Video Games 101

Welcome to another edition of Nerding 101 with your friendly Professor Nattata. ^.^ Today we’ll be discussing Video Games 101 — Current Generation Consoles.

On the market today, there are three home consoles that are available for purchase in this – the seventh generation of home video gaming. Please note that today we’re just talking about home consoles and not handheld. We can talk about handheld consoles at a later date. If you enjoy playing video games at all, or are simply looking to get into the newest generation of video gaming, you’ll need to educate yourself on your options to make the best choice for you. After all, a home console is an investment these days, and no one wants to make an unwise investment in this economy.

Console #1: The Xbox 360

The Xbox 360  is produced by the Microsoft company and is the second home video gaming console from the company.  Initially released in 2005, the Xbox 360 completely sold out in all sales regions (except Japan) in it’s initial month.  Today, over 41 million Xbox 360 systems have been sold worldwide.

Pictured here is the most commonly recognized form of the Xbox 360, though if you go out to purchase a brand new Xbox today, you’re more than likely going to be looking at one of the new models, which is slimmer than the one pictured here, and is also black.  The new models are very impressive, sporting five USB ports, integrated WIFI capabilities, and a 250 GB hard drive.

Currently selling for $300, this system is an investment.  But Microsoft has announced that with the release of the Xbox 360 Slim (the new black models) that they expect the system is only halfway through it’s life cycle and plans to continue producing it until 2015.  So even if you were to purchase this system now, you’d be getting a good solid five years out of it before anything new comes out, and you’ve got five years of games behind you already.

And if that $300 price point is a bit high for you and you’re willing to sacrifice the storage space in the hard drive, a very new release has just happened in America – an Xbox 360 Slim with a 4GB hard drive selling for $200.

Console #2: The Nintendo Wii

Second, we have the Nintendo Wii.  Perhaps the most well-known home gaming console system currently available, it is produced by the Nintendo company – a leader in video gaming, both console and handheld.  Released a year later than the Xbox 360, the Wii has sold more units than either of it’s competitors, hitting nearly 74 million units sold worldwide since it’s initial launch.

The Wii has the ability to play both Wii titles as well as the titles of its predecessor, the Nintendo Gamecube.  It contains only 521 megabytes of internal storage and uses external memory cards to provide the user with space to store save files and such for games. It also features motion control – the first of the current generation consoles to offer motion-controlled gaming.  It has ports for 4 Nintendo Gamecube controller and can handle four Wiimotes (the name for the controller used to play Wii games).

The Nintendo Wii is currently selling for $150 and is the most affordable of the current generation systems.  And it’s honestly good that it’s the least expensive console, as Nintendo has not given any sort of lifespan expectancy for the Wii, stating only that they will continue to produce it until they have run out of ideas and meaningful content for the system.

Console #3: The Playstation 3

The last console on our list today is the Playstation 3.  Produced by the Sony company, it first hit the markets in 2006, the same year as the Nintendo Wii.  It sports the least amount of sales overall, having sold just over 38 million units worldwide since it’s release four years ago.

The Playstation 3 (often shortened to “PS3”) is the only of the current systems to provide the ability to play BluRay Discs — and in fact uses the BluRay as it’s medium for video games.  It comes with various sizes of hard drives, from 120 gigabytes to a full 320 gigabytes.  The current slim edition runs very quietly and smoothly.

It sports very little extra other than the BluRay, but for many, that is more than enough.  For those with big, flat-screen TVs and HD cravings, bluray is a great way to go.

The Playstation 3 sells for between $300 and $350 on the market today, depending on the size of the hard drive you’re looking for.  It is the most expensive console on the market, considering that bluray players on the market go for well over $100, that often factors in to the decision on purchasing this particular console.  There’s no word on how long the PS3 will be on the market, which may make some nervous at spending that much money on a home console system.

So how do you go about deciding on what console is the one for you?  I mean, it’s a big investment, and you don’t want to end up making a decision you’ll regret.  So here I’ll provide a bulleted list of the pros and cons of each system, and you can make your decision and get into the wonderful world of home video games!!

The Xbox 360

  • Wide Variety of Games
  • Intuitive Gaming Interface
  • Massive Amounts of Storage
  • Cordless and Corded Controller Options
  • Triple Core Processing
  • Durable
  • Good Warranty and Product Servicing
  • Reliable Company
  • Plays DVDs
  • Compatible with Netflix Streaming
  • Connects with PCs for Music and Video
  • Solid Graphics and Sound
  • Fantastic Online Play
  • Controller is big and sometimes clunky
  • Older models have over-heating problems

Nintendo Wii

  • Great for the Casual Gamer
  • Wonderful for Children and Families
  • Interactive Play
  • Streams Netflix
  • Intuitive Controls
  • Simple controller design
  • Durable, Reliable System
  • Long-standing, Reliable Company
  • Many interesting control add-ons
  • Small, Compact Design
  • Most Affordable System
  • Does not support DVD play
  • Very few games for the “hardcore” player
  • Motion Control can be quite finicky
  • Less impressive graphics than it’s competitors

Playstation 3

  • BluRay Compatible
  • Online Connectivity and Play
  • Superior Graphics and Sound
  • Solid Console-Exclusive Titles
  • Most Storage Space
  • IBM-Designed “Cell Processor”
  • Corded and Wireless Controller Options
  • Lots of “System Extras”
  • Access to the best Roleplaying Titles
  • Comfortable Controller
  • Most Expensive System
  • Limited Game Choices
  • Not Good for the Casual Gamer

7 thoughts on “Video Games 101

  1. Just one thing you forgot to mention that might be important to mention:

    Microsoft charges a monthly fee for X-Box Live membership, whereas the Playstation Network is free to use for the gamer.

