Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Rare Sunday Post Which All But the Nerdly Few Who Care About Which of the New Video Game Consoles is Worth Picking Up Can Safely Ignore

Hey, back again. Had a good excuse for not updating this week -- I was working! None other than David "All The Real Girls" Green emailed me to do a storyboard gig for a series of commercials he's shooting in the near future. Everything went well and now it's back to writing and blogging.

Anyway, I just got back from Best Buy where I got a chance to try out the new Playstation 3. They had two games available for demo: a basketball game and an off-road racing game. I watched someone else play the basketball game and wasn't too impressed. Other than some terrifying close-ups of the basketball players complete with unsmiling expressions and the lifeless eyes of animated corpses, it looked like most basketball games I've ever played: boring. Good graphics but boring.

The offroad racing game was a different story. Amazing graphics. Sharp imagery, no visible pixelation, no slowdown when there was a lot going on on-screen. When you crash your car while engaging the Turbo, there's a visceral, cinematic view of the destruction in slow-motion; when the car impacts say, a boulder on the race-course, the part of the car that does the hitting shatters into a hundred distinct pieces each with its own unique trajectory; sometimes the entire body of the vehicle breaks up against the unyielding impediment with stunning realism -- as of right now, the PS3's graphics appear to be a little more robust than than the XBox360's graphics. The question is are the manlier graphics on Sony's new console worth $200 more? As of this writing, without having had a chance to try out PS3's other games, I'd say no. The truth is it's hard to get a real sense of how much you're going to like a particular console when the entirety of your exposure to it consists of 3 or 4 5-minute game-playing sessions at Best Buy. Am I going to plunk down $600 on a PS3 on the strength of one cool racing game? I need more. I need to sit with the system, take it apart, stare at it, feel the way the ultra-fast processors feel in my hand while I roll them around like dice. I need to PLAY that thing, know what I mean? Besides, Microsoft and Sony have obviously upped the ante with their consoles, but what about upping the ante on their games? Where's the next-gen game?

Which brings us to the Wii, (Hinesy's early favorite). Nintendo's Wii came out today in the States and if anyone's raising the stakes for new and exciting ways to play video games, it's Nintendo. Wii's winning raves from the most jaded gaming types for it's intuitive motion-sensitive gameplay. You swing the controller and you're either swinging a tennis racquet, slicing with a samurai sword, fishing, racing, or whatever else you can think of. AND it's $50 cheaper than the 360's core system, so does that make the Wii the best bet for just having a good time playing video games? Neither Target nor Best Buy had a playable display of it today -- just a screen with an infomercial playing on top of the console set behind a plexiglass case -- but just from watching the informercial Wii looks like a helluva lot of fun, even if the graphics aren't state-of-the-art. As always, the most important question is which console's going to have the best games over the next few years -- right now nobody seems to stand out on that score. Anyway, before I geek out too hard, I'll just say they all look pretty cool, but I'm leaning towards the 360. "Halo 3" will be coming out for the 360 next year, and that's going to be something to behold.

Anyway, later this week I'll tell you what I thought about "Borat" which I saw Friday night. And I'm out.


Peter said...

yo b
check it
PS3 is a console with BLuray, bluray dvd players are $1000 so there you go, it is actually the cheapest one of the 2. Plus online is free.

Nintendo might be the surprise fun one though.

Speck said...

Blu-Ray sucks.

I never liked the PS consoles...had a ps1...all it ever did was colelct dust. Not a fan of their games.

I highly enjoy my 360. Gears of War..awesome. The upcoming Lost Planet...tight.

And if I were to go with one of the new movie formats..I'd choose HD-DVD that I could buy for $200 bucks...which is no biggie since I spent the money on an xbox nearly a year ago. Only advantage Sony has there is HDMI...which I'm hoping xbox realizes they need.

Anyway, I picked up a Wii today...the lady at TRU gave me HER personal pre-order because her 20 year old son pissed her off...the story behind is great. true LA white trash. The wii is fun as hell. The design is mind blowing. Who would have though having a tiny little speaker in the control could add that much value to the experience??? Even Naz started to get addicted to the little sports game that comes with the system. And of course I got Zelda...

in summary, booooooo ps3

blankfist said...

I used to be a diehard fan of PS, and a fan of all things Sony, until the past year or so since Sony has been dropping the ball with their electronics. They used to be the premiere electronics vendor until people started reporting burn in on their flat screens, their CD readers started dying, and now with the release of their base console being 600 bucks. That's ridiculous. You'll have to spend at least a grand to have a decent system (controllers, games, etc), which is ridiculous. Whatever happened to reasonably priced systems? Oh yeah, that's where the Wii comes in. Bravo Nintendo.

Wii will certainly have some incredible games, too, but I think the game nod right now is going tp 360's Gears of War. That's the Halo for this generation of consoles.

And, I have to agree with Speck. Although I know of the apparent flaws with Toshiba's HD players (HDDVD), they're still using a superior HD codec to display all of their video, whereas Sony's BluRay is still using Mpeg-2. What?! Mpeg-2?! What is this, 1994? I think Sony is proving to drop the ball once again with the PS3 and BluRay, but it's seriously too early to count them out. And, I hear people alikening HDDVD vs BluRay to Beta vs VHS, but that's a flawed analogy. The difference is Beta was superior to VHS but VHS was affordable. From these early reviews, HDDVD is both superior in quality (even if not by much) and much cheaper than BlurRay, so it's kind of like Beta priced as VHS in that way, you know?

PS3 is the saving grace for Sony's BluRay, and only time will tell who wins the HD wars, although I'm starting to think we're going to be stuck with both formats for quite a while. I don't think either of them is going to "win". Instead, I think both will be around for quite a long while. But, that's just my guess.

Speck said...

I more or less agree with Heath...I was a huge Sony fan boy as well.

But to update Heath and all....Blu-Ray is now employing the newer codec, same as HD-DVD...they did get smart and drop mpeg2....

but too little too late...the 1st run of discs, all with mpeg2 look like shit and its what people saw first, including myself.

Zelda is good as always of course. And Gear of War rocks the house.

harwell said...

I heard that the PS3 doesn't even come with an HDMI cable. Can one of you nerds confirm this? Because that's retarded. Plop down 600 bucks for this HIGH DEF gaming experience and then learn that you gotta drop another 100 bucks (which is also retarded) for the HDMI cable? That's lame, dudes.

Blu-ray (which has to be one of the worst named technological products ever) players will come down in price because they always do and also because there's no way in hell they can justify charging 1000 bucks for the picture that I and others have seen in these early display models. But you know that Sony won't lower prices on the PS3 until the holiday season of 2007. So, when a Blu-ray player comes out this summer for under 600 bucks will the PS3 still be such a fantastic deal???

I doubt it. I'm rooting for Nintendo just based on principle alone. I think they're taking a pretty radical approach that has to be applauded whether it ultimately fails or not. They're offering a real alternative to a two party system where both parties look and sound an awful lot alike.

Vote Nintendo! Wiiiiiiiiiii!

Nathan said...

I'm picking up a wii as soon as i can here....which looks like it will be fucking December. blah.

And AND AND! the games will probably be in CHINESE.

How dare they.

I wonder if it would be worth it to get one shipped here from the states.

Speck said...

HDMI cables are only like 30-40 bucks.

But yeah, Sony should be one in the high end package.

But..even doesnt come with have to scour for them.