A long time ago in a galaxy of gaming far, far away…There were two factions engaged in a perpetual war, a war between two groups of nerds that had waged since at least the 1970’s…The two clans had very different ideas of how games ought to be played and very different cultures, sensitivities and beliefs. On one side, were the PC gamers; arrogant, elitist and prone to almost pathological sarcasm. Games, for them, were hi-spec, graphically rendered masterpieces, the sort of exquisite perfection that Baudelaire may have appreciated had he ever played the original Duke Nukem.
On the other side of this intellectual no-man’s land, their dreaded, bitter, Cromwellian rivals did dwell. These were the console gamers (the words spat with derision) the sort of ignorant peasants who rose above their station in life. Not content with ‘Pong’ or the arcade machines they spent all their coins in, they demanded more, and they got it. These ‘cartridge-gamers’ did not to bother knowing the game specs or even uploading anything at all. Oh, the nerve of it! Just slap the cartridge in and play!? Whatever next?
Well, flash forward to the early noughties and sadly, not much had changed. Console games had evolved from their humble origins, and had made their way into the home as a sort of super-peripheral. PCs were now a vital part of everyday life, and a house without one would seem as archaic as a home without a TV set. The nerd clans had grown, and still the debate raged, an evolutionary standoff of Morlock/Eloi proportions.
Until computer Gods Microsoft did the unthinkable. The definitive PC makers designed, built and sold in record numbers, their very own console. It may as well have been the bomb.This, the X Box, blurred the lines considerably, and now, even Sony’s Playstation has taken note, adding web-based content to its PS3. Internet gaming, for too long the domain of the descendents of the PC brigade, suddenly opened its doors to the Cartridge family and a robust meeting of minds has been taking place ever since. Often involving swearing and abuse hurled at people’s mothers, but whatever, progress is progress.
XBox 360 has built on this further, and whilst I stay true to my own proletarian origins by preferring the Playstation, I have to admit the X Box 360 is quite a thing. There are, of course, those old die hards who resent the creation of a console with computer innards. Console gameplay (ever the strong point, especially now with the new may-as-well-be-Playstation-great-they-finally-listened-to-me-yay-now-where’s-my-check? Controller) With PC processing power? Oh, the Humanity! It’s like that kid’s book where the white and black elephants go to war and eventually the grey elephant is born. Peace in our time. Ahhh.