Sega Dreamcast. Nintendo GameCube. Playstation One. Every year, another video game system is rendered obsolete as the holiday season ushers in a new wave of state-of-the-art consoles. This year, both Sony and Microsoft will look to capitalize on recent success as they release upgrades to their popular Xbox and Playstation systems, while Nintendo tries to make a big splash with its innovative new wireless console, the Wii.
Still not sure which console you want under your tree? Then read on, gamer, as we take you on an in-depth tour of this year’s three newest consoles and tell you exactly why you will be shutting your phone off on Friday nights and saving the princess instead of cuddling with your girlfriend.
Big Games: “The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess,” “Red Steel”
Nintendo is no longer the juggernaut it once was. While the makers of Mario did reign supreme in the ’90s, flying up the ladder of contention thanks to the success of the NES and N64, the Gamecube was branded a “kiddie” system and surpassed by both the PS2 and the Xbox. These were consoles that could quench a young adult’s blood thirst, housing such infamous main characters as Grand Theft Auto’s Tommy Vercetti and Halo’s Master Chief.
This year, Nintendo returns with the kind of system that our parents could only dream about while they were fidgeting with their Ataris. Combining a remote and an analog companion named the Nunchuk, Nintendo’s Wii provides a completely new gaming experience. The Wii remote and Nunchuk are a dual wireless/motion-sensitive control system that the console can read from up to 15 feet away! So what does this all mean? In a boxing game, you actually throw punches and dodge. In a football game, you actually make the pass. In a first person shooter, your hand is the gun. That’s right, folks, no more complaining about idiotic controller reactions or ambiguous auto-aiming systems; the Wii leaves your video game shortcomings entirely up to you.
At the forefront of the Wii’s appeal is a completely revitalized “Legend of Zelda” game, named “Twilight Princess.” The game brings a mature appeal and appearance as it ditches the cel-shaded graphics from the Gamecube’s “Wind Waker” and allows Link to look and feel like he’s supposed to: a kick-ass warrior elf who won’t take shit from anybody.
The Wii retails for $249.99.
Big Games: “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of The Patriot,” “Resident Evil 5,” “Devil May Cry 4,” “Tekken 6”
If you’re looking for action, you’ve come to the right place. The PS3 is the only place you can find the next installments for games like “Metal Gear Solid,” “Resident Evil,” “Devil May Cry,” “Tekken” and “Final Fantasy.” Sony has been selling whoop-ass by the case since the PS1 came out back in the day, and Sony seems to be ascribing to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy with the release of the Playstation 3.
The slate of games looks relatively similar to that of the PS2, while the online capabilities have been expanded upon but not dramatically changed. Of course, Playstation 3’s online gaming network is both free and always connected, so that might be something to think about when debating between this system and the two others.
Playstation 3’s biggest change lies in its processors and hardware. The PS3’s hardware has been upgraded in an attempt to compete with its next-generation rival, the Xbox 360. According to gamespot.com, these attempts were made in vain.
The 20 gigabyte Playstation 3 retails for $499.99 and the 60 gigabyte retails for $599.99.
Big Games: “Halo 3,” “SmackDown! Vs. RAW 2007”
For the record, I hate everything about the Xbox, but even I have to give this machine, and Microsoft in general, a boatload of credit. “Halo” single-handedly revolutionized online gaming outside of the PC, making the words “LAN Party” a common phrase among non-geeks.
The Xbox has the most comprehensive hardware, sporting a lightning-quick CPU and a remarkable 20 gigabyte hard drive.
Xbox Live, the system’s Internet gaming network, is still just as popular as it was with the original Xbox; however, the subscriptions will take a pretty penny out of your wallet.
While the Xbox is undoubtedly the most powerful of the three systems, its gaming slate leaves something to be desired. Microsoft will obviously make more than its share of the year’s profits with sequels to games like “Halo,” “SmackDown! vs. RAW” and PC favorite “Quake” scheduled to debut soon.
However, with both the PS3 and Wii boasting continuations of some of the most popular gaming series of the ’90s, it seems the Xbox is on the short end of things in the gaming department.
The Xbox 360 basic package retails for $299.99 and the premium package retails for $399.99.