Thursday, 15 August 2013

Gripe: Console war arguments

Xbox360 vs PS3, Gamecube vs PS2 vs Xbox vs Dreamcast, N64 vs Playstation vs Saturn, Super Nintendo vs Megadrive/Genesis-megacd-32x (actually just a big mess by sega), Nes vs Master System, Gameboy vs Gamegear, iPhone vs Blackberry, shit vs sugar, and the even more ludicrous XboxOne vs PS4 which at the time of writing this are both unreleased and there is only stats, schematics and plans that have changed on BOTH sides.

Now to try to throw my hat into the ring on this one and rather than take an on the fence approach, a middle of the road view, shit or get off the pot view, I’m just going to blow the whole thing apart and say one thing: It’s all bullshit.

Before the internet gave every man, woman, child, berk, idiot and asshole a voice and the supposed sense of self-entitlement to use that voice, most arguments over which console is better was done on school playgrounds. Invariably between those that owned one console, and those that owned another. Few usually could afford to have both so the arguments were based on the simple premise of “This is what I play, it must be good, so therefore I am right” and both sides using that argument with no progression made by either side. The very few kids that had both, tended to stay out and realise they didn’t quite fit into those cliques.

The further back you go, the older the machines being paired up were. However, thanks to the wonderful invention of the internet, coupled with the invention of emails (yes pre-dating it strictly speaking if we’re talking BBS and such but let’s not lose focus of the point), the world wide web because a hotbed of porn, paedophiles chasing kids, police pretending to be kids and people around the world bitching at each other for having a different opinion and HOW DARE THEY before overreacting like ignorant little savages.

I’ll attack the internet’s growth of trolls another day.

Consoles wars have never really progressed from the simple bouts of “Mine is better than yours” until some people with some actual brains started to relive the playground days, online. That was a mistake for a start, they were in the playground days, LEAVE THEM THERE. You go back to a playground nowadays and you’ll be carted off to Mr Big’s personal cell before you can say “Sorry I really was just visiting, I’m not a paedo”, seriously, leave the kids alone now. Digression and tortured metaphor aside, people started to argue on the internet about the old days of consoles and talk turned to playground fights which then spilled into real fights about the old consoles and the new consoles.

And it all got retarded, FAST.

Whether it’s because people couldn’t believe that the arguments and fights they thought they’d won back when they were kids were flaring up again; that people had the sheer audacity to disagree with them when thanks to age they really should know better by now; because of the supposed anonymity the internet provides us with custom names, gamer tags, handles and pseudonyms; people got aggressive and stupid and sadly, in many an argument, downright nasty.

The companies never helped with that back in the 8bit and 16bit eras. Often the marketing slogans of the time would exacerbate the situation with such slogans “Sega does what Nintedon’t” and “With only 6 reasons for something Super and 100 reasons for something Mega, you know what choice to make” the majority being Sega lashing out at Nintendo with rarities like “Not On Sega” being thrown back. Companies going so far as to make up lies on things like “Blast Processing” and of course, kids lapping it up like greedy, mewling babes suckling at the teat of false information, desperate for ammunition in their pointless arguments.

The lack of information being available save for in magazines and adverts that usually were skewed in favour of one product or another was difficult for most people to sift through and find the truly non biased information and just raw facts. Even then, with specifications finally being released and people able to moan and argue that this statistic was higher on this machine than another, few knew what it actually meant and even less understood whether it was worth actually bragging about.

“Blast Processing” anyone?

Roll forwards a while and you’ve gotten the internet as well as more modern consoles kicking around, the large battle by the companies between where the lines blur as to which consoles are actively partaking in battles between popularity contests and hardware matchups. Namely the big companies Sega (before the drop out from home consoles but not software and games), Nintendo (which can always ride the hand-held market and its biggest cash cow, Pokemon), Sony (always a popular choice and seemingly set to take the mature market share) and Microsoft (carrying a lame leg as it’s Microsoft, leaves me wondering if they’d started an offshoot company and called it something like Dennis, would it have fared better...) were shooting it out with N64/Gamecube, PSX/PS2, Xbox, Saturn/Dreamcast. The battleground shifted so much and so often that I do recall one edition of a magazine labelling their paid-for console as being “not the fastest, or most powerful or the only online console, but the best value for money machine on the market”... Once again The best value for money machine on the market, which basically meant: It’s on the way out and cheap as sin but that’s because nobody wants it. Phrased in a way that never appeal to a younger gaming audience.

