The Console War

One of the biggest hobbies in the world is gaming. There are many many forms of gaming in the world ranging from cards to games consoles. To most people, gaming means playing video games on a purpose built games console or on a PC. So that’s the subject.

According to Wikipedia we are on the 7th generation of consoles and there are 3 main competitors: Microsoft’s minimalist Xbox 360, Nintendo’s little white motion controlled cube the Wii and Sony’s big black powerhouse the PlayStation 3. Whilst the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 thrive on games which have very high quality graphics, the Wii focuses on fun, the games are replayable over and over and the creation of a Mii avatar is a pretty good feature. There is a drawback however, the games are not for the hardcore gamers who want to blow things to bits with a wide array of powerful weapons or for those who want to throw exotic cars into exotic trees at exotic speeds. The graphics on the Wii are comparable to the PlayStation 2 so they are not good for a game which needs a high level of detail and with an 800MHz processor it cant handle graphics which are on the other two consoles. It is however ingenuitive and has the motion control which, when drunk, can be credited for a good few YouTube videos. What i don’t like is because it is a “Universal remote control”, i assumed it would take no modification to make it into a gun, steering wheel, golf club and so on. The Wiimote has an attachment for every type of game available on the Wii which is just plain old expensive to buy them all. Backwards compatibility works from what I’ve heard, all the connections are present for memory cards, controllers and discs for the Nintendo Game cube but unfortunately there is no space or slot to play a Game boy game in your TV again which is a shame. The memory is expandable to create more data and Mii avatars, the controller vibrates, has sound and is motion sensitive unlike its competitors, its as reliable as a wood burning stove and best of all its very low price tag and inexpensive games make it a good choice for gamers who just want a bit of fun every so often and dont have pockets lined with gold. The Wii only comes in one color so far in the UK which is a shame because the black one looks somewhat better than its dreary white counterpart we have to buy from our shops.

Moving on we have the Xbox 360, aimed more at a mid range of gamers, it has many bangy bangy explodey games, a few puzzle-o-rama’s and one or two games which younger players can appreciate. Its appearance however is a bit bland. It doesn’t have a shiny exterior like the Wii and PlayStation 3 and is therefore similar in appearance to a toaster with a big power button. It has a huge catalog of games available since it has been out for some time now and the graphics are reaching the Xbox’s best so the games are looking great at the moment. Unfortunately the backwards compatibility isn’t great, most of the old Xbox games don’t appear to work well, if at all, no matter if played on the Elite or Premium packages. This is a shame because there were a few Xbox exclusive games which would be good to play on the 360 including Half-life 2, Psychonauts and Project Gotham racing. I’m not quite sure if those games work or not but i daren’t try it because i don’t have an Xbox 360 to try it on and also the 360 tends to be temperamental about whether it works or not, and someone having the balls to play an Xbox or 360 title on it may have to send it away to a repair shop because it blows up in a big ring of red LED heaven. Yes the 360 has proved unreliable and I’m lead to believe that the failure rate of the 360’s has been a massive 65% which by anyone’s standards is way to damn high. Also because it doesn’t feature Blu-ray disks (yet) the games are taken up by high quality graphics and there is little room left for movies, storyline or other things quite essential to a game. It has some old technology about it, more so than the DVD format games. An ejecting disk tray which is easy to snap, no rechargeable batteries unless bought separately, no HDMI support on the now obsolete Core package, the wireless controllers eat through batteries like its the last day of the January battery sales, its as noisy as an 18 wheeler in a small tunnel and it breaks down if it gets the slightest hint it wants to be used. More than that the gamers are mostly idiots who abuse the bollox off anybody who dares to be better than them. I admire the 360, it is a good console, many games, good controllers if a little awkward to get used to and Microsoft do promise to make your broken ass 360 work like new, or just work for that matter, in a few days free of charge.

Now we move on to the PlayStation 3. Sony’s third installment of their incredible games console. Unfortunately the PS3 has had a very poor start with its £425 price tag and limited number of games it is seen as a bad choice when the 360 has all the newer better games. However i do own this big black colossus and found it to be fantastic. We only get the 60 and 40 GB models in black in the UK but that doesn’t matter when the console just works the way you want it to when you want it to. It was actually less expensive and more efficient than the Xbox 360 when new because there wasn’t the need to buy every gadget under the sun to play HD-DVD’s and have wireless connectivity. The PS3 has got everything rolled under one roof even if it is rather large. It does have motion sensitive controllers but these have yet to be put to any great use other than flight and balancing a bloke on a log. The graphics are not yet the best the PS3 can output since its inner workings involve some form of witchcraft which developers don’t have the hang of yet. Also where the Wii falls short with graphics, the PS3 has the good graphics and where the Xbox 360 falls short in disc space the PS3 makes up for with the long awaited arrival of Blu-ray. These can hold up to 50 GB on a dual layer disc and a possible 200GB disc is in a prototype stage. With this enormous space on a disc the graphics don’t have to take up 7 8ths of the disc and the games can be played for hours and hours on the same storyline with good graphics, good game play and a load of other features which keep gamers happy for much longer than before.

Mentioning gamers, the hardcore gamers will be the only people to buy this console. There aren’t many massively attractive games out yet for the PS3 so its selling on future potential, including being about the best blu-ray player on the market, the promise of GT5, MGS4, GTA4 and oddly enough Little Big Planet. The creation of “Home” is also a massive help to the console. Another player can see your achievements and what games you have in a fully 3d environment as opposed to looking at a screen filled with text and numbers. Its quite a Habbo Hotel like feature but in full on 3d mode with a wide selection of features available such as clothing, houses, layouts and furniture. Keeping with the Dual Shock like controller was a good idea for the PS3 instead of the horrible boomerang looking… thing that was sent out with the first PS3 pictures. Unfortunately with addition of bluetooth wireless controllers, mini/micro USB support and motion sensitivity the vibration features have been removed. So its no longer a dual shock controller, its now a SIXAXIS controller which weighs less than dual shock, doesn’t have to be pointed at the console to function and has the largest wireless range. Lastly is the XMB or Cross Memory Bar which is near enough identical to the PSP so PSP owners will feel right at home with it, featuring the ability to use the PSP as a controller will also please them.

My personal favorite is the PS3, with the Wii second and the 360 last. I’m by no means a fan boy, i know in certain aspects the 360 and Wii have the PS3 beaten to a bloody pulp but i know Sony wouldn’t release a game console which wont have a trick up its sleeve. Looking at the current situation and rumors about a 360 blu-ray drive or new console and the Wii fad fading i think the PS3 is about to have its day, much like the PS2 did in the days of old.



By Jamie Pye