I finally broke down in my personal dislike for console gaming last weekend and went out to WalMart to get a PS2. The rationale was pretty simple – my wife wanted to play console games like Sonic, which she apparently enjoyed as a kid, and consoles really aren’t that expensive. The decision process on which console to get was a lot more involved, and was hampered by the fact that we both had different things we wanted out of the machines. In the end, our list looked something like this:
- Excellent library of games (including the FF series for me!)
- Significantly behind the leading edge (XBox and X360)
- Well supported by mod chips for if and when we move back to Australia
- No HDTV (480p doesn’t count, really)
- Good game library
- Better graphics than PS2, worse than X360
- Relatively cheap, but only available second hand or refurbished
- Extremely well supported by mod chips and third party mods (it’s just a PC after all)
- Some HDTV (720p mostly)
- Limited game library and limited backward compatibility
- Very strong leader in its generation
- Expensive (no way I want a core system)
- No mod chips yet, and I really do need these.
- Excellent HDTV support
Wait for a PS3
- $600??!? You’re kidding… I’d buy a PC for that.
So, weighing all that up we ended up going for a PS2 with the intention of looking closely at the X360 once the PS3 comes out and price adjustments happen. I’m still amazed by how small the PS2 actually is – it really looks like a slightly oversized CD walkman.
As you may have guessed, I’m having fun playing the FF series now and my wife has finished the Ice Age 2 game and is looking to play a Wallace and Grommit game next. She’s promised to look at FF and Kingdom Hearts sometime in the future but I think she’s holding off because she knows I want her to look at them and somehow hates it when I’m right about the games she’ll enjoy (her logic is really weird sometimes, of course I know what she likes after being married seven years).
In any case, the PS2 has reinforced my belief that PC gaming isn’t going away and that it offers a viable platform for the future despite console fans crowing over its death with vapid regularity. You really can’t beat a keyboard/mouse interface for a whole class of games (RTS/MMOG) and the incremental upgrade process you can use in PCs really makes them much more powerful in the long run.