Friday, 25 June 2010

Console Wars

Brad: Fuck.
Rob: What's up?
Brad: I think my Xbox got the Green Light of Senility.
Rob: Ah, balls. Did it start trying to look up stuff on Teletext for you? That's usually a sign of senility.
Brad: I try and get it to play a disc and it'll either ignore me, and stare into the middle distance - or it'll run for about fifteen minutes, lose all sound, and then lock-up five minutes later. It's adding more than a little realism to the Terry Funk career mode on Legends of Wrestling II, granted.
Rob: What are you going to do then?
Brad: Upgrade, I guess. The missus is making noises about a Wii.
Rob: Oh. Right.
Brad: I'm more drawn towards a Neo Geo Pocket. Or one of them Barcode Somethings.
Rob: I've never understood your phobia of contemporary consoles.
Brad: I never understood your phobia of frogs.
Rob: Yeah. Thanks for that article, by the way.
Brad: I don't have a "phobia", anyway. I bought a PS2 a while back.
Rob: How long ago?
Brad: Well...you were working in Game when I bought it...help me out here.
Rob: You've possibly not bought a console since 2006?
Brad: I want to say 2007.
Rob: 2007 would be the full year that I worked there. It was November 2006 to February 2008.
Brad: It was with my annual bonus, which I get in August...so yes - 2007. Still works, though. I picked up a game for it at a boot fair the other day.
Rob: Man, your annual bonus is just enough to buy a PS2?
Brad: In 2007, yeah.
Rob: I take back what I've said in the past man, you're underpaid.
Brad: I say "underpaid", the company says "underefforted".
Rob: Potato, Potato...
Brad: That doesn't really work written down.
Rob: Po-tay-toh, Po-Tah-toh, I guess.
Brad: How many consoles have you bought since 2007 then?
Rob: Uh...technically three, if you count my brief ownership of a PSP. Soon to be four, hopefully.
Brad: Oh, wait! I bought a BlackBerry. That counts, right? It comes with Sudoku, and Word Mole. It's not as good as Punctuation Badger, but there you go...
Rob: Or Simile Vole.
Brad: We have to stop there. If you mention a British wild animal in a punchline three times, Bill Bailey can sue you.
Rob: Fine, let's weasel out of it.
Brad: I might just buy another Xbox. They still make them, right?
Rob: Uh, dude...No. Xbox has been discontinued, you can only get them from pikey shops like CeX now.
Brad: You can get them at Sex Shops?
Rob: C-E-X.
Brad: That's not how you spell sex.
Rob: I know!
Brad: Hunh. So what would you recommend I do, to cex up my console collection a little?
Rob: I dunno man, how about I show you a couple of exclusives to each console, and let you make your mind up?
Brad: Why not? After all...we have a gap where Friday's article should be.
Rob: ...
Brad: We need to get that hole in the wall fixed.
Rob: Which wall?
Brad: The fourth one.
Rob: Anyway, which one do you want to start with?
Brad: Um...which one is which?
Rob: Well, which did you play more, PS2 or Xbox?
Brad: PS2. I think.
Rob: You think? Hunh, that's a surprise to me.
Brad: More frequently, I mean. I owned the Xbox for longer, so in terms of hours logged that...averaged out...probably the PS2, yeah.
Rob: Shall we start with PS3 then? Or shall we go with the 360, the PS2 of this generation?
Brad: What makes it the PS2 of this generation?
Rob: The volume of games, I find. In terms of depth of software, I think the 360 has more available in general
Brad: Okay...so what's its USP?
Rob: Do you mean in terms of games or features?
Brad: You're the salesman. You tell me.
Rob: In terms of features, the main difference between the two now is that on the new 360, the wireless is better, and the online service is better. On PS3 the online is free, but you get what you pay for. Plus it's a Blu-ray player. The 360 upscales DVDs on a compatible TV, but only streamed video content is output in 1080p. Everything else is 720p I think.
Brad: Ah, Woman's HD.
Rob: Is that a magazine?
Brad: I hope so. If not, it should be. So, the Xbox is more aimed at online gaming, the PS3 is more for hermits.
Rob: Definitely, if the reactions to motion control are anything to go by. Xbox 360 has one device that reads multiple players, and everyone's saying it's going to be overpriced compared to Sony's single player setup. Well d'uh! It's like complaining that a PA costs more than a guitar.
Brad: So, if you're socially active and into energetic things, you want a 360 - if you hate people and moving more than necessary, you're a Sony kid, right?
Rob: Yeah, I'd say that's a pretty sensible logic.
Brad: I'll have one of them PS3s.
Rob: Really? I thought you were more of a social gamer.
Brad: Hmmm...for gaming, I guess you're right. It's not a lot of fun playing Battleships on your own. So what's the game you're gonna recommend?
Rob: Well, what's your favourite Xbox game?
Brad: Um...
Rob: J00 li3k t3h h4l0z?
Brad: I'll give you the ones I probably logged the most hours on: Lord of the Rings: The Third Age, Max Payne and Enter The Matrix.
Rob: Okay. So if you like Max Payne, it'd be a good bet to show you their latest project right?
Brad: Go for it.



