Next gen consoles

I’ve been slack lately. But hey, I’m on holidays. Anyway, I got my first next-gen (well, I suppose now it’s current-gen) console just before Christmas, and I figure I may as well record my thoughts on the whole thing for prosperity.

xbox 360. I bought an xbox, the first prev-gen console I bought. And it was also my favourite. MS did a lot of things right with the xbox. The (updated) controller was comfortable enough, the thing was reliable, and there was a decent set of games for it. As far as the “traditional video games console” thing is concerned, the 360 is probably the nearest to tempting me, and a few of the games (particularly Gears of War and Lost Planet) look pretty good. Plus there’s that whole XNA Game Studio Express thing. Still, I haven’t bought one.

I got to play on a 360 at the Microsoft Tech.Ed conference, and again at a LAN party. But… I’ll be honest with you… I was pretty much nonplussed in terms of its power. Sure, the specs are nice, but I don’t care (more on that later).

The PS3, according to, is well behind on sales. Though that probably at least partially due to the supply issues and the fact that it hasn’t been released in many areas yet (like, for example, here). The PS3 really doesn’t interest me. This is probably because I realistically stopped caring about a console’s graphical power around the time of the Nintendo 64. Really, that could throw enough things on screen to satisfy me… further consoles could only interest me by offering innovative, fun games. Guitar Hero doesn’t particularly interest me either. I got a PS2 – mostly to check out the EyeToy – and generally figured it was slow and unreliable compared to the xbox. “Slow and unreliable” compared to a Microsoft product. Go figure.

And as for Blu-Ray, I really couldn’t care less. I have a cheap, 14″ TV. I feel no particular motivation to get a better one. The upper limit on my video viewing experience is not caused by limitations in the DVD format. Logically, any purchase of a BluRay or HD-DVD player is going to be after I bother to get a new, bigger TV (probably at least 3 years…) and after whatever format wins has won and has surpassed DVD.

Leaving the Wii. I bought a Wii about a month ago – a couple days after it came out here actually (surprisingly quickly for me). It’s a lot of fun. There are a few problems with reliability – I’m periodically getting Black Screens of Death when turning it on or changing games. That, and there’s the mess of a variety of controllers – I’m currently up to a wiimote, a nunchuk, a classic controller and two Gamecube controllers. And they could have created a bit of memory that looks like a Gamecube memory card so I didn’t have to go out and buy one (and a second hand one at that) to play Gamecube games. But, overall, a lot of fun. And I haven’t experienced any dramatic strap failure as yet either, despite feeling the need to take full swings in Wii Sports.

And I’m looking forward to what we might see on the Classic Console. All the racing games I ever enjoyed were only on the N64, after all. And I enjoy playing games well after their used-by date.

I should mention that, in the interests of brevity, I left out the words “In my opinion” in every sentence. If you have a 42″ high-definition plasma TV with surround sound and whatever else, a PS3 or xbox 360 will undoubtedly hold more interest for you than it does for me.


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