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"There are unknown unknowns, the things that we do not yet know that we do not know"

Alrighty, sure, there are alot of other things to talk about right now, but I'm just going to stick with games again, mmmkay?

Here's the way I see the current choices.

--The X-Box is amazingly powerful and has some excellent games now and due in the next few months. Halo 2 is probably worth the price of the thing alone. I never had issues with the controller like some people do. Everyone I talk to tells me the X-Box's online network is vastly superior to the PS2's, although it does cost money (though the headset is standard, and some people say you get what you pay for with Sony's setup). And Microsoft doesn't just dabble in any markets. I think they made a very solid product and will stand behind it till the end.

They just bought Vivendi, for instance. What does that mean? That means Half-Life 2 and all Blizzard games along with a long list of others are now Microsoft's. There are rumors going around that they plan to buy Sega or Capcom, and they recently acquired Rare. No matter what you think of the tactics from a business perspective (although it's really not much different than what they all do--MS just does it better), you must admit that this makes the X-Box all the more attractive for the future. Plus their system runs most games in Progressive Scan with the right TV (which makes games look like Sega's high-end coin-ops such as VF2, Daytona, Virtua Cop--truly a revolution in detail and graphic splendor), has unstoppable sound capabilities, contains a hard drive (enabling some cool effects and utilities) and ethernet connection, and plays DVDs.

--The PS2 has *enough* power. It can do some awesome things and so far the benefits of the X-Box over the PS2 really only amount to sharper textures, fewer jagged lines, less load time, etc. The PS2 has a HUGE lead in 'installed systems'. There are over fifty million PS2s worldwide, compared to under ten million for the other two systems.

When you factor the huge list of existing 'must-have' titles in with this massive user base (which makes it very attractive for publishers and developers to publish and develop for), the PS2's variety of great games becomes its biggest asset. Also, I think the stock Dual Shock 2 is the best general-purpose controller on the market with by far the best analog feel.

--The GameCube is also very powerful. It does a lot of things well, and I actually don't mind the goofy look of the machine itself (compared to the X-Box and PS2). Nintendo has still sold more systems than Microsoft, but not by much, and just the other day, Nintendo admitted the GameCube has been very disappointing as far as sales. It seems quite a bit less healthy than the other two, and although Nintendo denies it, you have to wonder if they'll eventually go the way of Sega (which I thought they should have done in the first place!).

The GC doesn't play DVDs, doesn't have much of an online presence, doesn't have a hard drive even available, uses a tiny memory card, has a poor controller, and its third-party support seems to be waning a bit. On the plus side, it's $50 cheaper than the others (right now). The big draw is Nintendo's first-party games: Mario, Zelda, Metroid, and a host of other ones (most of which I haven't played). It also will soon allow the playing of Game Boy Advance games with an adaptor.

I'm just not sure if Nintendo's games are worth giving up the massive power and potential of the X-Box or the huge library of PS2 games (since I can only justify one debt-inducing system purchase this year). Realistically, though, I'm not going to have the time nor money to play a whole slew of games, so I might be quite happy with a small selection of outstanding titles. Maybe in late 2005, when all three console makers release their new systems running at 4 GHz with 512 MB of lightning quick RAM and games on 3 Gig cards, that can move 400 million polygons a second and output a 1080p signal with film-quality anti-aliasing at 60 frames per second.

Anyway, here's what is *actually* going to happen. My brother Kody has had my brother Jeff's Dreamcast and N64 for a while, but never uses them since he bought an X-Box and PS2 (there are three PS2s, two X-Boxes, and one GameCube in the family). So I'm going to get em! (with a little prying.) I figure I'll buy an S-Video cable and new controller for each of them (especially the N64--that flaccid analog just sucks). I might also buy a VGA Box for the DC. I still own a PS1 and SNES. I might pick up a Saturn if I can find one super cheap. Here are some games I'm considering.

PS1: Parasite Eve, Vandal Hearts, Castlevania: SotN, Chrono Cross, Final Fantasy IX, Xenogears, Silhouette Mirage, Tenchu, and Vagrant Story
SNES: Super Mario World, Yoshi's Island, and Chrono Trigger
Saturn: SF Alpha, Daytona, Panzer Dragoon Saga, and Shining Force III
DC: Soul Calibur, Resident Evil Code: Veronica, Rayman 2, Daytona, Skies of Arcadia, Grandia II, Record of Lodoss War, and NBA 2K2
N64: Banjo Tooie, Zelda: Majora's Mask, Paper Mario, and Donkey Kong 64

It depends on the prices I can find for some of these. I'm going to stay away from Game Boy/GB Advance until, in the event I buy a GameCube, the adaptor for GBA games is released. I'm just not into the squinting at tiny non-backlit screens. But if a Super Game Boy (for SNES) is out there super-cheap? Maybe. Later in the year I'll buy a next-gen system. I might also buy a real TV and surround sound system, although my 10.4" super-portable LCD and headphones or Infiniti speakers should be fine for the time being. The LCD showed an excellent refresh rate (little to no blurring) when I played Halo on it.

What about a PC? No, not right now. Oh, I might get a cheap 'net terminal' one of these days, but for PC gaming, I'll just stick to what I can play in Fort Worth. My middle brother Quentin just bought a Dell for something like $3,200. I think it has a Gig of RAM. Playing Unreal II in 1600x1200 with 8X anti-aliasing at 80 frames per second on a 21" monitor and DTS surround will be cool, no doubt, but for me that's just an absurd waste of money. I'd buy a motorcycle if I had those kinds of discretionary liquid assets.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to playing some games now and then. :o)