    Of course, than this also gets into the merits of both of these ways of playing online… so :\

  2. I feel that some of your points weren’t very good. You listed the Xbox 360 as “durable” when it has byfar the most breakdowns. RROD singlehandedly is enough to not make it durable, and it forced Microsoft to have a 2 year warranty so people would be less worried about it.

    One of the pros of having a Wii was that it could stream Netflix, but it was the last of the 3 to have the ability. Also, with a few modifications, a Wii is able to play DVDs – for some reason Nintendo decided to withhold the functionality even though it was within the system. A lot of people often cite the Wii for having few hardcore games, but that is far from the truth. Most hardcore Wii games just don’t sell too well and completely overshadowed by their better selling, lower quality casual counterparts.

    Off the top of my head, I can name many Wii hardcore games – Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, Twilight Princess, Metroid Prime, No More Heroes, Mad World, Red Steel 2, Sin & Punishment, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Brawl, Punch Out, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Monster Hunter Tri and so on. If you saw the E3 Nintendo conference, there is also going to be many more hardcore additions in the near future with titles such as Skyward Sword, Kirby, Epic Mickey, Donkey Kong, Golden Eye ….

    The PS3 was listed as having limited game choices, but it in fact has the most variety. Unlike the Xbox 360 which is primarily shooter-oriented, the PS3 has Littlebigplanet, Demon’s Souls, Uncharted 2, God of War, Heavy Rain, Ratchet & Clank, Bayonetta, and many other varieties of games.

    • Thank you for the comment. I try not to be biased in my posts, but I can see where you’re coming from.

      I do still maintain that the Wii has the least amount of games for the hardcore gamer, and even a lot of the titles you mentioned just don’t do it for a good number of gamers.

      The Xbox360 also has Bayonetta, just as an aside there.

      The PS3 also tends to have limited games in the sense of console specific titles, which is really what I meant. I’ve tended to see a much wider variety in games for the 360 than the PS3.

      The Red Ring of Death of which you speak is also no longer an issue with the 360. The warranties were actually extended to three years for the first production lines, but with the new Slim versions, those bugs have been worked out. Even considering your system could RRoD, with proper care and a good amount of ventilation space, I find the system to be very durable.

      Also, the fact that the Wii was the last of the three to have the ability to stream Netflix doesn’t make it any less of a pro right here and now. And modifying the system to be able to play DVDs isn’t something a lot of people want to mess with, especially considering that most purchasers of the Nintendo Wii are those “causal” gamers who probably don’t want to crack open a $199 system just to play a $20 DVD.

      Thank you for your input, and I hope my counterpoints don’t offend you.

  3. I think the Wii is the best gaming system. I’m not a big gamer and I like that you can “get in to the game” a little more, if you will.

    That said, I’ve featured a great Wii game on my blog if you’re interested. As I said, I’m not a big gamer at all, but if you enjoy having fun, you will love this game. It’s great for kids and adults of all ages!

  4. thank you bob! thankyouthankyouthankyou! Nintendo has plenty of hard core games but i have a few disagreements with you. i think Twilight Princess itself has excellent graphics.
    but how in the world can you think Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2, Twilight Princess, New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Brawl, Monster Hunter Tri are overshadowed by the other more casual games?! the just said games, in my opinion are Nintendo’s treasure trove.
    Also I think the upcoming games Skyward Sword, Kirbys epic yarn , The conduit 2 and Golden Eye will be absolutely spectactular!

  5. I, uh, well, I don’t comment on your blog much, but you kind of struck a nerve there about Wii not having hardcore gamers’ games.

    Well, considering that I got my Wii FOR hardcore Nintendo gaming and its AMAZING backward compatibility which all Hardcore Nintendo gamers absolutely love, (Japanese Fire Emblem 1 for NES? On my Wii for cheap? Yes, please!) it’s pretty unfair to say that it’s got a very few games for “hardcore gamers.” I’m disgusted with XBox 360 and PS3’s games, but I do love me my 20-years-old games on my Nintendo Wii. It’s not that the Wii has no game for hardcore gamers, it’s that the Wii has no games for American gamers that consider themselves hardcore.

    Sure, it might not have some fancy shooters, but all 3 original Castlevania? 4 Donkey Kong games? Double Dragon? Final Fantasy I/II? The Legend of Zelda? Rockman 1 – 4? (which I just can’t afford in cartridge) Metroid, Zelda II, Super Mario Brothers 1 – 4? The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time AND Majora’s Mask? Pokémon Puzzle League? Smash Brothers? Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars? Secrets of Mana? The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past? Phantasy Star (!) excite you? It sure does excite me. It has 1 – 4 Phantasy Star titles. 3 Sonic the Hedgehog, Street Fighter , and a host of (!) Metal Slug games! If not, how about all 3 Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games? Last but not least, my favorite, Shin Megami Tensei is now available in Japan for purchase.

    This is certainly a hardcore gaming console. It might not be an American hardcore, but it’s hardcore nonetheless for all of us shut-in Nintendo gamers.

    • I think you took the post in a different way than I intended it, Straw. I didn’t deal with backwards compatibility at all for any of the systems. When I speak of the games for each system, I’m talking about games produced for the system itself, not games that have been revamped to work on the system. While the Wii might have a lot of options in backwards compatibility and thus some really awesome titles to play on it, those titles are just as readily played on their original systems.

      If I want to play Ocarina of Time, I play on my N64. But that’s just me. And as for Ace Attorney, those are DS titles as far as I’m aware, and I play them on the DS. I have nothing against the Nintendo DS, and in fact, it’s one of my favorite systems of all time.

      I apologize for striking a nerve with you, but I honestly think we’re on a bit of a different wavelength in what I was saying. I seem to be catching a lot of flac for this post. :/

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