Your Game System Sucks
Okay, okay. On a more serious note, I find it funny how heated console debates still get these dates. I remember back in the eighth grade, I used to get into arguments with friends over which system was the best: the Nintendo 64 or the PlayStation. The PlayStation was always my pick of choice, because as much as I loved the N64, the line-up of quality games was so spread apart that it made owning that system painful. Likewise, to bounce backward a few more years, even in the fourth and fifth grade, I remember arguing with my cousin that my SNES was better than his Genesis (though, in retrospect, both consoles were equally awesome). Oddly enough, my classes weren't very divided as far as console preferences went, almost all of us had an SNES.
This console debating went on as far as the last generation, when the PlayStation 2 had the Xbox and the GameCube as its primary competitors. As an owner of all three units, my GameCube saw very little game time, as it suffered from the same curse the N64 did. The Xbox got a pretty decent amount of game time with Halo, Project Gotham Racing, and a few other games. But the PlayStation 2, naturally, got the vast majority of game time, since it had all of the games that mattered. I'd say, it wasn't up until three or four years ago when I stopped caring and debating about what console is the best. Something inside of me just died, I guess...it's hard to explain.
But the reason why I bring you this piece is to explain to you why your console of choice isn't the flawless magical box of awesomeness you think it is. In fact, the entire point of this piece is to focus on only the weaknesses of the three consoles. And I'll start with the Nintendo Wii...
The Nintendo Wii Sucks
It has a downright embarrassing network/online setup, with a cumbersome user interface, making great online multiplayer games almost non-existent. Moreover, whatever happened to the wave of third-party support that publishers said they'd give the Wii? It never happened. Instead, all the Wii gets is chop-jobs like a really ugly looking Call of Duty: Modern Warfare port, Need for Speed: Nitro, and a cartoon-like version of Madden NFL. Sure the Wii has a few great games, but they're released so far apart, that it makes me wonder if there are any gamers out there who only own a Wii and defend the system like it's the greatest console of all time, because it isn't. It isn't even good. In fact, if there's one console out there that should've gotten the brute of all the "no games" line that the PlayStation 3 was on the receiving end of, it's the Nintendo Wii.
Moreover, the Wii has become a console for exercising and not a console for gaming. Staying fit is great and all, but exercising with a videogame console is not playing videogames, and it does not make you a gamer. Playing The Biggest Loser on your Nintendo Wii does not help the image of your console and does not help attract a newer demographic. Nintendo was promised third-party support, but it did not expect the lack of quality third party games, because all it got was just a bunch of random kiddy games. Don't believe me? Check out the list of Nintendo Wii games that launched this year, and tell me how many of them are actually proper games, and not something for the "casuals" - and I use that word very loosely. Just because you own a Nintendo Wii and a Wii Fit, does not make you a gamer, much like playing word games on your Blackberry doesn't either. But I'm not done yet, I have one final question: Nintendo, when the hell are you going to introduce some seriously powerful new franchises? Pokemon, Zelda, and Mario are great...but the folks at Sony and Microsoft are constantly giving us something new, while you're still stuck in the early 90s. Wake up, already.
The Xbox 360 Sucks, Too
Let's discuss yet another facet of hardware annoyances; Microsoft is absolutely insane to charge such a ridiculous amounts of money for things like an HDD or network adapter - hardware that shouldn't cost a penny more than $50. And as great as Xbox Live is, having to pay $50 a year for it, on top of not getting even slightly reduced prices on downloadable content is still a rip-off to me, no matter how good the service is. On that note, it's extremely annoying to have to buy a console, and spend more money buying accessories that it should've come with out of the box. There's also the size restrictions Microsoft slaps on the XBL Arcade stuff -- just get rid of it, since you keep raising the damn thing every week. It's up to 2GB now, up from the original 150MB limit.
Then, there's the hardware offering itself. Selling a system without a hard drive has put a great strain on numerous developers who wanted to utilize the hard drives for better streaming, but could not do it because they knew that a certain million amount of people have Xbox 360's without hard drives. Good job, Microsoft. And how about penalizing people who use their own hard drives with the X360? That's pretty lame.
Also, what the hell happened to Microsoft this year? All the X360 got was Halo 3: ODST, which is just a reskinned Halo 3 with a new campaign - an expansion pack, of sorts. And Forza 3, while great, isn't exactly a system selling blockbuster here. I feel like Microsoft is slowly beginning to suffer from the same illness as Nintendo - they have almost nothing new to offer, as far as first-party goes. They bought out RARE, and that turned out to be a colossal waste. They released two new Halo games this year, both of which sold great, but lacked any substance and innovation - which the series is in dire need of, since it's been stagnant for a while. Ultimately, the games are what justify a console, and right now, the Xbox 360 is not fairing very well in this case.
10/26/2009 Arnold Katayev