Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Xbox 360, My Opinion

Is it worth spending over R4000 on a new Xbox 360? That is the question that SHOULD be going through your mind right now. Are you willing to part with the cash to buy a machine that is really, in essence, another Playstation? Sony have done a great piece of marketing with the PS and then the PS2. They killed Sega and have wiped out just about every other gaming system out there. One could even argue that the PC gamer is only the ultra geek now; the one who has cash-a-plenty and will splash out all of his hard earned dosh for a new super-cool graphics card or water-cooled processor.

What about people like you and me? People who enjoy killing a few aliens before supper or driving exotic cars in exotic locations around the world before bed. Is this the answer? Let me explain a few things before I answer that.

Once upon a time, people played cards and dice and Monopoly to pass the time. It was generally a public gathering and social environment. People laughed, drank and had a good time around the kitchen table or around a fire. Adults, children, grandparents, everyone would have a good time. Then came the TV and things changed. People no longer talked to each other but shouted at the stupid TV programmes. That was before SA Survivor, so you know the programmes weren’t that bad.

One clever person saw the TV and thought it was good but could be better, so they created games that could work on the TV. Simple games, like the Monopoly of it’s time. Games where you hit a square ball from one side of the screen to the other. These games worked and they were good. People started talking to each other again. Ok, there was some shouting and swearing but people still seemed to have a good time.

Then along some lonely old fart who predicted that processor’s would double their speed every two years. Mr Moore just had to proven correct by game creators and newer and faster machines came out and the TV game nearly died. Gamers could save their games on the new PC’s. Graphics were colour and the games were cong out thick and fast. You could jump, shoot and duck in 2D all you liked. In fact, you could even go 3D and fly airoplanes and helicopters and nothing the gaming consoles could do could get people away from their desktops.

That was until SEGA popped up on the scene with Sonic the Hedgehog and people flocked back to their TVs. Gaming was fast, interactive and more than one person could play at the same time. Sony saw the gap and created a thing called a Playstation. Plug it in and it worked. No driver issues, no mouse and keyboard and and and needed. Just a good TV and you could do everything the little PC could but with everyone in the house having a go too. The TV screen is big and loud.

But let’s jump to today. The PS2 pushed the Sega option out of the window and only a little Japanese upstart, Nintendo, kept up the pressure. Along came Mr William Gates. Will, or Bill, had more money that you and I can ever imagine. Bill decided to create a new gaming platform and the Xbox was born. It wasn’t very good but it was another option for those who were bored with the PS2 and liked MACS. Why? IT COSTS SO MUCH.

The new Xbox 360 is great! It is a Microsoft product, so be careful of that. In South Africa you get NO Xbox live! Let me say that again, the biggest selling feature of the gaming system is not available in South Africa at the moment. They blame Telkom for not giving us enough bandwidth. I say, who are you to tell me what I can and can’t do?

Games are numerous and the titles are varied. Graphics are better and you can rip your CD’s to the Xbox hardrive. You WILL have to upgrade that in the future and you know Microsoft know that, so they have made it easy to change. You can’t use your old one as a slave, so you throw it away.

Sound is great, if you have surround. But would you spend R4000 on a machine if you don’t have surround sound? Me thinks not.

So let me answer the question I raised 700 words ago. Should you spend R4000 on a new Xbox 360? If you have it and you really really want one, then yes. Otherwise, buy eight new PS2 games. They are going no where for a while and, although the launch of the PS3 is still far away, you KNOW that your PS2 games will still work on the new box. You may as well throw all of your PS2 stuff away. For example, my really cool steering wheel I bought for GT4 is useless on an Xbox 360.

Your choice, boet, your choice.

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