Boys and their toys – it seems at all ages that boys and men are attracted to gadgets, gizmos, and above all, games! This year the gaming industry has performed extremely well, seemingly immune to the economic downturn affecting many other industries.
The reason, if one can be offered, is that more people are staying home rather than travelling abroad for vacations, inventing what some have termed the “staycation”. A central part of the staycation, and a staple for your sons, brothers, fathers, and husbands this year will surely be in the form of video games.
To Wii or Not to Wii
The big news in the recent year has been surrounding the Nintendo Wii, an innovative system that uses wireless technology in order to present a more intuitive and fun control set. By using the Wiimote and the Nunchuck accessory, the player can perform a vast array of motions – from swinging a virtual tennis racket in Wii Sports, to slicing cucumbers and carrots in Cooking Mama.
The Wii is a system targetted towards younger and more casual gamers – for those twelve and under, seniors, and parents who have never really taken an interest in video games. The games are often inexpensive and often feature minigames or party games that are easy to play, easy to get in and out of, and are not overly challenging so as to avoid frustration.
Of particular note this Christmas is the attention being paid to Wii Fit, a peripheral for the Wii that includes a balance board and the software. The game tracks your BMI, and provides a variety of low-impact exercises in the form of minigames such as soccer, skiing, and the infamous hula-hoop! Yoga exercises are also included in the software programming, as well as step aerobics routines!
The Big Boys : Xbox360 and Playstation 3
For more mature gamers, the Xbox360 and the Playstation 3 are likely the top two contenders. While both systems have their merits – the PS3 has slightly better graphics and the Xbox 360 has superior online multiplayer and community – there are definitely a few factors to consider.
- Price Point : The Xbox 360 Arcade model retails for ~$199 CDN, as compared with ~$399 CDN for the Playstation 3.
- Game Library & Exclusives : The Xbox360 offers Gears of War, Halo, and a number of other exclusive franchises. Currently, the PS3 offers substantially fewer flagship titles as exclusives – and has an extremely diminuitive library by comparison.
- Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD : The format war is considered over by most experts, with Blu-ray having won. If you plan on upgrading to Blu-ray, the PS3 is an excellent choice as a reliable and inexpensive Blu-ray player.
Taking these things into consideration the Xbox 360 seems to have an edge at this point in time, given it’s superior library, online capabilities, and attractive price point. However, don’t count the PS3 out just yet, as more titles seem to be arriving as of late and it may have been a bit early to consign it to defeat in this generation of the console wars.
No matter what your choice of system, software, and peripherals – be sure to have a wonderful Christmas with or without the presents. That being said, nothing beats a good game of Rock Band 2 after being stuffed to the brim over Christmas dinner!