Launch Telemetry

Launch Telemetry
The Lost Generation

Russ Pitts | 27 Mar 2007 12:01
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In the Twilight Kingdom
War never changes.

It's been more than three decades since the first console war, but we still fight, still struggle. Sides are still chosen for one reason or another, banners still unfurled, weapons still unsheathed, fortunes lost and gained; lives thrown away in the never-ending pursuit of perfection.

We should curse the men who set us on this course - the men who designed the first machines of war - but instead we celebrate their names, building monuments to their ingenuity, writing histories of their contributions to society. Our society. The cult of the game. The Industrial-Entertainment complex within which we are all just cogs in the great, money churning machine.

I took a time out from fighting in the console wars after I retired my NES, but I still played the games, still enjoyed watching the reports from the front of who'd skunked who, and who'd be back for revenge next time around. I would eventually return to the field of battle as an adult, but by that time I was able to buy whatever console I wanted, even if that meant buying all of them. I currently own five, each of which is still connected to my television.

Can I say for sure who's winning the wars? Well, numbers don't lie. My PlayStation 2 is but one of over 46 million residing in American homes as of the end of last year. The Xbox, one of more than 20 million. Sony would seem, therefore, to have won that round, based don't he numbers. But Guitar Hero is what sealed it for me. Since that game arrived, the Xbox has been gathering dust. Once again, it's the games, stupid.

The same will be true for the current generation, of course. The Xbox 360 is currently leading the fight, with around 10 million units sold to the Wii's 6 million and the PS3's just over 2 million. But the games aren't all in yet. The shooting war has yet to start. These days we have countless websites, blogs and message boards keeping score for us (or attempting to), so if there ever is a winner, we should know it with CNN-like suddenness, the sales figures lancing out across the web like tracer fire over Baghdad. But it won't matter as much to me. I'm an armchair general now. I've retired, and am content to simply enjoy the fruits of other soldiers' labors; to play the games, in other words. Stupid.

Russ Pitts is an Associate Editor for The Escapist. He has written and produced for television, theatre and film, has been writing on the web since it was invented and claims to have played every console ever made. His blog can be found at

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