Game Boy or Gamecube? PlayStation or PlayStation Portable? XBox 360 Premium Edition or Core System? The latest game consoles from Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft are hot items right now and you’re lucky if you can get your hand on one. Which one to buy? This Shopping Guide will help you make the right choice.
There are portable (handheld) and living room game consoles.
Portable Game Consoles
The portable ones are Game Boy (Advance, Advance SP and Micro) and Nintendo DS from Nintendo, and PSP (PlayStation Portable) from Sony.
So far Nintendo controls about 90% of the market. One of its most popular and successful games is Mario or Super Mario.
Game Boy Micro is the smallest portable game console (4″ X 2″ X 0.7″), almost the size of an iPod and weighs about 80 g. It has a Lithium Ion rechargeable battery and its 2″ screen is back-lit and relatively very bright. It also has a headphone jack.
It is able to play games from Game Boy Advance and Advance SP but not from Game Boy or Game Boy Color.
The original Game Boy had a monochrome display. The Game Boy Color added a color display. Both are now obsolete and have been replaced by Advance, Advance SP and now by Micro.
Game Boy Advance games can be loaded through a separate port.
The Nintendo DS (Dual Screen) has 2 screens, the lower one being a touch screen which is used with a pen. It has a microphone input and wireless Connectivity.
With the use of Multiplayer cards up to 16 players can be connected to each other up to a distance of 100 ft depending on surrounding and games played. The players can communicate with each other through writings and drawings using a feature called Picto-Chat.
PSP is a miniaturized version of Sony’s popular PlayStation. It is about 3 times the size of the Game Boy Micro and weighs 280g with battery. It is the most powerful handheld game console with two 64-bit chips. Its 16:9 Wide Screen is able to display 16.77 million colors. It comes with built-in stereo speakers, a headset connector, infrared Port, USB 2.0 and wireless connectivity.
Apart from games it also possible to store photos, surf the internet, download and play music and videos files using the system’s UMD (Universal Media Disc) or Memory Stick. Its main drawbacks are its high price and its relatively short battery life compared to Game Boy.
Living Room Game Consoles
The living room game consoles are dominated by 3 brands: XBox and XBox 360 from Microsoft, PlayStation 1, 2 and 3 from Sony, and the GameCube and Revolution from Nintendo.
XBox 360 is the latest game console and also the most powerful on the market. It has 3 core processors of 3.2 GHz each, a custom ATI graphic processor of 500 MHz and 512 MB RAM.
All the games are designed for the 16:9 wide screen at high definition standard. Although the game can be played using a standard TV the image becomes spectacular and impressive on High Definition TV.
It has a hard drive of 20 GB, 3 USB ports and wireless connectivity. Up to 4 controllers can be connected wirelessly to the XBox.
Photos from digital cameras and multimedia files from music players or PC (with Windows XP) can be transfered to the XBox through the USB port.
The wireless controller has a headphone port. The XBox can also play CDs, DVD-ROMs, DVD-R/RW.
It is possible through paid subscription service to play multiplayer games online and chat with others.
The XBox is available as a premium edition (white box) or as a core system (green box). The core system does not have the 20 GB hard drive, the wireless controller and headset. These can be purchased at later stage if required.
The PS 2 has a 128 bit Emotion engine and a 300 MHz processor. It delivers impresssive images and Dolby Digital 5.1 theater-quality sound. It has 2 memory card slots, 2 USB ports and 2 controller ports. It is also a CD/DVD player. It can handle most of the PS 1 game.
Sony PlayStation 2 is going to be superceded by PlayStation 3 soon. Playstation 3 will be 35 times more powerful than PS 2. Up to 7 players can be connected with Bluetooth technology. It will have 6 USB ports. Games will be stored in Blu-ray disc (25 GB) instead of regular DVD. It will be backward compatible with Playstation 1 and 2 games.
Prior to Nintendo Gamecube there was Nintendo 64. It had a 64-bit processor, 4 controller ports, online connectivity and an analog stick. Its 3 dimensional graphics was drastically improved. Super Mario 64 was the first 3D console game.
Nintendo Gamecube has a 128-bit processor and uses a 1.5 GB of disc instead of cartridge. It allows up to 4 Game Boys to be connected and used as controllers. It does not support DVD. Although it has better graphics processing power, ProLogic sound, and is cheaper than Playstation 2, it is often viewed as a game console for little kids. Hardcore gamers prefer Xbox or Playstation.
Nintendo Revolution will be the successor of the Gamecube. Its most innovative feature will be the use of a one hand cordless controller (similar to a TV remote control), which tracks its position and orientation in front of the TV and thereby controls the game by its movement. It has a range of up to 15 ft. A second controller with an analog stick and 2 trigger buttons can also be added on it.
Imagine shooting at the target by just aiming at it, or pulling up a fish by flipping the controller up, or flying an airplane by gently moving the controller as if it were the airplane itself. Playing games become much simpler and less intimading to non-gamers.
Another innovative feature is its slot-loading optical drive, which will accept both 3″ (Gamecube) and 5″ (DVD) discs. It will be compatible with most Gamecube softwares and peripherals and would be able to play all Nintendo 64 games. It will feature parental controls which would allow parents to control what video games their children play.
So, now you know! Whether you choose a portable or living room game console, be prepared for many hours of fun and entertainment!