Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 31st 2015 Contents 15
Saturday, October 31, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Once upon a time, one button joysticks were
enough to play video games. Blocky graphics
and digital beeps kept us hooked for hours on
end. Those were the days my friend.
Today's consoles are as far ahead of those
older machines, as a space shuttle is to a sling-
shot. Modern machines push realism to the
point where it's sometimes hard to tell the dif-
ference between virtual and real. And controllers
boast ten buttons at the very least. The uncanny
valley, that theoretical level where our eyes are
fooled by what we are seeing, is a thing of the
past. Close ups in games reveal not just sweat
and skin tone, we can even see pores and two
day old stubble.
To understand where we are, we need to look
back at where we came from. The first home
machines were simple devices. The Atari Home
Console was capable of pushing a resolution of
only 162x192 pixels. That's less than today's low
end cell phones. And this is normal. Technology
never goes backwards and video games have
benefited more than most from these advance-
Today's consoles boast eight core processors
and High Definition resolution. Your old televi-
sion would probably burn out trying to display
the video coming from these machines. Yet all
the technology and power in the world means
nothing if consoles don't have games for you to
Nintendo, once considered the father of gam-
ing, found this out the hard way. Their latest
console, the WiiU, launched with sub-par graph-
ics, sound and a dangerous lack of games. Even
die hard Nintendo fans were finally forced to
throw in the towel and switch to a Playstation 4
or Xbox 1. In the end, Nintendo threw its towel in
as well. As of this year, Nintendo will discontinue
the WiiU. This not to say they're giving up.
When you have the number one portable con-
sole in the history of gaming, the game boy ad-
vance with over one hundred and fifty million
units sold, you don't just say "I give up."
That's why Nintendo recently announced the
launch of a new machine that will supposedly
get them back at the console table with the big
boys. As for the Playstation 4 and Xbox 1, both
these machines have already crossed the
twenty-five million mark and climbing. Yet again,
these numbers mean nothing without the sup-
port from games and tech. And the future of
gaming is very bright. So bright, you're going to
have to wear shades. Virtual Reality shades,
Say hello to the next level of gaming. The Vir-
tual Reality headset. The race to produce a
cheap viable virtual reality headset has gone bal-
listic. The leader is the Kickstarter funded ma-
chine, the Oculus Rift. Developed by a
twenty-one year old engineer, the Rift's technol-
ogy was recently bought by Facebook for two
billion dollars. That's billion. With a B. Other com-
panies aren't sitting on their hands however.
Sony has its own version also slated for 2016
called the Playstation VR, while Microsoft is
touting their version called the Holo Lens.
The day is soon coming when you'll walk into
a room and see a bunch of people sitting with
what looks like helmets on their heads, talking
to invisible people you can't see or hear, all while
moving their heads around as they explore the
virtual world they're presently in. Add the Tesla
Haptic suit you wear that lets you feel input
from the virtual world; and all of a sudden, jump-
ing and missing that ledge in Mario world is
going to have a whole new meaning.
Getting into video gaming can be daunting. Everyone claims their
machine and games are the best. There's no love lost between Mi-
crosoft and Sony, owners of the Xbox 1 and the Playstation 4 re-
spectively. Even conversations between home owners of these
machines regularly degenerate into shouting matches. The only rea-
son war hasn't broken out as yet is because gamers are naturally
cautious because the real world has no reset button.
So how do decide what's right for you.
Simple. What do you like to play and what's your budget?
Answering these two questions properly will save you from a frus-
trating gaming experience and ensure that you find exactly what
you're looking for and can afford.
The first thing to think about when buying a console is buying
games. You're going to have to regularly buy games to play on that
machine and games cost money. The average price of a popular game
for Playstation 4 and Xbox 1 is over fifty US dollars. That translates to
over four hundred TT dollars. The average gamer buys one new game
every two months. The hard core gamer buys two new games every
month. So you'll need to decide what your budget can handle before
you even buy the console.
Next up are your preferences. If you've been over to a friend's house
and played games on their console and like them, then it's in your best
interest to invest in a console similar to theirs. There's a selfish reason
for this too. By each of you buying a different game and lending it to
the other person, you've just doubled your gaming library. It's no use
having an Xbox when they have a Playstation. Games are not cross
Also, some games are console exclusive. You'll never see Halo on
Playstation or Uncharted on Xbox. Some games are manufactured for
both consoles, but you should investigate the libraries of available
games for all consoles before you make your final decision.
A great online site for information on past and future games is
IGN.COM. IGN even has a side by side comparison of exclusive games
for Playstation and Xbox along with all the games you can find on
both consoles. Amazon.com has the complete listing of every single
game available for any console along with the cost of the game. And
Gamespot.com and PCgamer.com are packed with information.
I mentioned Pcgamer.com because the home PC game market is a
third gaming option. Besides a huge library of games, one great advan-
tage PC's have over gaming consoles is they can emulate consoles,
such as the Nintendo 64, allowing you to play console games on your
computer. Throw in a Logitech controller from your local computer
store and it's as if you own the original console itself.
There are also tons of games that are only playable on computer.
Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) like
World of Warcraft are still exclusive to computers. Until consoles fig-
ure out a way to let users play these games as effortlessly as a com-
puter player, these games will remain the domain of the computer
gamer. And when you add the massive Steam Community of games,
suddenly, console gaming doesn't seem as attractive as it once was.
At the end of the day, it's going to come down to choice. Go online.
Talk to people. Read up on systems and the future. Then make your
choice and we'll see you online. Just remember. Having the best hard-
ware doesn't mean you'll win the game. It just gets you in the front
door. The rest is up to you.
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