Arbuckle (Gamertag: ArbuckleIan)
: We’ve had a while now to digest the offerings of our
console manufacturing friends, a year extra in the case of the Xbox 360, and
have, hopefully, started to get comfortable. The honeymoon is over, the 360 has
gone back to its parents’ house three or four times for repairs, the sex is
becoming infrequent. So, Bit Players, what are the respective States of the
Consoles, as they stand, now?

I can’t
comment much on the PlayStation 3, since my experience there is limited, but I
do have words for both the 360 and Nintendo’s Wii. The software library for the
360 has, for my limited gaming budget, reached a critical mass. For a short
time after the console was released, I was able to keep up with all the games I
wanted; alas, no more. (The Wii currently occupies that space.)

I’m one
of those who hasn’t actually had to ship in his 360 for repairs, which baffles
me. I’ve owned one since launch, and have yet to experience anything worse than
the occasional disc read error.

are my generalities. Shall we get specific?

Riviello (Gamertag: Creature Corner)
Sure, if you’d

hooked on the 360. New to it, still exploring what it has to offer, and you’re
right, there’s a lot of damn stuff out there that’s worth getting… especially
for someone catching up on all of the sleeper hits on the console (like, ahem, Prey.)
It’s the best system out there, and you know how I know that? I got in an
argument with my girlfriend over the damn thing, because I was neglecting her the
first few days I owned it. Any system that can make me pass up sex is a
friggin’ powerhouse.

Wii’s been a little dusty ever since I got burned on Sonic. Wii Sports had my
friends playing for months and months, but I guess the fun wore out after a
while. Paper Mario will bring it back once I finish all the games I
started on my 360, and I’m sure Mario Party will bring my friends back
over my house this summer to drink and cause a ruckus. The future looks great
for the system though, with all of the big N’s games looking fantastic… it’s
just a shame they’re not coming out sooner.

The PS3
is still a joke. A cousin of mine owns it and only has
Resistance, which
is smart because it’s the only game worth getting if you pick up that
overpriced machine. Admit it, PS3 owners- you all use it for the Blu-Ray more
than a gaming system, right? There still is not one good reason to own it over
a 360 (
Resistance ain’t even all that), especially since it seems like
more and more exclusives are ending up on our favorite box. That might all
change when Sony’s whole Home thing hits, but we shall see…

Miller (Gamertag: Barnaby Fist)
If I didn’t already own a 360, then the PS3 wouldn’t be
so much a joke. It’s essentially the same thing except it doesn’t play Gears
of War
or Halo. You can split hairs over online services and
first-party titles, but these two consoles are, for all intents and purposes,
the same damn machine. For all of Sony’s hubris and launch issues, they’ve
still got a solid piece of hardware (whereas the 360 can just be a piece
sometimes) with a roster of huge upcoming titles that reads virtually identical
to the 360. I happen to prefer the exclusives on the Xbox for now, so I’ll give
a shrug in Microsoft’s favor.

there’s the Wii. I’m still waiting for a good reason to buy one. And until my
interest in their full retail titles outstrips my interest in their Virtual
Console, I’m happy being an observer. If I want simple, fun Nintendoey
entertainment, I’ll pick up my DS Lite. It encompasses that no-fuss gaming
philosophy better than the Wii, and doesn’t command as much of a cash tribute.

over all three, I’d say the PS2 is still the best console out there. The new
kids have made a good effort (genuinely impressing from time to time), and they
get an “attaboy” for all their flailing around, but the fact that a quaint,
brittle old machine from the turn of the century still gets the goods with
titles like
Okami, Guitar Hero 2, and God of War 2 means
that these new consoles (while they have their moments) are still not entirely
essential to relieving a ripe case of gamers itch. As of now, all three
consoles get a barely passing grade with a stern lecture about realizing their

Cummings (Gamertag: Jacob Singer 45)
I have to agree that none of the "next-gen"
consoles can hold a candle to the legacy of of the PS2 (as of this writing),
but as far as current consoles go I have to say that I’m most excited by the
360’s lineup. I don’t see any "killer app" on the PS3’s horizon at all,
and the Wii simply does nothing for me. I think the 360 is building a solid
library that I just don’t see the PS3 rivaling anytime soon.

As far
as portables go, I
like my PSP, but I honestly can’t say I love it.
The recently announced camera hardware add-on sounds great, and there have been
some good titles these past few months (and the announcement for
God of War:
Chains of Olympus
certainly has me salivating), but I never find
myself thinking "Boy, I can’t wait to get home and fire up my PSP!".
I’ve never even touched a DS (blasphemy, I know!), so no opinion there.

Jlcquest; CB Handle: Pink Lady)

day one, I’ve thought the Wii had something unique to offer, and it has. I’ve
never such an interactive experience on a gaming console. That isn’t to say
that the Wii is problem-free. Third-party games have been way below
expectations. Third-party companies have just not gotten the Wii-controls down
or just don’t care. And one AAA title per quarter? Fuck you. On the other hand,
Nintendo is winning with clearly an inferior console in terms of mechanics and
power, so they are doing something right.

