: PSX Extreme Roundtable Discussion (Week 2)

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PSX Extreme Roundtable Discussion (Week 2)

Welcome to PSX Extreme's second roundtable session. This week's edition is highlighted with questions by PSX Extreme's former Managing-Editor, Ryan Hartmann. Ryan agreed to moderate the 2nd edition of the roundtable as his semi-final hurrah for PSX Extreme. Needless to say, Hartmann laid down some pretty mind-piquing questions, and some rather controversial ones, as well. We hope you enjoy the read. Kudos to you, Ryan. 

Ryan (former Managing-Editor) says:
You know, guys, there have been a lot of complaints lately about console reliability, namely the Playstation 2's tendency to 'break down'. What are your thoughts on the reliability of the Playstation 2? Do you have any specific examples to back your theories?

Arnold (Editor-in-Chief) says:
Well...I own five different PS2s, one of them is Japanese. Admittedly, one of my PS2s is burning out, but it isn't my launch unit. It's one that I used to tinker with, and it also had a fan problem where the wire was torn -- but that's another story. I'd say more or less the demise of that one PS2 console was because of its initial faults. But, to this day, I haven't had any real problems with my PS2s. (Don't jinx me, you bastard.)

Matt (Executive-Editor) says:
I received my Playstation 2 two months after launch, as I preordered it in July. To date, I have had no problems concerning my console and its ability to play either games or movies. I hear a lot of people getting "disk error" or related problems, or the fact that certain games just don't play on the PS2. From my experience, I have never encountered this dilemma. I try to keep my console in the best shape possible and am very careful when handling it or using it in general.

Peter (Managing-Editor) says:
I am on my second PS2, after owning my first for a little over two years. My first one was a launch model and was noisy as a city block when playing PS2-specific CD games, but held up OK for the most part. Having worked a tour of duty in gaming retail last year, I can say that I did receive a fair amount of calls relating to PS2 disc-reading problems. However, quite a few of the systems that were brought back to us due to DREs (disc-read errors) were extremely dusty and looked like they had not been taken care of. I think it's a split problem, some of which is Sony's fault, and some of which is overuse or user abuse. 

Ryan says:
Have you noticed any propaganda designed to diminish the value of the Playstation 2, in media outlets or consumer opinion?

Arnold says:
I see it all the time in other publications, including Official Xbox Magazine and Nintendo Power. But when it happens to their consoles, they turn the other cheek. It's pretty annoying, especially on the Xbox side of things, where Xbox defects were almost as common as PS2 defects.

Matt says:
There's always going to be certain magazines or publications that attempt to diminish the value of the Playstation 2 with bias viewpoints that “support” another console. I've seen comparison lists amongst the three consoles, providing strengths and weaknesses, but have never really seen a form of propaganda that legitimately diminished the value of the PS2. Most of these examples are so blatantly ridiculous that it's comical.

Peter says:
I've come to expect anti-PS2 rhetoric to come from the Microsoft camp, but Nintendo Power recently published a "comparison piece" that really irked me, boasting such nonsense as the alleged superiority of the Gamecube controller over the PS2 controller-- which, in my opinion, just isn't true at all. Being the market leader opens you up to attacks from all sides-- your competition, unhappy consumers, and even the media. 

Ryan says:
Can you offer an example?

Arnold says:
It's not just about the controller, too. They list the GameCube's handle as one of the reasons why the GC is better than the PS2 and Xbox. At the end, they say that if you wanted to carry an Xbox with you somewhere, you'd need an industrial crane.

Peter says:
How does the fact that the GameCube "only plays games" make the GameCube a better buy than the PS2 -- or the Xbox, for that matter? It doesn't. The addition of the DVD option adds value to the purchase of a game console. 

Arnold says:
And the last two reasons (GBA connectivity and exclusive games) are beyond stupid. The GBA feature isn't even being used very well and few people even care about it. As far as the exclusivity...I don't know what rock Nintendo Power has been sleeping on. They claim you can't count 15 exclusive "hit" PS2 titles or more than one Xbox hit title -- obviously referring to Halo. 

Arnold says:
Whatever happened to journalistic integrity? And this magazine claims they have no bias. 

Ryan says:
So is it the opinion here that bias affects journalistic presentation? How does PSX Extreme ascend this so called bias?

Arnold says:
As Editor-in-Chief I try to transcend comparing consoles in my articles, but I admit doing it sometimes in the past. I save the opinionated pieces for a forum, be it ours or elsewhere. In various cases, when reviewing a multiplatform game, such as Splinter Cell, I try not to pick out and state which version is better. Instead, I point out the advantages that each version has. In Splinter Cell's case, I ended that review by stating 'if you've played Splinter Cell, then you've done yourself a favor'. It's as simple as that. Immature biased statements, in this case Nintendo Power's recent "top 10 reasons why the GameCube is better than the PS2 and Xbox" article, really irk me.

Matt says:
I tend to be completely objective with anything I write. Even in that article I wrote about GTA possibly going to the Xbox, I never made a negative comment. The competition is good and I find no reason to slander people with my opinion.

Ryan says:
Great. Peter, how do you transcend this platform subjectivity?

Peter says:
While I certainly have a personal preference towards Sony, I don't let that change me into a one-track mind when it comes to other systems. I'm not here to praise the almighty PS2 and doom the Xbox and GameCube... I just call things as I see them. 