Rob: Meet Alan Wake.
Brad: A psychological action thriller, huh? How does that work?
Rob: Well, it works like an action thriller, but with psychological elements.
Brad: That's the second least helpful thing you could have said.
Rob: Think Hard to Kill mixed with Frasier.
Brad: That's...the first...Ooooh! I just remembered! I played a fuckton of Morrowind as well!
Rob: Well, Oblivion is out on both consoles.
Brad: I have a thing for RPGs that sound like archaic names for indegestion. I kid you not. I own a boardgame called Runebound that always makes me think of constipation.
Rob: That does work, actually. Scary. Anyway, so Alan Wake then.
Brad: What about him? Isa it a bit like Max Payne, then?
Rob: Similar, yeah. The story goes thusly: Alan Wake is a famous writer who, experiencing writer's block, goes to a rural town with his wife. Things start to take a sinister turn when he finds pages from a manuscript he doesn't remember writing, and his wife disappears...
Brad: That does actually sound pretty cool. How does the game itself play? Like...Tekken?
Rob: It's a little like Max Payne, but there's smatterings of Silent Hill in there. You weaken enemies by shining torch light on them, then shooting them once their health is low enough. Then you start getting chased by the FBI, and light becomes your enemy. That level in particular is awesome.
Brad: I would rent that movie. Or buy that audiobook.
Rob: Watching me play Alan Wake? Listening to me...play Alan Wake?
Brad: You kid but there's a market there: "YES! You can hear the actual sounds of E14's Robert Wade grunting his way though Baldur's Gate II!"
Rob: I never played that game, have you been doctoring audio again?
Brad: So...the Xbox is mostly for people who like group gaming, and this Alan Wake thing, which uses motion controls to help you shine a light on monsters with a guitar?
Rob: There's no motion controls on that game.
Brad: Wasted opportunity, there.
Rob: It's not really been talked about whether there's likely to be any stuff like that in new games. They're suggesting that maybe first-person shooters may in future allow you to throw grenades with a gesture.
Brad: Okay...so what does the PS3 have to rival Mr Wake?
Rob: Right, for PS3...



Rob: Heavy Rain.
Brad: Ah. The hoover thing. Blake has nothing but good things to say about this. Of course, Blake has nothing but good things to say about most of that hardcore punk he listens to. And that all sounds likes a war correspondent spitting gravel down a drainpipe.
Rob: Despite that, this game is really good.
Brad: Okay...what's it about. Does it involve hoovers?
Rob: Nope.
Brad: Damn.
Rob: In a city on the US east coast, sons are mysteriously going missing, only to be found five days later, drowned in rain water, with an origami figure on their chests...The public is gripped by fear and paranoia. The authorities seem no closer to a credible suspect. And now another son has disappeared - Shaun Mars.
Brad: Can I ask a question?
Rob: Yeah.
Brad: Where do the writers get these dumb names from? Does anyone in video game land have a real name?
Rob: How do you mean?
Brad: Shaun Mars..Alan Wake...Max Payne...I don't think real people have those names.
Rob: I've never met an Alan Wake, true. Let me think about this.
Brad: The most realistic name in video game land appears to belong to the blue hedgehog. The rest all sound like the sort of names Dolph Lundgren or Rutger Hauer would have in a bad straight-to-rental movie.
Rob: Rico Rodriguez in Just Cause?
Brad: "Rico Rodriguez", really? Why not just call him "Mexican Stereotype"?
Rob: Or there's Soap MacTavish from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.
Brad: I've never met anyone called Soap, but I hope to someday. Okay...so I've got these super duper consoles to play with my friends with, harnessing motion based peripherals...and the best games available for each are grim and dark thrillers for one player, and with no motion controls.
Rob: Uh...yeah.
Brad: I really don't think the video game industry can decide on who its customers are.
Rob: It's pretty true in general, to be honest. I find that though the motion controls aren't really aimed at gamers like me, I want them just because the technology's impressive.
Brad: So, what are the best multi-player, social gaming stuff you can offer me?
Rob: Both consoles have got Rock Band, Guitar Hero, their own singing games etc. Xbox 360 has Scene It, PS3 has Buzz. 360 has a series of motion control games on the way. PS3 hasn't really announced any party stuff for The Move, as it's called.
Brad: Okay. Can, I show you something in return?
Rob: Am I going to need therapy?
Brad: I've got a game that's grim, dark, narrative heavy, has innovative controls and is multiplayer.


Rob: That would make a great game on Xbox Live Arcade.
Brad: It would save me having to clear off my table each fortnight, that's for sure.
Rob: They've released Carcassonne, Settlers of Catan and Magic: The Gathering.
Brad: Ah, Carc. "You drew a tile! Awesome! Put it anywhere! It's all the same! Ha! There is no God!"
Rob: I'm trying to think of other board games that have made it to Arcade. They're doing Yu-Gi-Oh! Oh, they did Ticket to Ride, but I never played that.
Brad: They should do like a Matrix-style virtual reality for Arkham Horror.
Rob: That would rock.
Brad: So...what we're saying is that best next gen console out there at the moment is a hypophetical one which has a hypothetical version of a board game on it?
Rob: I...Well...If...
Brad: 'Cause...you know..I already have a dining table. And Arkham Horror.
Rob: All right, so you've got Arkham horror...I bet I can show you something that will make you want a console.
Brad: If it's Dark Corners of the Earth, I already have it.



Brad: Hunh. Yeah, I have to admit...I had the tradeable minatures game for the original, and that really didn't cut it.

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