As for
the 360, I’ve spit out more than my share of words criticizing Microsoft’s game
machine with a range of insults from mild (unreliable) to the unduly harsh
(George W. Bush).

I have
to admit though, when the machine is working, it’s a perfect compliment to the
Wii. As Ian mentioned above, the library grows by the second and as Microsoft
chips away at Sony’s exclusive titles, especially ones I care about (suck a
dick Devil May Cry), the more satisfied I become with my 360 purchase.

I was
one of those who scoffed at the Wii60 notions last June, but honestly, its been
the best of both worlds for me. Oh and everyone knows that the 360 is the tops
when it comes to online.

experience with PS3 is limited to in-store displays and friends who actually
bought the thing. Now that the glitches have been worked out, I’d say that PS3
is the “best” system. If Sony can come up with in decent online content and
navigation or and some exclusive titles, then it would be the ultimate.
Unfortunately, Sony has shot itself in the foot so many times all that remains
is a bloody stump.

PS3 has
been a PR nightmare from “people should get a second job” to dead goats. If I
saw a Dateline ad with PS3 sitting in a kitchen saying “oh wait, I just was
coming over to play some games. You’ve got me all wrong. Can I get a drink
before I go,” I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

that’s the tragedy of PS3. Sony has the best system and it can’t catch a break.

Brian Condry
(Gamertag: Medium Dave)
By hook and/or by crook, I have all 3 systems. And a DS.
And the 360 is pretty much the only one currently happy in my house. I
haven’t turned on the Wii in about a month and half, after I bought, got
thoroughly pissed off at, then sold SSX Blur. I still like it, and
like the potential, but there has been nothing out that has really interested
me, like $50 interested me. Mini games should have mini prices and ports
should, I don’t know, they pay us for goddamn PSP ports to the Wii.

The PS3…I’ve had
this for less than a month. It’s a big, black beast (I think I saw that
on a website one time) that plays my PS2 games. And Resistance,
which is so much better than Prey, there should be laws against
it. Alex, you’re dead to me, now. Kurt’s pretty much right: it’s a
360 for those who don’t have one and don’t won’t the awesomer games. Or
consumer sluts like myself. In about a year, I figure we’ll be able to
differentiate the two, but for now…well, I can cure cancer on my PS3.
That’s gotta stand for something.

And then the
360. Over a year and 2 system repairs later and it’s my most played
system and looks to be carrying my most anticipated games. Yeah, Microsoft
does shit that pisses me off almost every week ("Hey, Epic. Want to
release your maps for free? Fuck yourself!") but at least there is
downloadable content and demos and
MASS EFFECT! and the Halo 3 Beta…and,
well, I like it. For the most part.

We’re all pretty
positive about the 360, and somewhat less so about the PS3, so let me pose this
question to you vagabonds: Are our preferences skewed due in large part to the
360’s year-long head start? Can parallels be drawn between where the PS3 is now
and where the 360 was after the same amount of time in its life? The
fundamentally different thing I sense is Microsoft’s emphasis on community
(even if some of it is just lip-service,) and that could certainly be coming to
an end with the advent of Home, which aims to foster a more direct community
than Live ever has.

to throw in a little handheld love, I’m very pleased with the state of both of
the major players. My PSP gets a lot of play time; I still love Lumines,
Exit, Marvel Trading Card Game, and, bizarrely, Online
Chess Kingdoms
. I also prefer Puzzle Quest on Sony’s
handheld; but both the PSP and the DS are on the receiving end of boatloads of
good software, which is definitely a good state for them to be in. Hardware
revisions, software revisions, promises unfulfilled — all that crap kinda fades
away when the libraries start to grow so expansive.

I actually just
picked up a PSP after not giving a shit about the system since it was made-
figured it’d be a good way to watch movies on the subway. Have to say I’m happy
with the games on it though… Puzzle Quest truly is an addictive,
deceptive bitch (one which I’m sure most of you will get hooked on when it hits
Xbox Live Arcade), the GTAs are of course great (and beat inferior
ripoffs like Saints Row to death with a baseball bat), and Infected gets
major points for me, especially for the pretty damn great soundtrack. I’ve also
got a copy of LocoRoco still sealed and waiting to be played, and am
delving into the whole homebrew community. Ebooks and emulators on my PSP? Yes

I’m pretty pleased with the thing, although
the DS still completely destroys it in terms of games. Even recently where it’s
slowed down a bit with their releases there have been a bunch of good games
worth playing, especially if you’re an adventure fan like me (Phoenix Wright
and Hotel Room Dusk? Oh hells yeah.) As far as the future, the DS still
beats the PSP, which only seems to have ports of older games coming out. Sure,
I’d like to check out the new versions of Final Fantasies 1 and 2
and Castlevania, but I’d much rather play an original game. I’m
continually surprised with the little innovations people manage to wring out of
the little duel screened monster, and can’t wait to see what else they do with

