Ross' Console Round-Up Craptacular
Not-Quite-A-Review By: Ross

Every gamer the world over, myself included, is anxiously awaiting the bloody console war that begins on November 18 with the Gamecube's US release. This will be the first time in gaming history where there are three relatively equal consoles battling it out. I'd like to take some time before this all explodes and I have to review games (I personally am getting a Gamecube - reasons explained later) to look back on gaming years past. Do you remember the Atari Jaguar? Me neither... If you just want to hear what I think about all these 'NextGen' consoles coming out now, scroll to the bottom.

Note: If I got anything wrong, mail me and I'll fix it.

Another Note: I stole these images from all around the net, which is why they lack any kind of uniformity. If one's yours and you have a problem with me using it, just drop me a line and I'll fix it.




The Famicom




The Famicom, when released in 1983, totally blew away all other home consoles. It was a monstrous sucess in Japan due to the fact that it was original and had virtually no competition. Tons of games were released and Nintendo quickly signed as many contracts as it could with third-party developers, binding them to the Famicom.

The Mark III/Master System




Sega, who until now had been making arcade games, saw the success of the Famicom and decided to step into the ring. In 1984, the Sega Mark III was released to combat the Famicom. Technically, the M3 was more powerful than the Famicom, but no one cared because the game library sucked ass. Nintendo had all the developers bound to them, so Sega couldn't do much but release a few in-house games. As a result the M3 didn't do too well. The Master System was the Mark III renamed and Americanized. It was exceedingly popular in Europe, but was sodomized by Nintendo's superior marketing, games, and the fact that the MS came out in 1986 (a year later than the NES) in the US.



The NES




In 1985 the Famicom was released in America with slightly improved hardware and under the name "Nintendo Entertainment System". Once again, it was a big hit and sold really well. Nintendo still had the contracts and thus had an impressive collection of games. Once again, Nintendo had a head start in the video game market, and thus smacked down the MS.



The Mega Drive/Genesis




(The above is actually the Genesis with a Sega CD on it. I couldn't find a picture of just the Genesis.)
Nintendo reigned supreme for four years, besting systems such as the MS and various Atari-made consoles. In 1989 Sega released the Genesis in the US (Called the Mega Drive in Japan), and it was far superior to anything seen before. It bombed in Japan but sold well in America, and early on its main competitor was...



The Turbo Grafx-16




This console failed for a number of reasons. One was that the maufacturer (NEC) did a crapshit job of marketing it. The other was that it wasn't really all that much powerful than the NES, it just had more nifty features. As a result it was outperformed by the Genesis. The SNES was the coup de grace however, and brought this system to an end in 1993.



The SNES




The SNES was equal in power to the Genesis, and it's 1991 release sparked the bloodiest console war to date. As I said before, the SNES destroyed the TG16 and left nothing but itself and the Genesis to go at it for 5 years until the Sega Saturn was released. For the longest time, Sega and Nintendo were dead even. They both had great games, the same price, and equal sales figures. Then in 1993, Sega began to fall behind. They released several failed expansions to for the Genesis like the Sega CD and the 32x, but both were poorly supported and had really crappy games. Sega soon gave up on the Genesis and worked on the Sega Saturn.



The Jaguar




The Jaguar was an ill-fated system made by Atari in '93. Technically it was the first 64bit system, but it was poorly advertised and very hard to program for. Thus, death.



The Sega Saturn




Released in 1995 along with the Playstation, the Saturn was a 32bit system. It was primarily made for 2D games though, and the public wanted 3D games. Although it was possible to make 3D games on the Saturn, it was difficult and ultimately lost out to...



The Playstation




Sony was a relative newcomer to consoles, but they sure as hell knew how to do things right. The Playstation was easy to develop for and had very advanced graphics for the time. A ton of great games were also released for it too, and it was the only console that offered RPGs after the Saturn died.



