I just fired off a letter to my local paper’s video game journalists, in response to a question they asked in their latest podcast. And, of course, blogging has trained me to never type something longish without thinking about whether it could be considered even vaguely relevant for the blog! So: a lightly edited version.
You asked in your podcast if people were avoiding buying a 360 because of the quality problems; I sure am. I think it probably has the best set of games (for me) of any console this year: I’m really excited about Mass Effect, Eternal Sonata, Bioshock, GTA IV, and there are a fair number of already released games that I’d like to play. And when Mass Effect was supposed to come out in May, I was seriously thinking of buying one, to avoid the summer slowdown. I didn’t want to, though, primarily because of the serious quality problems but also because $400 is more than I’d like to spend on a console.
Now, though, none of those games are scehduled to come out until fall. I’m still excited about them, but right now it looks like a better strategy for me is to stick with the Wii for the rest of the year (which won’t exactly be a deprivation, given Metroid and Mario and Smash Brothers). Presumably Microsoft will come out with a 65nm model this fall that will be cheaper and more reliable and quieter, so maybe I’ll buy that; the quality problems with the first model were so bad, though, that I think I’d rather wait for a few months after the new model is out to see if it really is better.
In fact, now I’m thinking that my console purchase of the year will be a second DS so that Liesl and I will both be able to play it while we’re on vacation this summer. It’s looking like I won’t be done with Etrian Odyssey by then, she’s not yet done with Elite Beat Agents, and both of us will want to play the second Phoenix Wright game. Who knows, maybe I’ll even break down and finally buy a Pokemon game! And Miranda can play some of those games, and there will be Picross and Brain Age 2 later in the summer. (And Brain Buster Puzzle Pak was just released – I really like some of the obscure Japanese puzzle types it includes, like Nurikabe. But why isn’t it available from Amazon?)
On the summer DS game note: why on earth isn’t Nintendo releasing Picross and Brain Age 2 at the start of the summer instead of the end of the summer? They both sound like perfect games to play if you’re on a plane flight or decompressing in your hotel room or something. The whole industry’s lack of summer games completely mystifies me – it’s when kids have the most free time, and if nothing else you’d think the handheld market would be flooded during the summer.
I’m a hardcore gamer (albeit with relatively broad tastes); if the quality problems and price are causing me to buy a second DS instead of a 360, then Microsoft has really screwed up. The first wave of 360 games weren’t enough to grab me, but the second wave very much would be, despite the high price, if the console’s quality were anything close to normal…
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