Dr. Gamelove


How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Box

I am a diehard Mac user, and I am going to buy an Xbox.

I've never liked consoles. I've always thought they were overpriced toys for videot couch-potatoes who spent all day playing mind-numbing games instead of doing something worthwhile. For when I wanted to play games, my Mac was more than sufficient. I had all the sorts of titles that interested me (never having been a big fan of most action games), in an easier to use form, on a higher-resolution screen. There was an element of snobbishness, as well as horror at being stuck for years on an obsolete, nonupdateable platform.

But then, the 80s ended, and consoles kept evolving, and convergence started taking place. A lot of titles began appearing on both consoles and personal computers. Marathon came out, and action titles started looking cool. Then, the Mac gaming market hit a bit of a dry spell, though that seems to be mostly over by now. More recently, my brother bought a Dreamcast last Christmas (about two months before they were discontinued and the price dropped $50)...Woo-hee, that was fun!

Now this year, I wanted to upgrade my computer. I'd been waiting forever for a Powerbook G4, and even though it had arrived in January, I wasn't satisfied with the current offerings. I wanted more than an aging Rage 128 Mobility if I was going to be forking out that kind of cash (even with employee discounts via a certain favorite uncle with a job in Cupertino). Rumors had it that what I wanted would be here in May at WWDC, or in July at MacWorld, or in September at Apple Expo. Of course, early August was when the hard drive in my then-current machine went belly-up. I wasn't going to spend any more on that aging heap of three-year-old UMAX junk. I did some math and figured that only a smidgen more than the price of a PowerBook G4, I could get both a lighter iBook and a much faster desktop G4. Being on the verge of moving cross-country, I got the iBook immediately, with intent to get a desktop machine in the next few months, or possibly early next year (mmm...G5). (As an aside, I bought DiskWarrior and managed to resurrect the drive no other utility could salvage, but I'm not sorry I ditched that old thing.) Now, over a month later, I realize that my new machine is plenty fast for just about everything except Unreal Tournament, and it occurs to me that the only real impetus to get a faster machine is game playing. If I'm going to do that, I might as well get a much cheaper dedicated gaming machine with a guaranteed nice selection of the latest and greatest.

Looking at my options, I find that response to the PlayStation 2 has been ho-hum, and that stuff I truly crave, like Halo and Dead or Alive 3, are Xbox exclusives. And, it's a damn good deal. For less than the price of a GeForce3, you get an entire system with an even better GPU. It's got a freaking hard drive for saved games, as well as mods/expansions and other things that will never fit on a memory card (without making it cost more than the international space station). It's got a direct ethernet connection, and we have broadband. Hell, I even like the size of the controller. (I've never personally met someone with bigger hands than me; an outline of Shaq's hand showed his was bigger, but not by much.) Even if it is made by the Evil Empire, it's not like I'm contributing to their desktop domination. (And hey, even I admit they do make some good stuff, like IE for Mac, which totally rules both Netscape and IE for Windows.) Anyway, it's what I've thought for years--PC(-like objects) are fine for playing games, but my Mac is for doing actual work on... :)

Of course, there is that little nagging voice saying something about the seductiveness of the dark side, but it seems to be drowning in virtual drool.

(You may now flame away.)

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© Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist, All rights reserved. The reproduction of this work, by any means electronic, physical, or otherwise, in whole or in part, except for the purposes of review or criticism, without the express written consent of the author, is strictly prohibited. All references to copyrighted and/or trademarked names and ideas held by other individuals and/or corporations should not be considered a challenge to said copyrights and trademarks.

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