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Next Gen Gaming... Tim 
Posted by: Tim at 3:12 PM EST on 5/19/2005
File Under: Games

Well, all three of the next generation video game consoles have been have been revealed. For the past couple of days, I've been struggling with what I should post about them. I guess it comes down to this: None of them have excited me.

Now that I've graduated and have a lot of free time on my hands, I've been sitting around playing games. I'm definitely getting back into them, but it's been with older games like Paper Mario and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. So, my point is that I don't think I've lost interest in games, I think the industry has just gone off in a direction that doesn't really interest me. I guess I've been saying basically the same thing for the past couple of years, but the fact that the new consoles really don't spark my interest pretty much confirms it.

Here are my brief impressions:

Xbox 360: Microsoft was the first to introduce their new console, and they did it with lots of flash and marketing and a TV show dedicated to its unveiling. I forgot to watch it. That's fine. What I've seen of it since then gives me the same general impression the Xbox gave me. Lots of flash, pretty graphics, and some neat gimmicky features that appeal to my gadget-geek side. Gamewise, it's guns, cars, sports, and a few RPGs thrown in for good measure. It's the testosterone system - filled with exactly what every marketing department thinks will make the 18 to 34 year-old male crowd drool and open their wallets. Maybe I'm a defective 18 to 34 year old male, since it didn't really do anything for me.

PlayStation 3: This system's name seems to perfectly capture its essence. It's a straight up sequel. It's more of the same. The PlayStation 3 was announced, along with Metal Gear Solid 4, Devil May Cry 4, Gran Turismo 5, and Tekken 6. Noticing a pattern? If you like the PS2, well, you'll probably like the PS3, given you're not tired of its franchise series. I never really liked them in the first place. Maybe we'll see more Ico or Mark of Kri-like creativity as time goes by.

Revolution: Nintendo was stingy with the details. Hell, they didn't even show off the controller. Then again, ever since they revealed the analog stick for the N64 and immediately had the idea stolen by their competitors, they've been pretty secretive of their hardware. Add to that, they didn't even show any games. Well, I guess there was a few seconds of a Metroid Prime 3 teaser, but that was apparently running off of the same GameCube engine as its predecessors. So, what are we supposed to get excited about, again? They did announce that it would play downloadable versions of NES, SNES, and N64 games, though. That's pretty cool. And I'd say the system itself has the best design of the three, being about the size of three DVD cases stacked together. That's cool, too. Overall, Nintendo just seems to be well behind the curve. They haven't even sent out dev kits to any developers yet. They better hope it's as easy to develop for as they claim, or there's going to be one sparse launch lineup.

Okay, enough negativity. There were some things that I definitely liked. All three systems are going to use wireless controllers, and that's just an excellent idea all around. Screw cords. Screw the super short GameCube cords that tethered you to the console. Screw the super long Xbox cords that always made a mess. Screw the humongous knots in front of the entertainment center. Wireless is a good thing.

Oh, and speaking of wireless, all three systems will have wireless internet connectivity. Score one more for reducing clutter. On top of that, it seems as though they'll all have Xbox Live-like features. That was the best feature of the Xbox, so it's good to see the other companies, especially Nintendo, catch on.

Right now, I can honestly say I don't expect to get any of the new systems at launch, which is odd for me. But then again, by the time they hit stores, I'll have a lot more disposable income than I do now, so who knows. Or maybe I'll just sit this generation out and catch up on all the classics I missed out on over the years.
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