Matt's new consoles: 3DO, Game Gear, N64

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Matt Barton
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Thanks for the

Thanks for the clarifications, Bill. I've been doing some comparisons, and found a few deals on refurbished units that look pretty promising:

Xbox 360 Pro HDMI 60GB Console - Refurbished. $200. This one has HDMI apparently, which would be great for hooking it up to my monitor.

Playstation 3 - PS3 - 80GB Game Console *Refurbished* $309. Unless this is the one that's b.c., just doesn't seem worth it to me. $300 for a refurb? Nah.

I haven't seen a Wii there, but I know they have the standard sports bundle at Sam's for $240. Would of course be nicer to have it new than used, since I obviously will take good care of it. Since my wife loves Mario Kart so much, I'm actually tempted to try to get this bundle with the two wii wheels; is it worth it? I haven't had the chance to try out any of this stuff first-hand. I'd probably want the game regardless, but it might be worth the extra if it's anything special.

The only thing that's really pushing me towards the PlayStation side of things is the huge bargain bins full of PS2 games I see at the local stores. I'm almost tempted to try to get a PS2 just to take advantage of it. I'm pretty sure I could drop a hundred bucks or so on them and walk away with lots and lots of fun games. I haven't been diligent in my searching, but I haven't seen nearly as much price dumping on GameCube or Xbox games.

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Bill Loguidice
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To summarize, since we seem

To summarize, since we seem to be missing a few things back and forth:

Xbox 360. Get it with or without a hard drive, but at some point you'll have to buy a hard drive to make full use of it. Kung Fu Panda is actually a good game. The Xbox 360 does RF, Composite, S-Video, Component, VGA and HDMI. Again, VGA and HDMI, so you can easily use it with your monitor, your choice. Neither the 360 or PS3 is recommended for anything less than a widescreen monitor or HDTV, because they're optimized for those formats, though of course it can be done (you really don't want to go lower than component). The 360 has limited software-based backwards compatibility and it requires a hard drive if I'm not mistaken. You can see the list of backwards compatible Xbox games on xbox.com. I believe it numbers in the several hundreds, but it's NOT all the games and will never be all the games. Most of the important ones are accounted for though.

PS3. The PS3 has all the same video output options as the 360, though I'm not aware of any official VGA output (or unofficial for that matter), so your monitor will need to accept HDMI input for it to work, which it does. The latest higher end models generally have software-based backwards compatible, which give access to far more of the PS1/PS2 games than the 360 does with the Xbox, but it's still not perfect. If you want hardware-based backwards compatiblity like I have, you'll have to do what I did and source a used 60GB model on eBay, but the problem is is as they've become increasingly rare, the value on the used market has skyrocketed (for obvious reasons). So you'll definitely overpay just for mostly complete backwards compatibility.

The Wii plays just fine on a standard def television, and not everything is even made for widescreens, so that would be a fine option even for your out-of-date TV. It also has nearly 100% GameCube compatibility built-in. It won't hook into your monitor though, not that that matters.

Honestly, while I personally play the 360 most, followed by the
PS3, followed by the Wii, for your current situation, you're best off getting the Wii until you get a better TV or you're comfortable watching stuff on your monitor. By the way, both the PS3 and Wii come standard with wireless network access built in, while the 360 only has a wired port. The wireless add-on costs extra ($77), so you'll want to factor that into the price of the 360 if you can't plug your unit in, then you'll want to add another $45 for a 13 month Xbox Live Gold membership. There's a free silver membership on the 360, but like the lack of the hard drive, you're really missing out if you don't go all the way. Both the PS3 and Wii have free online networks, but they're not nearly as robust as what's on the 360, though they're more than adequate.

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Matt Barton
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Okay, now I'm throughly

Okay, now I'm throughly confused. I was under the impression that if I got a 360 or a PS3, I'd be able to play xbox and PS2/PS1 games respectively.

So, basically what you're saying in the PS3's case is that I need to buy a used console--one of the very first releases? Or would it just be better to buy a used PS2? I can't imagine getting a PS3 that couldn't leverage the PS2's huge library. That'd just be dumb with all the PS2 games flooding the bargain bins these days. The only decent PS3 bundle I've seen is the one offered by Best Buy; it's an 80 gig, but they don't specify about b.c.

Also, what about the 360 and all the hard drive options? I see Sam's has a few bundles, but they all come with crappy games (Kung Fu Panda???). The only one that has anything interesting is the guitar hero bundle, but that's too expensive.

If it's going to cost upwards of $300 to get me settled in to a 360 or a PS3, I might have to shelve those plans. I might start looking harder at the Wii, since I've seen those going for cheaper, with better pack-ins. I'd rather not buy a used current-gen machine unless there was some great reason to do so; they don't seem to be selling for much cheaper than the new ones, so it'd just be silly.

Let's not forget my crappy TV--only RCA and co-axial inputs. My monitor does have HDMI inputs, and I've seen switchers that'd let me easily go from my computer to the console (mucking with the speakers might get messy, though, unless there's also some kind of switcher or other solution for that). Of course, I'd much rather just buy a new TV with all the inputs and new surrounds for it, but that's just fantasy land material at the moment. However, it might be better for me to get a new TV than worry about current-gen consoles. Currently, I have nothing with an S-VIDEO input except of course my TV capture card, and the latency and other issues are somewhat of a problem there.

