A Disappointing 7th Generation

Wii Logo Half
Xbox 360 Logo Half PS3 Logo Half

It’s too early to call an end to the current generation of consoles, but after 3½ years I think it’s safe to give a run down on how things have gone. Wrong, that is. Sure, the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii all came in with a bang but I feel as if we’re hanging on to thin air here.

The Xbox 360 came ushered in the current generation at a bit of high of a price (only to be put squarely into the middle ground by the even-more-expensive PS3). All seemed well and good until our consoles fried on us. The lock-in is absurd, and really hurts when you realize the Xbox 360’s hard drive is nothing more than a 2.5″ laptop SATA hard drive in a fancy package and non-standard connector, that your DVD drive has been locked with a special circuit board that will only work with that specific model of DVD drive, that the Microsoft Live Vision camera is a standard PC web cam that’ll work in Linux, and that Microsoft is still charging nearly $100 for its Xbox 360 wireless USB adapter only because no other wireless adapter will work with it.

The PS3 would be eating Microsoft’s lunch if wasn’t for the fact Sony consistently prices the PS3 $100 – $200 more than the 360 despite not having enough good exclusives to entice those burned by the House That Gates Built. For whatever reason, Sony forgot that we buy game consoles to play games and insists on making the PS3 so much more than it needs to me. Sure, we get user-replaceable hard drives, standard flash memory drives, standard PC peripherals, and even an invitation to install our own OS. But was all of that, and Blu-Ray, worth the price tag? If you’re looking for some entertainment centerpiece, yes. If you just want to play games because you have a computer that can do what the PS3 offers to do, and better, than no.

Then there’s the Wii — the console that looked to be for everyone. It didn’t care to be anything other than a game console, aside from a web browser and a picture browser. The motion-based controller seemed to be a good replacement to the relatively massive amount of buttons that adorn the controllers of main-stream consoles. Unfortunately, to Wii lineup became so polluted with crap it turned out to be a console for everyone except gamers.

Never before have I felt such a slap in the face as I do with these consoles. Microsoft and Sony seemed to be too distracted in taking over the living room. And the one company that isn’t obsessed with my living room is too busy trying to expand gaming so that even retards can play. I know that sounds elitist, but seriously it’s like telling someone who plays Rock Band or Guitar Hero on Expert to only play it on Easy from now on. Easy is there to introduce players to the game and take it lightly with the people who will never have the ability to play the game. The people that get the hang of it can challenge themselves to do better by offering harder difficulties. With Rock Band 2, each band member can play to their own abilities and have fun. But Nintendo et al insist on dragging everyone into Easy instead. I’m sorry, but Zelda, Okami, No More Heroes, and the two games Sega just released just can’t stand up to the plethora of crap that has come to litter the system’s library.

We’re at a point now where technology is no longer a concern. Developers can do pretty much whatever they want with the hardware they have at hand. So why is it that we have a drop in quality gaming with the canvas as big and empty as it ever was?