“Hey, my console is the best value for money” Has NEVER won a single argument in a playground.

These days, it’s mainly the Xbox 360 and PS3 at the time of writing with a healthy, half laughing, but half respectable nod, to the Wii and WiiU. Handhelds are competing now with Smart Phones and tablets as technology blurs the lines further between the definitions. But we still have the same old bullshit on a much more accessible scale. Forums, Social Media, Chat sites are still rife with the same topics, the same fanboy-ism that there always has been.

Oh and saying “I’m not a fanboy” at the start of argument, will excuse nothing at all in the paper thin attempt to mask the underlying bias.

Some people have 2-3 of the main consoles and can claim that they know better because they have them all, it’s still just an opinion and like any opinion, can be slighted, slanted, biased or ill-informed. More importantly, it can be ignored too. The level of anger and abuse stirred up from such arguments is horrifying in several ways. The nature and just the sheer thought that someone can summon up these suggestions, does not make for a good outlook on society. (Though maybe these people SHOULD remain indoors). The abusive, hateful, misogynistic, racist kind of comments that just disgust your core on so many levels that deserve no place in this day and age, being thrown around in discussion (I use the word lightly there, saying “this is shit” is not really a discussion, it’s a statement of a lack of vocabulary and an urgent need of a dictionary and thesaurus)

It often begs the question, why do some people get so angry about such things? Because they’re loyal to the product? Hardly. The companies involved aren’t going to give a damn unless their bottom dollar is going to be affected severely. Until then, customers will be gobbling down that thick turd sandwich. Because they bought an item and aren’t satisfied with their purchase? More likely. That wonderful adage “The grass is always greener...” probably rings more true with people having only the capacity of one console rather than several. Though this is more the sorrow of the Opportunity Cost being emotional rather than monetary.

Perhaps it’s the insecurity of people that are offended by the nature of these arguments because the console they have isn’t the one they wanted, or they aren’t happy with the purchase because all their friends bought something else and now they’re playing alone, that they get so angry about the comments attacking “their” console not because they like the console, but because it reminds them of what they DON’T have. Reminds them of the mistake they supposedly made perhaps?

Which brings me to the current arguments and future arguments... Such wonderful arguments of “XboxOne is shit” or “PS4 is bollocks”, these are the most shameful. Whether it’s a one line argument or in some, ridiculously trumped up cases, actually bringing in statistical information related to the specifications of 2 unreleased machines, or going on the companies histories as their basis of the argument. Let’s see an example “Xbox4 is shit because microsony released a console some years back that didn’t quite do as well as I wanted it to and didn’t play the games I wanted to but all my mates bought it and I did too because I’m too much of a sheep to go against the flow and my parents never loved me enough wah wah wahh...” Sound too damn familiar? I know it is.

None of it matters. Not a single thing.

I could try and put it in some context for people. There are children dying on streets in foreign countries, living homeless in every country including yours dear Reader. In particular, 3.1million children died of starvation and malnutrition across the planet in 2011, this works out to be just over 8493 children per day, which is over 353 an hour, which breaks down to around 6 children per minute.  People starving across the planet, not just in 3rd world countries and the most annoying, anger-inducing thing is that someone bad talked an inanimate object?

Before anyone tries, I’m not suggesting that playing the wrong console kills kids.

There’s no point arguing over which console is better; it’s just the trumped up hurt egos of idiots attempting to assert their mistakes over others for a greater attempt at accepting their own short comings. Pick a console, or consoles, play the games you want to play and remember it’s a product from an entertainment industry. If you’re not entertained, take it back and get another one.

And for those arguing on hypothetical products that are either not released or just in the paperwork. Get a life and discuss something meaningful in video gaming, like how big Lara Crofts next bra size might be, it’s just as worthwhile a conversation.

Future attacks coming soon on Backwards Compatibility whiners and letting kids play underage games.