Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Gamer Speak: Game Systems

This article is a brief overview of the six current major game systems. The information provided is based on fact, but is indeed my opinion. I don't know much about all the technical workings of the machinery. What I do know is that I have seen games played on each of these systems, and sometimes I have seen the same game played on different systems. With the exception of the PSP and XBox 260, I have played games on the other four systems.

This isn't meant to be the end all be all of system reviews. Like all Gamer Speak articles, this is intended to give a little bit of insight into the world of the gamer. Hopefully, this helps some non-gamers out there to understand these systems a little bit better.

The six major game systems right now are the Wii, the Playstation 3, the XBox 360, the DS/DSi, the Playstation Portable, and Personal Computers.


Created by Nintendo and originally released in 2006
My favorite Wii game: Mario Party
My Gamer's favorite game: Wii Sports Resort

The Wii has a host of family-friendly and casual games. The system can also play Gamecube games and you can download several older Nintendo games for the virtual console. The Wii also excels in the new craze of fitness games. Nintendo's reputation for being easy to use right of the box is still seen with the Wii. The unique control system allows for people of all ages and skill levels to be able to play, and they offer a classic style controller for playing the virtual console games.

The Wii has mostly casual games, therefore the serious gamer may have difficultly finding games that would interest them. You will need to find an appropriate place for the Sensor Bar and the controls do take some getting used to at first. Also, there have been several instances of people letting go of the Wii-mote and it flying into their television and causing damage. Also, the Wii can only play games. It cannot double as a cd, dvd, or blu-ray player.

Playstation 3 (PS3):

Created by Sony, originally released in 2006.
My favorite game: inFAMOUS
My Gamer's favorite: Metal Gear Solid 4

Sony is known for creating high quality electronics and the PS3 is one of them. The PS3 can also double as a Blu-ray player and is one of the cheapest blu-ray players on the market. PS3 games come in the Blu-ray format. The PS3 can also play PS2 and PS1 games. The Playstation 3 also has far superior graphics. There are also opportunities for online play.

The PS3 is expensive. While the PS3 can play older games, not all of the older accessories will work and memory cards will need to be converted. Sony has released accessories that will compensate for these downfalls, but they must be purchased separately.

XBox 360:

Created by Microsoft, released in 2005.
My favorite game: Fallout 3
My Gamer's favorite: Left 4 Dead

This system is cheaper than the Playstation 3 and plays DVDs. The system can also be set up to receive movies from Netflix. The Xbox 360's greatest advantage is the amount of opportunities brought about through the internet connection. Online play is very popular with 360 owners as is XBox Live. 360 games also tend to receive more downloadable content and the 360 does have some exclusive games such as Halo.

The fail rate is enough to make most people reconsider buying another system. Depending upon who you ask there is between a 30-80% fail rate. Microsoft does offer a warranty, but once the system shows the red-ring-of-death, game play usually must be halted until the system can be repaired. And here is where we enter the realm of my opinion... The 360's graphics are obviously worse than those of the PS3. The experts would disagree with me and say that it's a matter of priorities, but I have watched the same game (Fallout 3) on both the 360 and the PS3 and there is an obvious difference. Some may prefer the 360's look, but the PS3 has a sharper and more realistic image.


Created by Nintendo, the original DS was released in 2003, the Lite in 2005, and the DSi was released in 2009.
My Favorite game: My Chinese Coach
My Gamer's Favorite: (tie) Trauma Center or The World Ends With You

The DS/DS Lite can play Gameboy Advanced games. There are also a slew of family- and kid-friendly games available. Many of the DS games are very unique, as is the Pictochat feature. The DS line is the only line of handhelds that currently has a touchscreen and some games are equipped with voice recognition software. The DSi also has a camera and internet capabilities. Like the Wii, the DS line also holds to the Nintendo ease of use.

While serious games do exist for the DS, they are often drowned out by all of the children's games. The DSi does not play any Gameboy games, and none of the DS's can play Gameboy Color games. The touch screen needs to be properly protected or it will scratch and many people have trouble with loosing the stylus.

Playstation Portable (PSP):

Created by Sony, the original PSP was released in the USA in 2003.
My favorite game: UMD movies
My Gamer's favorite: Crisis Core

The PSP has much better graphics than the DS line. The PSP also has more of a serious gamer set of games and can receive downloadable content. The PSP can also play UMD movies and if the owner chooses the void their warranty, the system and can be modified to perform other tasks and play older games.

Some people have experienced slow loading times and there aren't a lot of UMD movies available. The PSP only has one screen compared the the two found on the DS.

Personal Computer:

Created by various companies and originally released sometime in the 1980's.
My favorite game: Spore
My Gamer's favorite: World of Warcraft

Personal computers can perform a variety of tasks and there are computers in every style and price range. Many PCs are now portable and some PC games can be accessed by any PC, not just one. Online play is a very big selling point, and many PC games receive regular, or semi-regular, downloadable content. Also, some games from older systems can be accessed.

Some games will require large amounts of memory. In order to play a game, you must have the system requirements and this is not guaranteed as it is with other systems. For Mac users, many games are not Mac-compatible, but the newer Macs can run Windows and games can be played that way.

Each system has its merits and its downfalls. While I can say which systems I like the best, not every gaming need will be met with any single system. There is no consensus about which system is better than the others and there never will be. The best thing to do is to evaluate the system based on the gamer's priorities and go from there.

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