In the Beginning…The Final Frontier

When Microsoft announced the original XBox, there was something about it that piqued my interest.  Enough interest where I pre-ordered it from Gamestop, though I was not fond of the bundles the video game retailer forced upon unsuspecting consumers.  It’s partly why nowadays I buy my games from Amazon (online) or Best Buy (brick-and-mortar) and avoid Gamestop altogether, though browsing the store is still an amusing diversion.

But I digress…

The Microsoft XBox

Almost as big as a VCR...does anyone even remember what a VCR is?

The XBox pictured shows the Controller S, which actually debuted later.  The original XBox shipped with these GIANT controllers lovingly referred to as the Duke.  Despite being too large for my average-sized hands, I did eventually get used to it, though Controller S ended up being a much better controller experience.

The debut of Halo on the original XBox was also a landmark event in that it successfully brought a first-person shooter (FPS) to a console with great control.  While I did play Doom and the lesser known Heretic on the PC growing up, I never felt comfortable with the mouse / keyboard control for FPS’s.  In contrast, console control for FPS’s feels much more comfortable and natural for me.  Go figure.

It’s tough to remember all the games I played on this system, simply because there were so many games to be played.  Halo goes without saying, but Oddworld: Munch’s Oddysee (no, that’s not misspelled), The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind, Shenmue 2, and Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and eventually Halo 2 were great fun.  However, the landmark game for me was Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.  It was also the game that started my love affair with any game made by Bioware.  Their next game on the XBox, Jade Empire, should be played by all gamers at least once (in my very humble opinion).

Despite having tons of games I’d like to play, I actually have never owned a Sony Playstation 2.  Conspicuously absent from my game console collection.  Perhaps one day I’ll rectify that, as there are still games of that generation I’d like to play and Sony has long since taken out the backwards compatibility functionality out of the Playstation 3.

Making a brief detour into the handheld market, I must admit that I was an early adopter for both the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.

The Nintendo DS

Fun times on the go!

The Sony PSP-1000

Gaming on the go...with questionable battery life...and a bunch of Playstation ports I wasn't interested in.

As implied by the captions, while the Nintendo DS saw plenty of gameplay by me, I can’t say the same for the Sony PSP.  In fact, this PSP-1000 sits in a desk in my parent’s home collecting dust.

But I digress…

There are quite a number of games that came out on the Nintendo DS that even to this day I still play.  Meteos will always be great fun on short trips, and games that used the touch screen in innovative fun ways include: Trauma Center: Under the Knife, Trauma Center: Under the Knife 2, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Ninja Gaiden: Dragon Sword and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn.  To top that all off, I love the DS’s and DS Lite’s backward’s functionality with Gameboy Advance games (and am somewhat sad that the DSi and DSi XL removed that specific functionality).

Returning to consoles, I was also an early adopter for the XBox 360, once again pre-ordering a bundle from Gamestop.  I remember The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion was originally supposed to be a launch title, but was eventually pushed back.  Despite this I found there to be a slow, yet steady growth of great games to play, to the point where now it feels like the market is saturated with great games to play.  This has also lead to the slow, steady growth of a backlog of games that I own, and have not yet played.  In no particular order: Halo 3, Halo: Reach, Gears of War, Gears of War 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Origins, Dragon Age 2…the list goes on and on.

The XBox 360

Despite being as loud as a lawnmower, the 360 is an awesome video game console.

Regarding the PS3, the initial price point it debuted at ($499.99 and $599.99) were simply too rich for my taste, and I waited until the price became competitive with Microsoft’s offerings before investing in the system.

The PS3

The PS3's exercise and diet regiment really worked!

I not only bought the system this past year, but also immediately upgraded the hard drive from 250GB to 500GB.  Fun times, and absolutely zero worries with installing games from blu-ray disks.  Right now, I’m making my way through the God of War Collection, along with God of War 3.  I’m also looking forward to playing the Uncharted and Infamous series as well, though at the moment they’re technically in my backlog.

I’ll end this video game console overview with my most recent purchase: the Nintendo 3DS.

The 3DS

Ooohhh...Shiny!

The 3D effect is pretty cool, and I’m hoping that more and more games will come out to take advantage of that feature.  I got Super Street Fighter IV and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow War early on, and am now reliving younger memories with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.  Right now, the game I’m most looking forward to at the moment is Star Fox 64 3D, to be released next month.  Not only was that game tremendous fun, but I can’t help but think that the 3D effect will work very well with its’ rail shooter gameplay.

My next post will be the final introductory post, mentioning the PC games I grew up with as well as the impact arcades had on my life.  So much for my plan to split the introductory posts into thirds.  Oh well, c’est la vie.

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