying a bit the masses that will surely be following this blog soon.

    You can basically do the media stuff on either system (but not the Wii). The 360 requires some add-ons (hard drive, HD player) that come built into the PS3. In general I think thePS3 is probably a better home media system than the 360. The Xbox 360 uses Windows Media Player, though, so if you are a WiMP fan, it’s pretty easy to integrate with your other network appliances.

    Also – PS3 online play is free, while 360 is a subscription. That might affect your decision.

    Online play is usually dictated game-by-game, but most games offer the ability to put together your own group or tournament or room or whatever.

  3. Subscription!?!?!?!? That is stupid and by stupid I mean “not fresh.” I just found out…thanks to this post…that PunchyPunchy has a 360. That was going to be my tie-breaker and now you tell me I have a fee on top of having to learn a new skill?! When is this world going to start thinking about JimPanzee?

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