PS3 vs Wii

God help me, I’m turning into Sharikou! But Razib links to a YouTube video that makes the comparison between the PS3 and the Wii in a visual manner that is not exactly suited to this kawaii-safe blog of mine. Best line: “I’m cheap and fun!” Oh yes, indeed.

the tragedy of choice

It turns out that Playstation 3 console supply problems started easing before Christmas, enough that pretty much anyone that really wanted one could have gotten one without much pain. Now that you can actually find one, though, should you actually buy one? The thing still represents a sizable investment, yet offers little immediate return, especially for family game play.

Oddly, there are reports from industry analysts that suggest that the console drought will stretch well into next year, but that doesn’t agree with the experiences of gamers on the ground. For example, in comments to this piece on the drought, someone comments, “I walked into a gamestop at a local mall and they had a bunch of PS3’s just sitting there.”

I’ll test the waters on Dec 31st, which is the next date that says that local retailers will have Wii consoles. But given that the Wii is cheaper, significantly more fun and family friendly, and truly innovative, I think that it’s more likely that any console drought will be limited to Wii and PS3’s will be plentiful after New Year’s.

UPDATE: PS3 officially a dud?

As soon as people realized that you couldn’t make a profit with PS3s on eBay, they started returning them to the retail stores. It wasn’t rare to walk into a Circuit City or Best Buy the week before Christmas and find 3 or 4 returned Playstation 3s.

In fact, when GamingMoments returned its PS3 to Circuit City after failing to sell it on eBay, the employees told us that more and more people were starting to do this, confirming a trend.

However, even with a surge of Wii supply on December 17th, Nintendo Wii continues to be totally unavailable. No returns at the stores. You can’t get one on eBay for less than $450, almost 2x retail.

I’ve got nothing against the PS3 – you won’t see me go all Sharikou on you and proclaim “SONY BK in 3 Quarters” or anything. It’s just frustrating to some extent that the high-end, Bluray-equipped, godlike trancendent machine is sitting on shelves, while what amounts to nothing more than a souped up Gamecube with a cool controller is impossible to find.

Speaking of sharikou, even he’s on board the Wii wagon. As are the linux geeks.

Word to the (un)Wiise

A victim of its own success, indeed: Nintendo has some advice:

Do not let go of the remote during game play. For example, in a game like Wii Sports bowling, the ball is thrown by simply releasing the B button on the remote, not by letting go of the remote! Hold the remote securely and avoid excessive motion during game play. If your hands become moist, stop and dry your hands. Excessive motion may cause you to let go of the remote and may break the wrist strap.

I fully expect Wiimote tossing to replace the discuss at the next Olympic games. In related news, WalMart had Wiis for about ten seconds this morning. I didn’t even try.


[In] Wii Sports bowling, the ball is thrown by simply releasing the B Button on the remote, not by letting go of the remote!”


Wii indeed

Ars Technica has an extensive review of the Nintendo Wii. According to Wiiseeker, various Wal-Mart and Target stores get a new shipment on Sunday (I am sure Toys R Us is getting shipments too, but buyer beware).

For that matter, player beware. Notice to couch potato gamers: the Nintendo Wii involves using muscles in your body other than your thumbs. This may result in unfamiliar strain. Fear not – there are safety instructions.

Wii not

The evidence mounts.

The Wii is a new era for gaming. Really. That’s not a dramatic, hype-driven statement. I think developers will indeed make horrible games for this system, and I can see how a developer could get the controls all wrong and make a bad experience for the player, but when it is done right, it is SO right. I have had a living room full of video games and systems for my entire adult life, and nothing has ever done what the Wii has done – fill a living room with laughing kids and adults who are all sitting around having a great time playing and watching the experience that this tiny, unassuming little white box has created for us. Every single person who has come through my door in the last three days wants to go out and buy a Wii now. Nintendo has made gaming really fun again.

I need to get one of these.

I need to buy a Wii

As a family-centric console, it is clear that the Nintendo Wii– unlike the Ps3 or Xbox 360 – is living up to expectations. This is the system I need to buy for my daughter. I didn’t even try yesterday but I assume that more shipments are forthcoming soon enough.

Intuitive, physical control. As opposed to buttons galore. As soon as I heard of the Wii I knew that this was going to change the rules. Complaints from some quarters about the console’s horsepower are just missing the point.

Sigh. Digging up $250 is going to be a challenge. But I see this as a teaching and learning tool, not just a game console. Combining physical motion with hand eye coordination with fast thinking with reaction times… it’s like the holy grail of child brain stimulation.

Judge Zaphod

If anyone else has been playing Final Fantasy XII for several hours, you might have noticed that the voice of Judge Ghis is unmistakably done by Mark Wing-Davey–otherwise known as Zaphod Beeblebrox. Given the “bad guys” all have English accents, I suppose it’s not too surprising that at least one of the cast from H2G2 should play a part (one wonders how many British voice actors there are these days).

If you don’t have the game and/or don’t plan on playing it, watch the trailer on the FFXII website. Turn up your volume. About 1:15 in, after you see the party in a cave, an older man says, “We’ve found it at last.” That’s him. Don’t watch beyond that if you don’t any spoilers (probably nothing major, but I like to experience all content as it comes).

Most of the time (so far) he’s in a full suit of armour, so his whimsical voice has an almost Darth Vader echo to it. Quite amusing, so it’s difficult for me to take his otherwise majestic and threatening character seriously. When he captures the heroes on the Dreadnought Leviathan, I half-expect him to quip, “I can’t help it if I’m lucky” or “zero out of one million points for style.”

In a month when everyone’s posted all the videos from this game on YouTube, someone should take all his scenes and insert clips from H2G2 in there.

Line Rider

Today’s time-waster is Line Rider, a simple little Flash-based toy that marries a colorblind Microsoft Paint with a physics engine. Its astoundingly simple: you draw a line, then hit “play” and a little man on a sled rides that line, his red scarf flapping behind him. I confess it didn’t take me too long before I was designing death traps designed to fling him about more than I was trying to actually keep him seated.