I’ve got my full-time job in check, so lately the rest of my life has been taking up the slack in making me supremely busy for most of the time. Also for some reason I’m unable to keep the beginning of a post made with w.bloggar on my hard drive, so I’ll put off that post I was going to make and instead make this one.
Yeah so another year, another console launch I missed, again on purpose mostly. If you count the handhelds of consequence (i.e., the DS and the PSP, not the Gizmodo) then the launch of the Xbox 360 is the third one this year. Of course the Xbox 360 is the only one of the three with people camping out, blogging, smashing things, and the only one of the bunch that the retailers guessed (correctly) was going to be a big hit.
The main reasons I didn’t get one were just the financials – I have a giant desk I’m working on and quite honestly my main PC needs a serious overhaul before I even think of devoting fun money to another console. Plus as I’ve mentioned before, I’m just not that excited about the system.
That being said, I’ve always kinda thought it might be fun to wait on a system and get it as soon as it comes out. Oh sure, since I’m gainfully employed I won’t be waiting in line for 79 hours (especially since these things always launch towards winter and I get my fill of non-bathing geeks at QuakeCon – nuts to that) but to get a system as soon as it comes out is still a neat idea.
However, something that’s been brewing over the years and I frankly refuse to tolerate is bundling. No one will let you preorder a system alone – you have to preorder games as well. Now, if there was a bundle out there that let you get the system and a game that would be one thing – the machine’s not much use without a game of course. However, what about if you just want one and then the game you want comes out a week later? Or if you anticipate scarcity throughout the rest of the year and the game you want comes out a month later?
But that’s not really the issue – the issue is that all the bundles I spotted required preordering multiple games. Like two at least. And another controller. And a memory card (which was always basically useless on the Xbox). And a remote control. And as it turns out Microsoft is enforcing this – they won’t let your store take preorders unless you also have the customer preorder $X in additional items.
One or more of the games for the Xbox 360 launch didn’t make it, so if you preordered those games you had one of two choices – either substitute another game or cancel the preorder. You couldn’t just pick up the game later. You couldn’t just cancel that game. A few retailers wouldn’t even let you pick the substituted game – they decided which game. Amazon.com wound up sending some people two copies of Kameo. Don’t like it? Tough shit – just cancel your preorder and one of the other 10,000 people will take it.
Nuts to that – when and if (oh who am I kidding on the if) I get an Xbox 360 I’ll get it six months from now and pay for what I want. And that’s only assuming that there’s a killer app for it – that is, a game which is badass and only on the console. Right now that’s not happening. Xbox had Halo at launch. Xbox 360 has Quake IV, which I already own on the PC, Perfect Dark Zero, which has very mixed reviews, and like a half dozen racing games. So we’ll see.
On the off chance I have some cash over the next few months not commited to a PC upgrade, what I want now badly is a Nintendo DS. The DS launched with a single decent title – a port of Super Mario 64. And the titles at all, much less good ones, came out at a trickle. Many people figured the PSP would hand Nintendo their ass on a platter, launching a handheld that had PS2-level graphics. But their system, though selling well, hasn’t sold as well as Sony would have liked. And the killer launch titles were ports of PS2 games. And many people bought the thing to play homebrew apps, which Sony is playing cat-and-mouse to break. Today the titles for the PSP are tricking out and the DS is getting a ton of new games. And you can play Mario Kart wirelessly over the Internet. When your console has an exclusive Grand Theft Auto game that looks like its PS2 billion-selling counterparts and no one wants it, something’s wrong.
In any event, I’m off to work on non-post things like the giant desk that’s been kicking my ass for the last month. Long story.