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The Coming Apocalypse, and Sony's PS3 Release

You would have thought that Sony was releasing the cure for cancer, in limited quantites.

Thursday I found myself driving around with my wife, after we had run our errands for the evening, looking at the many "tent cities" that had cropped up over the past couple of days outside stores like Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy. Guys (and I do mean guys, I saw maybe two female, and I think that they were likely girlfriends delivering supplies to their crazed beaus) had been facing the late-autumn conditions of Dubuque, Iowa, for the past several days, with the perhaps vain hope of being one of the few to lay hands on the coveted prize for the weekend: a Sony PlayStation 3. They waited patiently in line for what was sure to be a rapturous event. $600 tucked safely away in a bank account, or credit account, or billfold, waiting to be spent on the must-have gadget of the holiday season.

We drove slowly buy, in our nice, toasty-warm Ford Focus, as the huddled masses tried to keep warm as the temperatures started dipping into the 20s for the overnight hours. I slept well that night, knowing that not only was I sleeping in a nice, warm bed, but that I hadn't decided to drop $600 on a console that, more than likely, was going to dissapoint me anyway.

"But," you say, "it's the PS3! It's the freaking end-all-be-all of consoles! Ken told us that this one was going to last ten years! How can you put a price on that?"

Okay, I'll admit, the graphics that I have seen the PS3 produce are astonishing. They are certainly able to out-do the Radeon X600 Mobility on my laptop (although it does well keeping pace with the latest releases). But, when all is said and done, the best graphics in the world won't keep me coming back for more. It's the games, folks. And don't try and sell me on the PS3 being a cheap Blu-ray player, either. From what I have seen, Blu-ray offers nothing to the average Joe like me, with my ancient (1999) cathod-ray tube Magnavox television. 640x480 looks just fine to me, thank you very much. I'll laugh heartily if Blu-ray technology goes the way of the UMD movie, but I won't fret it's loss. It's time to look at other technologies for distributing both games and movies. That's where the true innovators are looking now-a-days.

So, I'm surfing the net Friday afternoon, and I start to read all of these news reports about stabbings, shootings, robberies, stampeeding mobs, the kind of stuff I would expect from a report about the L.A. riots. I watched an AP clip of a Chicago electronics store that couldn't keep the crowds at bay, even with the local constabulary in full force. My God, people, what have we come to? It's just a freaking game machine! It's not the second coming!

Sony, are you listening? Did you see that there were people that got killed because you were stupid enough to only release 200,000 units in North America? This kind of mass-mayhem hasn't been seen since the Cabbage Patch doll craze of the eighties! This didn't happen at the launch of the XBox 360, or the GameCube, or even the PS2, and I'm willing to bet that the same craziness will not be seen at the WII launches around the country today. So, yes Sony, I realize that this is human nature, and the nature of young adults more specifically. But I hold you directly responsible for creating this mayhem for your own publicity-related reasons. Shame on you, Ken. Shame.

I did have one final laugh as I was writing this diatribe in my head. I was walking through Wal-Mart (post-apocalypse), and I came upon the PS3 display. Had someone paused the game? The screen showed two vehicles from MotorStorm locked in racing combat, frozen in time. I pressed the Start button to unpause the game. Nothing happened. I tried again. Still nothing. It was then that the ironic truth dawned on me. The game was locked up. Surely the last thing that you want to see from a launch title is lockups, but yet there was irrefutable evidence of it. Can you say "rushed to release?" I knew you could.

Posted on November 19, 2006 at 3:20 pm
Games Playing:
Battlefield 2142
Children of Mana
Tetris DS
Unreal Tournament 2004
Pangea Arcade
Colin McRae 2005
Get Your Kicks... with Cars 7/9/2006
Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit 10/31/2005
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