Gamer’s Journey: Flip Flopping Through the Console Wars
I could never be a politician. Other than the fact that I can’t stand politicians and would never want my name associated with the likes of the men and women who run for office, I’m a flip flopper. I constantly change my mind on how I feel about different things. I love the fact that I’m not scrutinized for every decision I make or every word I say. Sure, I might get a few comments on some of the topics I write about that might make me cry in a dark lonely corner of my parents’ basement but no one is going to run an advertisement on national TV attacking me for something I said. That being said, the PS3 is currently my favorite console.
It didn’t start out that way though. I was a Nintendo only fan boy until Metal Gear Solid demo for the PlayStation came out. After playing that, I knew that I needed to make a switch if I wanted to play some of the best video games on the market. I loved the Nintendo 64 and was a launch day purchaser, but I realized it couldn’t give me the games I was wanting to play. Especially since SquareSoft had switched allegiances to the Sony brand. I then moved onto the PlayStation 2 and got one during its first month of release, selling all my previous generation gear for the new powerful toy. The addition of the DVD player kind of ruined my interest in games and I switched over to buying a ton of DVDs instead. This waning interest of games wouldn’t ramp back up until the end of the original Xbox’s live span.
A third team
After purchasing an original Xbox mainly to play some Burnout, the new consoles were on the horizon. I had to make a decision. Would I go ahead and continue on my relationship with the new entrant into the console wars with Microsoft, or go back to my beloved Sony? That choice was fairly easy and made strictly by my wallet at first. I couldn’t afford to pay $600 for the PlayStation 3 at launch so a 360 was my choice. However, it was well after launch and took getting some hands on time at friends’ houses before I finally made the decision to get a 360.
I loved it from Day 1. Playing Gears of War for the first time in HD was amazing. A while later I got the game that would seal my love for the console as well as online gaming: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. I wasn’t an online gamer at all before it came out. I had dabbled in the early 2000′s with some Counter-Strike and Quake 3 Arena but nothing ever grabbed hold of me like it did with some people. Modern Warfare changed all of that. I played the hell out of that game. My friends came over and played the hell out of it as well. One loved it so much that he considered buying a 360 of his own. The impending return of a familiar friend caused a light bulb to flash over my head. I could sell my friend my 360 and I could go buy a PS3…
Make up your damn mind
The release of Metal Gear Solid 4 was nearing and my 360 ownership days were numbered. At this time, there just weren’t any games coming out that I really wanted to play. Over on the PS3 side of things, a return to the world of Solid Snake as well as the awesome Major League Baseball series The Show had me salivating. People say that the grass is always greener, which might be true. But this time it was just plain fact. I wanted a PS3 because it had the games that I wanted to play.
I sold my 360 to a friend (coincidentally enough, I moved in with them a short time later so if I wanted, I could still play the 360). I went to the Sony store in San Francisco and bought a PlayStation 3. I re-purchased Modern Warfare because I was in love with that game. The only time I’ve ever bought a game on two different consoles but it was worth it. However, about a year or two into owning a PS3 a bunch of 360 exclusives starting coming out and my interest waned in the PS3′s catalog. Plus, the newly formed friendships I was making through this website made it clear which console was favored among the group. If I wanted to game online with everyone else, I needed to get a 360.
A few months after the start of Horrible Night, the slim Xbox 360 was released. I ordered one as soon as I could and became excited about gaming again. This time, I wasn’t going to sell a console to get a new one and I actually had all three consoles from this generation at the same time. I just had to play Shadow Complex so the choice to buy was an easy one. That and all the other exclusive games I missed out on while only owning a PS3. For the past two years the 360 has had a good run as my console of choice. I barely acknolwedged my PS3 except to watch Blu-Rays and play the occasional awesome PSN game. It gathered a layer of dust that took more than one paper towel to remove when I finally got around to cleaning it. I had abandoned the console.
If I have learned anything from a video game (and retained it) it’s this line from the beginning of Secret of Mana:
But time flows like a river… And history repeats…
Rise from the dust
The PlayStation 3 has risen again in the Monroe household. It has become my machine of choice so much lately that when my Xbox Live gold membership lapsed in late June I didn’t renew it and seriously considered getting a PlayStation Plus membership. What Sony is offering with their premium content is fantastic. I’ve yet to join in but it’s getting more likely almost by the day. It’s not like I’m playing new games. I’m basically living in the late 90′s and playing original PlayStation games all over again. I also recently bought Valkyria Chronicles and just started heavily getting into that. A console doesn’t have to have new and shiny games for me to be interested in it. It just have to have the games I want to play at the moment I want to play them and what Sony is offering is what I’m digging right now. I feel that Sony is making a strong push to remain focused on games whereas Microsoft is becoming less focused on games and more focused on a content delivery box. Which could be a great thing, but I can get almost everything of what their offering from a ton of different places. Right now I want PS1 games. Can’t get those on the 360.
The critical point to realize in all of this flip flopping is the fact that I support all the systems. I don’t elevate one console above the other one in terms of which I think is the better console or the better company. Those terms are hard to define. What I can define is what I’m interested in at the moment is what I’ll be playing. It keeps me from being a fan boy and helps me focus on just being a fan.
Gamer’s Journey – Stories about the unique gaming experiences that have propelled us through games, franchises, genres, and the gaming industry itself.
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