Ryan says:
So, guys, what is your objective standpoint on the PS2? 

Peter says:
The PS2 has had most of the games that I have really wanted to play since 2001, and that's why it's been my system of choice. It's not about what's under the hood, or who makes it. Games make a console, and not vice-versa. 

Arnold says:
As far as my objective view regarding the PS2, I can't lie; it is my favorite current console -- but not by far. I've been a huge fan of the Xbox, and I'm hoping that Microsoft gets more support and a little push to compete against the PS2. Both consoles have awesome software, and very innovative teams working behind each. The PS2 is easily my favorite current console, but the Xbox is certainly a console I enjoy very, very much. As far as the GameCube...well, you'd rather not read what I have to say about it. I will say, though, I love the GBA/GBA SP.

Ryan says:
So, is it the contention of this panel that it is not the superiority of hardware, but rather the superiority of software, that gives the PlayStation 2 its edge?

Peter says:
Without question. 

Ryan says:
What examples come to mind?

Arnold says:
Hardware power means nothing to me. My favorite game of all time is, visually, one of the most simplistic and 10 years old.

Ryan says:
I'm guessing A Link to the Past, Arnold?

Arnold says:
Yep.

Peter says:
For me, my PS2 love affair started with a lowly racer called Ridge Racer V. From there, even with the competing systems out there, many games are multiplatform and arrive for the PS2 at some point in time. 

Matt says:
Although, I do not own either the Xbox or the GameCube, I still maintain a neutral state when commenting about games. Obviously, the PS2 is my console of choice, but I don't let that aspect influence my readers

Arnold says:
I still play it to this day, and I think it still looks every bit as gorgeous as it did 10 years ago. Simplicity makes a game look better in many cases. 

Ryan says:
The real question here is, is the Playstation 2 inferior in terms of hardware?

Arnold says:
In comparison to the Xbox, certainly. I don't think it's very debatable. In comparison to the GameCube, they're just about even. 

Peter says:
Well, yeah. It's outdated, in terms of its current competition -- but the PS2 came out 18 months ahead of its competition, too. 

Arnold says:
But, the PS2's visuals still hold up, so I can't complain. Just take a look at Gran Turismo 4 and Metal Gear Solid 3. 'Nuff said.

Arnold says:
Not to mention Jak II, Silent Hill 3, Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando, etc. 

Matt says:
In many cases, the PS2 still has prettier games than either system. Even though the GameCube has very nice graphics, I don't know a game that compares to GT4...hell, even GT3.

Ryan says:
Can you give us examples, Arnold?

Arnold says:
For instance, Jak II's scale and overall graphical prowess is probably comparable to Xbox's best looking game. It's rather hard to compare, because the Xbox is pretty dry in terms of platform titles. Or good ones, for that matter.

Ryan says:
So, guys, you feel that the PS2 can still compete graphically?

Peter says:
Of course it can compete, as long as developers show the desire to push the hardware -- such as Polyphony Digital has done with GT4. 

Matt says:
Easily. I would say the PS2 and GC are even, with the Xbox having a slight advantage on certain games in terms of visuals.

Arnold says:
Gran Turismo 4 is a better example. Project Gotham Racing 2 is looking incredibly gorgeous. But, Gran Turismo 4 still manages to look better in many areas, including lighting, car models and other little intricacies. Meanwhile, PGR2 has great car models and respectable lighting, but better looking surroundings.

Arnold says:
So, yes, the PS2 easily competes with the more superior hardware.

Ryan says:
So, it is your opinion that the Playstation 2 can compete with modern day technology. Compared to the Xbox and GameCube's 'superior' hardware, what will make the PS2 attractive, not only to the gamer, but to the common man? 

Arnold says:
What will make the PS2 attractive? Games like Gran Turismo 4 and Jak II will attract all kinds of gamers. But I also feel as if we need more games like ICO, where art is at the helm of it all. ICO is one of the most gorgeous games I've ever seen in my life -- and it wasn't pushing 20 million polygons, with all effects and bump mapping on, etc. etc. We *really* need more games like ICO. And I can't forget The Mark of Kri; that was a beaut, too. 

Peter says:
The PS2 has value-added features that its competition lacks. The ability to play DVDs out of the box is a big bonus. The PS2's ability to play PSone games -- along with the huge availability and low price of new and used PSone titles -- is another great feature. Certain exclusives, such as Castlevania: Lament of Innocence, Gran Turismo 4, Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and several others solidifies the PS2 as the system of choice for most gamers, especially those in the "casual majority", which currently makes up a very large percentage of gamers today. 

Matt says:
Precisely, the PS2 has simply been able to attract its audience with the ability to play previous games, along with certain exclusives like Gran Turismo and GTA (for the moment at least). The fact that people are more familiar with Sony and the Playstation, they tend to favor what they've come accustomed to. Honestly, the PS2 controller just seems to work the best with every game. Take the Tony Hawk series, the PS2 easily has the best control layout. It seems to be this way with almost every game, in that the PS2 just feels better.

Ryan says:
And with that, we round up and finish our second roundtable discussion. Thanks go to the readers and, of course, the staff. Join us next week for another session.

6/10/2003 PSX Extreme Staff

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