Another Console StoryArent You Tired of Xbox and Sony Yet?
This may be a defining moment of the gamer generation. Ever since Pong made its way onto our black and white twisty knobbed TVs (yes, kids, there was a time such as this-it came right after the auto-correcting typewriter-type what?)ahem, ever since Pong, Generation X led a mind-entrancing march to the synthesized rhythm of plunk plunk dink bizzow-dooht. When our younger brothers and sisters were born, we handed them a controller to pass the baton of Mario ecstasy.
Several game console evolutions later, we are faced with a serious dilemma, wracked with shallow-pocketed limits, forced to choose between speed, muscle, and memory (read here in units of nostalgia, not gigabytes).
Microsoft’s Xbox 360 will be released with Christmas precision timing, allowing a gamer to get his next generation fix (this impatient junkie, of course, the younger of us, who, with little regard for prudent comparison shopping, will have to ask Santa for it, or he won’t get a new console at all). The projected price of the fashionably early Xbox continues to rise from $400, as reported maybe 5 hours ago as far as the rumor bird flies, to an ouch-inducing $500. Maybe they should change the name to X-mas Box 360.
Microsoft justifies the extortion by calling the system an “entertainment hub” readily compatible and connectible with Windows running systems, able to replace everything in your living room (DVD, stereo, goldfish bowl, etc.) except the HDTV you haven’t been able to afford yet and the speakers that don’t come with the venerable home theater replacement.
In no particular order or respect for sound syntax here are the specs of Microsoft’s Xbox 360again: The redesigned Xbox 360 is retro-compatible, installed with WiFi technology for wireless controllers and multi-player linkups. Open it up and you’ll find three 3.2-gigahertz IBM microprocessors that can play DVDs, streaming pictures, music and video from digital cameras, portable music players and computers running Microsoft Windows XP. It also allows real-time chat, removable 20-gigabyte hard drive, a custom graphics chip.
If you’re not like your impetuous younger brother and you can stave off the next-gen jones long enough, Sony will release a muscle bound option in the Spring. Taking a bit of a gamble by resting on its high-tech heels passed the 2005 X-mas box season, PlayStation 3 boasts of a Cell-based processor formed by the combined efforts of Sony, Toshiba and IBM that is twice as fast as Xbox’s triple threat.
It uses Blu-Ray Disc technology (oooooooh), is BlueTooth enabled for connecting to PSP, the Internet, and up to seven controllers (ahhhhhh), is also a retro-compatible “entertainment hub,” but has far superior am-I-dreaming? graphics (applause), will cost you an estimated $400 (well, that’s better than $500), but may be so technologically advanced there’ll be nothing up-to-date enough to fully support it for another three years (say what?).
Someone tell Sony to stop flexing his muscles in the mirror. That’s very annoying. Besides, being caught between X-mas box 360 and another half-priced Nintendo offering, Sony’s marketing strategy may stretch those muscles a bit thin.
But if nostalgia and budget saving alternatives turn you on, then Nintendo’s late night special may interest you (but play it in the basement, you don’t want anybody see you).
Codenamed Revolution, a console about which little is known other than it is half the price of the other two and less teched out, is due out sometime in 2006. Nintendo Revolution will have similar features like wireless controls and Internet capabilities, but a DVD player will have to be purchased as a connectable add-on. The key selling point for this console is that it is retro-compatible to 20 years worth of Nintendo games that will be downloadable.
So there you have it, Gamer Generation, the skinny on the three monsters of time-wasting, make-your-father-very-angry-because-it’s-dinner-time, girlfriend-chasing-away game consoles. Hope you found it useful.