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Bill Loguidice
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PS3 and 360 software emulation over hardware emulation
Matt Barton wrote:

So, the PS3s being sold now are not backwards compatible?

Some are, some aren't. The ones that are do so through a software-based emulator, rather than a hardware-based emulator like on mine (they discontinued the hardware-based emulation models pretty quickly, probably to cut some internal costs). The software-based one runs quite a bit, but it's not as compatible as the hardware-based emulator, naturally (though it's better than the Xbox 360's software-based Xbox emulator in terms of compatibility). With that said, for most purposes, it doesn't matter, I just wouldn't get one with the software emulation purposely disabled.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Matt Barton
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So, the PS3s being sold now

So, the PS3s being sold now are not backwards compatible?

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Mark Vergeer
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GBA -> video
davyK wrote:

1) The use of the Gameboy player. Plays GB, GB Colour and GBA games on the Gamecube. You can even use the GBA as a controller if you have the connector cable. You can of course use the GC controller.

It is a great way to grab GBA game footage on video too!

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Bill Loguidice
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N64
Catatonic wrote:

The N64 graphics certainly are rough around the edges. It's not too bad if you play on a small-ish TV.

If you go RF or composite, the N64 is a blurry mess. The picture improves considerably on SVideo and it's nice and sharp. Or at least as nice and sharp as the heavy filtering allows... I remember very distinctly trying to play Lode Runner 64 and having no end of trouble until I dug out my S-Video cables. There should be a warning! ;-)

Catatonic wrote:

A friend of mine is surprised that my N64 controllers are good as new - his thumb sticks always went loose. But he probably used them way way more than I ever used mine.

Never had an issue with mine either, though like you I probably didn't use them enough. I probably played GoldenEye the most out of any of the games. I loved being able to shoot specific bodyparts and always wondered why more games didn't integrate that feature. I've shot more crotches and hats off than is probably healthy in that game...

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Catatonic
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The N64 graphics certainly

The N64 graphics certainly are rough around the edges. It's not too bad if you play on a small-ish TV.

A friend of mine is surprised that my N64 controllers are good as new - his thumb sticks always went loose. But he probably used them way way more than I ever used mine.

Bill Loguidice
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Some thoughts
davyK wrote:

1) The use of the Gameboy player. Plays GB, GB Colour and GBA games on the Gamecube. You can even use the GBA as a controller if you have the connector cable. You can of course use the GC controller.

I forgot about that! I actually have one and I think that would be a great way to capture GB footage! Doh!

davyK wrote:

2) LAN games - Mario Kart Double Dash, 1080 Avalanche and the Kirby game allow you to link GCs together for LAN play. It may still be an expensive thing to set up requiring multiple consoles, TVs, broadband adaptors and copies of the game but its nice to have.

I still don't have a broadband adapter and they can be tough to track down for a reasonable price.

davyK wrote:

Still for the vast majority of games - the Wii is where its at.

Yeah, I think for a casual collector/user, getting a Wii over a GameCube and a PS2 over a PS1 makes a lot more sense. Heck, if a person were interested in a PS3, it would almost be worth it to track down an original 60GB model, so you have hardware backwards compatibility with PS2 and PS1, but then that's pushing things a bit (and is rather expensive). That's what I did, though I have not bought any of the controller or memory card adapters, I just use the PS3's stuff. Of course as a maniac collector, I also have my original PS1 and PS2 models.

davyK wrote:

Unlike Bill, I'm a bit of a fan of the N64. I'll post a list of games worth looking at. Remember my old Doom64 review on the old AA site? That game is still worth hunting down. It's great to hear you talk about the original controller - I still think it is a great controller. The precision of the analogue stick is a joy if it has been looked after properly.

I ultimately was not a great fan of the era, from Saturn - Dreamcast. My interest started to perk up with Dreamcast and came fully back with the Xbox. Of that prior generation of systems, I'd say my favorites were from Sega, followed Sony, followed by the N64. It's all rather close though, as of course there are fun games that appeal to me for all of them. Probably my biggest issue with the whole period were the rough 3D graphics and developers still finding their way to make proper use of polygons and 3D and the almost there controllers. Things didn't truly start to settle down until the release of the PS2, and even that was something of a rough start in comparison to last generation Dreamcast product.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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davyK
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I agree with what Bill said

I agree with what Bill said about not getting a Gamecube. You would miss out on a few things that are odd but nice though:

1) The use of the Gameboy player. Plays GB, GB Colour and GBA games on the Gamecube. You can even use the GBA as a controller if you have the connector cable. You can of course use the GC controller.

2) LAN games - Mario Kart Double Dash, 1080 Avalanche and the Kirby game allow you to link GCs together for LAN play. It may still be an expensive thing to set up requiring multiple consoles, TVs, broadband adaptors and copies of the game but its nice to have.

3) Games using the mic controller are more awkward with the Wii due to the length of the cable. It plugs into the GC 2nd memory slot. Games such as Mario 6 & 7 and the very odd Odama use this. You can play them on the Wii but most people's Wiis aren't placed well for using the mic.

Still for the vast majority of games - the Wii is where its at.

Unlike Bill, I'm a bit of a fan of the N64. I'll post a list of games worth looking at. Remember my old Doom64 review on the old AA site? That game is still worth hunting down. It's great to hear you talk about the original controller - I still think it is a great controller. The precision of the analogue stick is a joy if it has been looked after properly.

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