Mine is better. That’s what it comes down to, isn’t it? I have one. You have one, too. Yours is different, but mine is better.
In this week’s issue of The Escapist, we’re addressing the battle that never ends: the Console Wars. It’s not hard to see how this started. Game consoles are expensive, and so are the games. Most folks, therefore, can only afford one system, but the makers of those systems (and the games we play on them) are fighting to convince us to buy theirs, not the Other Guy’s.
Buying a product of such relative expense and with which you will spend a vast sum of intimate hours, literally holding the product in your hand and allowing it into your mind, you can’t help but feel as if you’ve chosen sides, joined a team, as it were, and anyone who isn’t on your team is on the other team and therefore The Enemy. The stakes are nothing less than the continued partnership between you and your trusted companion. For, if the other guy’s console wins, games will stop being made for yours and you will soon be in possession of the absolute worst component of a home entertainment system, the albatross of a Dead Console.
The Other Guy isn’t just playing different games, or using a different controller; he, by supporting The Enemy, is literally attacking your way of life, or at least your continued enjoyment of your chosen game console. But, hey, what’s the difference?
This seems silly, perhaps, when viewed through a certain lens, but when it comes to gamers and their games, few struggles are more serious. More people vigorously debate the merits of their console versus another, for example, than have even heard about the case against videogames as protected speech now being decided in the US Supreme Court. And, as anyone who has ever found themselves in possession of a Dead Console can attest, few things suck harder.
Even if you choose wisely in the Console Wars, you will still find yourself, eventually, left in the cold. Most game consoles are only good for about 5 or 10 years, after which, another will be released, rendering your investment in the current (now previous) console generation a waste. Even PCs dry up and must be upgraded at hideous expense. All of which leads one to conclude that, to quote W.O.P.R., the only way to win is not to play. Actually, screw that. Just buy them all.
In the magazine, Kyle Orland comes clean about his sordid past as a Nintendo Fanboy, Tim Latshaw describes the heady days of console war debate via magazine and message board, Chuck Wendig recounts his experiences as part of a husband-and-wife game-playing super-duo and our own Susan Arendt shares her experience as a keeper of an albatross: the 3DO. Enjoy!