Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Wiich one shall it PS3?

I admit it, I love video games. I always have. My early childhood consisted of playing countless hours of Atari 2600 games like Adventure, Pitfall, and yes, even ET. Later, I remember pining for the NES in grade school and walking the five miles to Eric’s (a boy I hardly knew) house so that I could play his. When my parent’s finally gave a NES for Christmas in the sixth grade, I jumped up and ran around the house like a wild hare. Later, when I had my first job working as a groundkeeper at a Condo complex in Pocatello, I turned my first two weeks of scraping railings, mowing grass, and replacing sprinkler heads into a SNES and a strangely unforgettable title, Xardion, and the obligatory copy of Pilot Wings.

From then on countless weekends were spent in front of the television in the basement beating game after game. My regular weekend routine would consist of my mom stopping by the movie place on her way home from work and renting me a game that I would spend the weekend (including the wee hours of the morning) beating, wearing my thumbs raw on the familiar, square controller of the SNES. In college, I was lucky to be living with fraternity brothers with better financial means than I who offered up their N64’s and Playstation and faster computers to my addiction. One weekend, when the house emptied out for a President’s day weekend ski trip and trips home to do laundry, I stayed behind to beat Metal Gear Solid. Later, in my final years of college, I turned my scholarship money into the Playstation 2, getting the last one in the store and taking home a shitty release title racing game. I later supplemented the PS2 with the Xbox and a Halo addiction. Most recently, I turned this interest into project for my legal research class by researching copyright issues in game publishing. My professor thought it was good work but thought that I was joking when, in my projects introduction, I compared video games to great works of art. I wasn’t.

Anyway, here it is, well into the seventh generation of video game consoles and I have yet to purchase one. I have valid reasons why I haven't. One, I decided to grow up and go back to law, which meant cutting our take home pay in half. Two, my wife really doesn’t enable my habit like my mother; she does not stop buy the game store after work and pick me up a copy of the latest game and a pizza. And third, well, there is no third, it basically comes down to me no longer working and my wife's disapproval of the hobby.

This all changed this week, however, when my wife finally gave her tacit approval for me to purchase a new system. I have been diligently working as a law clerk bringing in a little extra income and I had a good year in school, cracking at least the top 15%, thus she thinks I’ve earned one. But, unlike when I was a corporate drone, I can’t afford each of them and can only buy one. So, I am torn, which console should I buy?

One option is the market darling, the Wii. True, it does look like fun. Who can resist failing around your living room, swinging at the screen, and the bright colors that are the hallmarks of Nintendo’s offering. Even my wife has said that she would like to play it. This, coupled with it being the cheapest of the three, makes it a contender. But, and this is a big but, I think Nintendo has abandoned the hardcore gameer. When a company touts the new Mario game as their keystone, hardcore game you know they’ve left us serious players behind. I have played part of Zelda and thought it was fun, but Zelda, Mario, and the new version of Metroid are just-not-going-to-cut-it. Were I still working I would, no doubt, own a Wii-box (common term for buying both the Xbox 360 and the Wii), but I just don’t think Nintendo will get this student's money.

Speaking of the Xbox, I am leaning toward buying console. It has a pretty good library at the moment and with Metal Gear, Halo 3, and GTA on the horizon, this console a tough choice to resist. However, I know the price will drop soon and I am aghast to purchase within the next week or so only to have the price drop the next month. Come on Microsoft, word is out, everyone knows you are going to rearrange your pricing scheme, so just do it already!!!

Yet, there is still that black temptress, the PS3. Sure, the library sucks and as Microsoft is fond of saying, “it’s the software stupid.” Sony should know this. The original Xbox just couldn’t match the sheer depth of the PS2’s library and that is why they trailed market volume war in the last generation. But, Sony had a great showing at E3. The new titles look amazing, better than what is on deck for the Xbox, and as developers get used to the new architecture scheme, I think we will see some truly amazing titles in the future. This coupled with the fact that the hardware is better (note to Microsoft: I used to buy all my multiplatform titles in the Xbox version because they just ran better on your beefier system. Conversely, I think the same would be true today if I had both the PS3 and the 360; I would purchase multiplatform title on the PS3 vs the 360 because they would probably run better.) But is it worth it to wait to buy the PS3 on the mere chance that the titles might pan out given the costs and the wait until said title appear? Probably not.

Decision. Decisions. Decisions. What is a console purchaser to do? Perhaps just be content with PC? Readers, any thought?

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