Just About As Close To Famous As I’ll Ever Get…

Yes! I’ve been Gnomed!

Part of the Lockergnome newsletter (which I’ve been a more than happy subscriber to for a few years) is called the Soapbox. In the previous issue, someone was going on about how the PS2 was the console of choice for many “obvious” reasons. I do admit that there are a few things that Sony’s system has going for it, but I can’t stand when uninformed individuals smack down the competition.

The original comments:

Xbox – too new, only a few games and a planned obsolescence model (wait for Xbox II) Frankly, the Xbox specs where impressive from the PC world over 2 years ago. Now, it’s too slow to run the latest games for the PC. Microsoft’s biggest push when promoting the Xbox when it announced it was the fact that PC game companies could easily port their games [over] to the Xbox. That may be true, but now that the specs are that of a slow computer (733 MHz PIII processor, 10 GB HD, etc.), all you are buying is an old computer with a great video card to play PC games. Also, Xbox is only the start from Microsoft; there is more to come. Think TiVo and Xbox combined. If you like the Xbox, wait for the next model – which will make it more complete towards Christmas.

GameCube – if you like kids games or simple games, then this might be the box. Have a GBA (GameBoy Advanced)? Then they work together. Graphics are not impressive, controllers are awkward, but give it a chance. Granted, there are “adult” games for the GameCube, but unless you want something with a handle and small discs to take over to your friend’s house, the GameCube just doesn’t hold a candle to a PS2 or Xbox. I would encourage you to look at it, since it does have some niche games that you won’t find on other platforms (Luigi’s Mansion, Zelda, etc.).

PS2 – hundreds of games, problem is picking the best ones. Backwards-compatible with PS1 games. Great controllers, expandability coming, will be able to run Linux later this year. USB ports, Firewire ports, soon a Hard drive and network card. Plays DVD’s at no extra cost. Dolby 5.1 digital outputs (Makes sound great)! Component video out (5 wires to your TV) for great video. Games: Grand Theft Auto 3, Final Fantasy 10, Metal Gear Solid 2, Gran Turismo 3, any EA Sports Game, SSX Tricky, and so many more. What are the PS2’s downsides? Some say it’s slow and doesn’t have enough memory, etc. True, but here’s the facts: don’t be swayed by the MHz myth.

Speed of a machine doesn’t mean everything. Games are specifically written for the “emotion engine” that the PS2 has – not just PC games moved to the Xbox. In a way, this is what separates the PS2 and GameCube from the Xbox. Also, we are now seeing 2nd generation games that are pushing the limits of the PS2 and it is doing some amazing things no one thought would be possible when it launched. Xbox has a Hard drive. True, but so will the PS2 this summer, and really, what are you going to use the hard drive for? Save games? Caching the game data to give the allusion that the Xbox is faster than it really is? The Xbox can play DVD’s as well. True, but you have to spend $30 to add that option. Of course, you do need a memory card for a PS2 to play DVDs as well.

So my recommendation: go with a PS2 you won’t regret it. If you can afford it, buy both a PS2 and a GameCube. If you can only afford one machine and want to play DVDs, the PS2 wins. If you want to play the Mario-type games, then the GameCube wins. I’ve played them all, and to be completely honest, the Xbox was failed from the start. It will succeed – eventually – but right now, the only two serious platforms are the PS2 and GameCube. One of the other reasons I failed to mention was based on the fact that these are Japanese-developed consoles with years of experience in the gaming world. Microsoft is new to the arena, and doesn’t have [many] Japanese ties yet. One other thing to consider is possibly renting each system from a video rental place for a couple of days with a few headline games. Then you will know for sure which one you truly like.

My response:

While I work for an Xbox site, I have owned all 3 consoles since their introduction. In that time, I have had 2 friends buy a PS2, none buy a GameCube, and no less than 10 buy an Xbox. Saying that the Xbox is a slow computer shows that they writer of your last rant has no knowledge of the insides of a console. The ‘MHz myth’ speaks of would be that he apparently thinks a 733MHz processor in a console is the same as the same clocked processor in a PC. A consoles processor, as well as the entire system, is optimized for console use. Not spreadsheets, not browsing the Internet, not writing letters to Aunt Martha. They are made for gaming. The planned obsolescence that he speaks of is a ‘flaw’ in the console market. By making systems that aren’t upgradeable (except through add-ons), then the systems will eventually reach a point where they aren’t cutting edge anymore. That’s why you aren’t playing Halo on your Atari 2600.

For those who don’t know, the Xbox site I work at is X-Boxed.com. Swing by and check us out.

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