November 30, 2004

Console Shopping

by psu

As I outlined before, a large part of my life is spent shopping. This is not to say that I buy a lot of stuff. Mostly I just make mental lists of what I would like to buy, in an ideal world, depending on what my current obsession is. Since my most recent obsession is game consoles, naturally I have been shopping for them latey.

This, of course, makes no sense at all, since the Xbox that I have is perfectly adequate. It is still what I would have bought first, and IMHO has the strongest collection of titles plus Xbox live. The purpose of this exercise is not really to aquire a new console (although that is is likely end result), it is to be able to answer the question what would you get if you wanted to buy a non-Xbox console right now. This, of course, depends on several factors. To me, the three most important are:

1. What does it cost?
2. Does the thing fit in my TV stand?
3. What games do I want to play on the thing?

This is a great time to be shopping for consoles. We are late in the latest cycle, so they are all dirt cheap. Also, there are tons of games available for basically every platform, and there is probably one more major round of releases before people start concentrating on the next cycle. This eliminates question (1) from the discussion. All of the major consoles are basically free. It also makes (3) much simpler, because all you have to think about are exclusive titles.

For a long time, these facts, plus the small and cute thing had basically locked me into thinking GameCube. The PS2 is just too big and clunky, and its exclusives are uncompelling. The GameCube basically makes its entire living off of excellent first party titles that I haven't played yet:

- Zelda
- Mario (Sunshine, Kart, Golf, Paper, etc)
- Zombies (Eternal Darkness, Resident Evil, etc)

All this in a nice small package that can also play my GBA games on the TV if I want. What could be better?

Sadly, all grand plans can be undone with time and more research.

Time brought us the small cute PS2. Curses. Research found a few titles exclusive to the PS2 that appear to be worth trying.

- Japanese cult games (Ico, Katamari Damacy, Rez, and so on)
- Ratchet and Clank (mmm, explosions)
- Crazy RPGs (Disegea, Shadow Hearts, Shin Megoosy Foobar: Nocturne(*), and so on)

In the past, I'd have written this stuff off as not likely to be enjoyed. But even the RPG has come into my field of vision as a fun thing to do from time to time so now the latent object syndrome kicks in and we are off to the races finding all of the cool strategic turn based titles that Japan can crank out.

Happily, the Christmas season can cure all ills. You can't find a new style PS2 anywhere. All sold out. So now I don't have to worry.

But, should the question of which console to buy come across your mind, here, at least, is the information you need to make an "informed" decision.

(*) I just made up that name, because Shin Megami Tensei is a stupid name and hard to remember.

Posted by psu at November 30, 2004 08:06 PM | Bookmark This

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