Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sixth Generation of Video Game Consoles

I originally wanted to just talk about the Gamecube, but figured I would be talking about all three system in the process anyway, so I changed my mind. Since I initially wanted to talk about the Gamecube, I'll start with that.

I consider the Nintendo Gamecube to be one of the most underrated video game consoles ever. Most of the people I know personally think it's okay, but I hear more people outside of my group of friends and such call it one of the worst pieces of shit ever made. Yeah right. I mean, people are entitled to their opinions, sure, but it seems like a quick judgment call considering there have truly been far worse consoles, such as the Panasonic 3DO, the Philips CD-i, and Nintendo's very own Virtual Boy. There are more, but the Gamecube doesn't even fucking touch those consoles in terms of total suckage.

I agree that it's certainly not the best game system out there, but I still like it a decent amount. Most people will complain that the system didn't have very much third-party support, at least not like the Playstation 2 or Xbox did. This actually was not a completely bad thing, since that meant the Gamecube had more exclusive games on it. Not that the other consoles didn't, but that meant the console was made more unique. See, the thing that usually sucks about third-party support is that you tend to get the same games on all or most of the game consoles, so typically, you only needed the game on one console. What I usually do in that case is pick the best system that has that kind of third-party support (where the same games are usually on the other consoles). I decide that by figuring out the best exclusive game lineup. Otherwise, if all three systems had the same kind of support, then you'd need only one system, not just to own, but to sell in stores.

But quite a few people also tend to complain about the Gamecube's exclusive games library as well. With a few exceptions, such as Metroid Prime and F-Zero GX, the game had a reputation for having a lot of "kiddy games." Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean that the games are bad. If you're going to use that logic, then that would mean that all of those games you used to play as a kid suck now, including classics like Super Mario Bros., Kirby's Adventure, and Star Fox. I'll even use more recent examples: how about Banjo-Kazooie, Ratchet & Klank, and Super Mario Galaxy? Who cares if they're "kiddy" or not, just play some fucking games. You're only limiting your fun factor by accepting that kind of behavior.

I don't care if I'm having fun, this game still sucks because I'm an adult.

But even with all of that clumped together, the system was still criticized for not having online play. There's LAN, but no online for about ninety nine percent of it's games, Phantasy Star Online being the only one I can think of with online capabilities, which I've never played before. Nintendo didn't start really supporting online games until Mario Kart DS was released in 2005 on the Nintendo DS, and before that, Nintendo was adamant about not supporting online games. Nintendo's president and CEO, Satoru Iwata, even went as far as saying (back in 2004), "Customers don't want online games." Yeah. Sure. That's why over a large number of Xbox users were on Xbox Live at the time, probably even more than that. And that number was growing fast.

To be fair, though, I prefer just playing with a group of friends. I guess that could be due to the fact that it's what I've done ever since I was a kid, but there's a greater sense of closeness, and the lack of anonymity makes it less likely for those fucking moronic racial, homophobic, misogynistic, and ultimately pointless insults (among other things). Besides, I love it when my girlfriend and I give each other hugs and kisses while playing games.

I guess the last big criticism I'd like to touch on is the Gamecube's multimedia abilities. Since the Gamecube uses discs that are half the size of regular discs, it doesn't play movies or music. Why this is a complaint, I don't know. It's a fucking video game console. It plays video games. Although it's nice if video game consoles have multimedia capabilities, it's not necessary to have them. There are various other things that you either already have or can easily obtain that can give you those multimedia features, and sometimes it's actually more convenient to do that instead.

Ultimately, most of the complaints that people have (at least the ones I hear) about the Gamecube are kind of ridiculous. I get that people don't like the system, but here's a big problem with the people I've met that don't like it. I'll usually ask them how many games they've played, and possibly what games they've played. I'd rarely get an answer that went above five games, and the games were usually games that either truly did suck, or games that were otherwise found on the other game systems. Other than that, people would usually just cite "what they heard." Which, by the way, video game magazines were rarely nice to any games on the system. Sometimes there was even an obvious bias going against the system in some magazines, Game Informer being a great example simply because they usually only give good scores to what's popular. Here's an article about it (which also talks about how the magazine criticized what is arguably one of the greatest games on the Gamecube):

I don't care if I'm having fun, this game still sucks because it's not popular.

And you know what . . . a big, highly anticipated Mario game not being popular? What a fucking moron.

Even though I think the Gamecube is the most underrated system, I still don't think that it was the best one released during the last generation of game consoles. That would be the Playstation 2. It's not because the game library is the largest, it's because it has a lot of great games in general. Of course, quite a few of them aren't too great or even anything special, but there are still a lot of pretty damn good games on the system. And you know what the crazy thing is? It's the less popular games that are the better ones for the most part. Even if they're not the best, they're at least the most fun to play.

Any problems with the console that I have are minor, even to the point where I can't even think of a big flaw besides what I mentioned earlier. It's one of my favorite game consoles ever, though it still doesn't quite take the top spot. If you had to get one system out of the three from the last generation of video game consoles, get the Playstation 2. Nowadays, it's pretty cheap getting one, and the games are typically cheap now as well. There are a lot of great games for ten dollars or less used at game stores like Gamestop, though some might go above that.

And, of course, the worst video game console of the last generation is the Xbox. I've never actually owned an Xbox, but I've played my cousin's a lot, and she had owned a select few exclusive games and rented quite a few others. I got a chance to play all of those games, the ones that my cousin owned being the best games on the system. After playing many other games on the system, I can easily say that the system is one of the most overrated video game consoles ever (though it's not a total piece of shit), much like the Gamecube is one of the most underrated. Because of that, I feel people got things backwards the whole last generation.

I really have no idea why people liked this system-oh wait! It's because of Halo. Good game (and just that, a good game), but defining a whole system just based on that one game? I know a shit load of people who did that. It was fucking irritating. Like with the Gamecube, I'd ask people what they played on the Xbox. Once again, I didn't hear much beyond Halo and some third party games also available on the other two systems. But that's the thing. It's not necessarily their fault. The other part of this is that the Xbox's game library was full of third-party games found on other systems, with a few obvious exceptions. And even most of the first party games on the system were okay at best.

It's for that reason that my cousin sold all of her Xbox stuff. Well, her second Xbox anyway. Her first one malfunctioned to the point where, although it would turn on, it was practically unusable for some reason. Since it couldn't be fixed, she smashed it up. Of course, she bought a second one, which was starting to show signs of another malfunction just before she sold it.

Now the only way we can get one back (if I wanted one, which I don't), is through Amazon or something, because of Microsoft's excellent idea of immediately dropping the original Xbox's support right after the Xbox 360 came out. Real fucking smart, Microsoft.

But if there's at least one redeeming factor about the Xbox, it's that it was able to incorporate your music into some of the games released for the system. That means you can listen to Slayer while you kill a bunch of people, thus setting a proper tone. Or Brittany Spears, whatever floats your boat.

Perfect for Mortal Kombat or Grand Theft Auto.

But after these consoles had pretty much run their course, Microsoft got better, but how much better? Return soon to find out, when I take a look at the consoles released during the seventh generation of video game consoles.