Ian, in
regards to your question about the head start, well, it’s only fair to compare
the deal between the systems right now. Sure, maybe sometime a few years from
now the PS3 will seem worth it, and a good challenger to the 360, but right now
it ain’t. Home seems interesting but most of my friends already have or are
getting 360s and the community is fucking thriving. The system’s time really is

The year-long
head start is absolutely why the 360 is getting my preference. The games are
there and the Live service is proven. As someone who would only benefit from
the PS3’s exclusives, there’s still no reason to jump in. It’ll probably be
another two years before a PS3 finds its way into my house.

As for
the handhelds, the PSP finally has a good library, but I still prefer my DS
Lite. Simple human laziness is to blame. The DS is ready to go at any time.
I’ve got two games loaded (
Metroid Prime Pinball and Pinball of the
right now), and all I have to do is turn it on. By the time my PSP
games are ready to go, it’s usually time to flush. I’ve got a special case so
the PSP doesn’t get scratched, it often needs to hang out near a place where it
can recharge, and the load times for a lot of the games don’t jive with the
whole pick-up-and-play nature of portable gaming. The DS Lite’s long battery
life, clamshell design, and extra port for GBA games make it more convenient.

Certainly the
360’s head-start is working in its favor, and, like Kurt, I don’t see myself
purchasing a PS3 anytime in the near (or not-so-near) future. Of course, one or
two must-have exclusives could change my mind, but I’m not seeing anything that
tingles my Spidey-sense. Then again, this late-winter/early-spring 360 game
drought isn’t helping the 360 much either. At least there have been some decent
weekly additions to the Live! Arcade, pretty much on a weekly basis.

Jon: As for the handhelds, prior to
its launch the DS was a symbol of Nintendo’s inability to change with the
times, while the PSP was heralded as the future of handheld gaming. But then
the systems were released. The PSP came out with couple of fun puzzlers, which
was followed by a steady stream of shit. Meanwhile, the DS slowly build a
titanium library of games and made itself not only the king on the handheld
consoles but king of the gaming world.

bought each one at launch, (what can I say I hate having disposable income) but
after a few months my PSP was packed away and my DS was showing signs of wear
and tear.

In the
past 6 months, I’ve come back to the PSP. While its always been a quality
multi-media machine, it’s now beginning to show signs of life as a gaming
machine. With the latest God of War entry and the potential for of
downloadable games PSP may eventually give DS a run for its money. But for the
moment, Nintendo is still the standard.

But the
real story of handhelds systems is that they out sell consoles. DS is the
industry leader in sales and the PSP outsells the Wii (I think). For the Big 3
the question isn’t if there is a future in portable gaming, but just how big
will it be?

Brian: I have a DS, but I still will
always feel weird about paying more than 20 bucks for a game for it. I know, I know, some of those games are
really long and are actual games in their own right, not just handheld
shovelware bullshit. But still…I only
really play in the bathroom or watching something boring on TV and it never
really seems worth it. Sorry, I’m

Anyway. While the PSP is far prettier (although the
Lites are pretty spiffy) and can do cool shit like play video and mp3s and porn
and emulators, most of the games I’ve played suck. Putting games that REQUIRE two analogue
sticks onto the PSP is, to put it nicely, fucking retarded. I almost broke the damn thing and it wasn’t
even mine. But there some good games on
it that aren’t smash worthy and there are some solid titles on the
horizon. So, you know, just as soon as
it doesn’t cost as much as it does and just as soon as the new rumored version
comes out, yeah, I’ll get one.

I’ve got to give it to the DS. I’m
catching up on the ol’ GBA games I missed (I love you, Final Fantasy VI Advance! [and to get even further from the point,
why have you forsaken Chrono Trigger,
Square? It’s far, far, FAR better than Final Fantasy VII, you whores]) and
digging the crazy shit like Elite Beat
and Phoenix Wright. There are way more games I want on it than on
the PSP and even more in the World of Tomorrow and that gets the little grey
bastard a win from me. Plus, I can yell
“Objection!” at it, and it will actually do something. Bonus.

while I will still vehemently lambast the 360 for coming out TOO early and not
being very awesome until GRAW and Oblivion came out, 3 to 4 months LATER, I’ll
agree that its earliness is what makes it more attractive. The games are looking better and better and
the library just keeps getting bigger and bigger than the PS3’s and Wii’s. Also, Halo 3.
That’s all 360 commercials need to be.
A guy in a suit, staring you in the eyeballs. After 20 seconds, he clears his throat, says,
“Halo 3, 2007, Xbox 360,” then walks off.
Consoles: sold by truckload. It’s
the 800 trillion pound gorilla running straight at Sony and Nintendo.