The N64




The Nintendo 64 went on sale in 1996, and was much more powerful than the PSX. The problem with it was that it had a mismatch of technology. Despite being far superior to the PSX, it used the dated cartridge format instead of the newer CDs, making it incredibly hard to develop for. You also couldn't have a two part game with cartridges like you could with CDs, and as a result no 'true' RPGs were ever released. The system was also marketed to younger children, and not many people bought it. Although it didn't exactly suffer a crushing defeat, it lost to the PSX in the end.



Dreamcast, PS2, Xbox and Gamecube

(Or, "What I think of this Next Gen crap")


A new age is upon us. This Christmas, as well as years to come, three consoles will battle it out in what is fated to be the biggest gaming war in history. Three consoles - The PS2, Xbox, and Gamecube - will battle it out for supremecy. All three are backed by reliable companies with histories in gaming, and all systems have almost equal processing power. The Dreamcast might have been a competitor, but Sega aren't exactly corporate geniuses and it was discontinued. Now they're switching from hardware to software, and becoming a third-party developer.

Now the question on everyone's minds... Who will win? Well for sales figures, I'd venture to say the PS2 because it's been out for a whole year. But for everything else, it's a tossup. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. "WHAT ARE THEY?!", I hear you say. Well here you go:

PS2




Sony has been known for some good games. They also have Square on their side, which is a huge plus. They've been out for a year and have already established a user base as well. And it plays DVDs. However, the graphics and processor are already slightly outdated and can't exactly measure up to the Xbox and Gamecube in that department. They don't have any plans for HighDef support in their games, while it's already standard in the Gamecube and the Xbox plans on supporting it in the future. Also, most of the games that are out now are crap.

Gamecube




Nintendo is the console maker in almost everyone's eyes, and they've won every battle except with the N64. They still dominate the handheld market and this isn't likely to change, and since the Gamecube and the GBA will be heavily integrated that'll probably boost sales. The actual system is very small and is an almost perfect cube, thus is almost portable. The games are on high density mini-discs that are only about 3 inches wide, too. The innards are developed by IBM, and the graphics are done by ATi. If you're a computer gamer, you know who ATi is. Almost all the Gamecube games will support HDTV right out of the box, and as a result will look really good. The Gamecube is not a DVD player, and this works both for and against it. It's bad because it.. doesn't play DVDs. it's good because most people already have a DVD player anyway, and it makes it a full $100 cheaper than the Xbox and PS2. This is a good move on Nintendo's part in my opinion. There aren't too many things that Nintendo have screwed up with on this console, because they learned alot after the N64 fiasco. The main problems will be that Nintendo are known for childrens' games, and although they're working on changing that image it won't be easy. Also, many gamers haven't been around since the NES days, and so they remember Nintendo solely from the N64 (bad).

The Xbox




Microsoft is a newbie in the console market, but they're not new to... well, anything else computer related. This is the most powerful console of the three, but it's not as much as the specs would lead you to believe because they measure everything differently. For example - Microsoft says that the xbox does 125million polygons a second, and Nintendo says the GC does 6-12 million. These are not measured the same, don't be decieved. They've got some great third-party publishers lined up too, so the sux/rox ratio should be pretty low. Bad things, it's $300. It's also friggin' HUGE, I bet if I hollowed one out I could fit inside. In addition to the system being enormous, the controller is also big and really hard to reach all the buttons. Why did they change it from the Japanese design?!

Me, I'm getting a Gamecube first. Partly because they're shipping 700,000 initial units, so it probably won't be hard to get one. But mainly because it's $200 instead of $300, and I'm poor. That isn't going to change either, unless Gringo starts paying me (I amuse myself!). Also, I grew up on Nintendo and I guess I'm a bit of a fanatic (I almost cried when I bought a Playstation)... Even though I'm mainly a computer guy. When I get some spare change (Yeah, right) I'll get an Xbox, hopefully they'll be under $150 by then. I doubt I'll ever get a PS2 though, because of crap games and alot of their third-parties went over to Nintendo and Microsoft.

Who will ultimately win? That's impossible to say now, but I'm sure it'll become clear soon enough... DUM DUM DUUUMMM


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