Having been a gamer for 16 years, I have noticed something which has always greatly disturbed me. That is the great war of the console systems. It’s been going on for as far back as I can remember. Atari vs. Coleco Vision, NES vs. Sega Master System, Genesis vs. SNES vs. Turbografix, and now, the current battle; Saturn vs. Playstation vs. N64.
The fact is, I really do not see the point of the console war. However, many people do not share my opinion and seem to devote their lives to praising their systems to the sky while bashing the competition to the ground. And, if anyone disagrees with them, they insult that person. I have known many people like that during my years of gaming and frankly, I just don’t understand it. Why do certain people insist on being faithful to just one company? I’m not talking about the people who can only afford one system, they have choice in that situation. What I’m talking about are the people who spend all their energy bashing the systems they don’t like and insulting the system’s supporters. Now, I’m not that crazy about the N64, it’s library leaves much to be desired, in my opinion. However, I am more than willing to give every N64 game that crosses my path a chance and I do play them, I even enjoy a few of them, but there are not enough games on the system that impress me enough to make me want to buy it, that’s all. If you enjoy the system, hey, that’s great, more power to you. I just happen to enjoy the Saturn and Playstation, that’s all.
Now, there are many people who are loyal and devoted to a company, and then, there are some people that are so devoted to a company, it’s like Hitler’s Germany. There can only be one law and that law is the company they support. They want to erase all other companies from the face of the earth and they want only their company to reign supreme above all other consoles. Some people also seem to think that if there was just one console system, the video game world would be a better place. I strongly disagree with this view. I don’t want just one choice. I believe in the old saying, variety is the spice of life. I like the fact that I can get a certain game on one system that I can’t get on another, it makes it unique. Also, multiple system competition is good for the consumer because companies will do almost anything to get you to buy their systems. Thus, we get price reductions and sometimes free game deals.
I guess what I’m basically trying to say here is that I see no point in arguing over which system is better. If you really think about it, there can be no winner. Why? The console wars will never end. It’s been going on for as long as there have been multiple systems competing with each other and it will only continue to go on as long as there are options in the video game industry. You see, no one can win in this situation. The war will just start all over again. The Saturn will most likely take it’s final bow sometime in 98 and Playstation owners everywhere will be laughing, stating that they have the “superior machine” that won the console war. However, a year or two later, Sony will release a new system and Playstation owners will sell their “superior machines” for something better. Gee, it doesn’t sound like a very superior machine to me if something better comes along. And one Sony and Sega and Nintendo release their new machines, the console war will just start all over again. Have we achieved anything? Have we advanced any further? Did we prove which system was better? No, we’re right back where we started. This is why I can say no one can win the console war. It’s like a merry go round that never ends. It just keeps on going around in circles over and over. However, people just keep on riding it and refuse to get off. They stick to their guns and insist that they have the best game machine on the market. These people simply don’t understand that they are fighting a losing battle, a battle with no winners, only losers. Some systems just die quicker than others, that’s all. Eventually, all systems die. Eventually, the Saturn, the Playstation, and the N64 will be forgotten and the video game industry will have moved on.
You know, what really depresses me, is that in the end, the console wars make us forget why we became gamers in the first place. Some people become so devoted to the war that the only thing that matters is who has the most technically advanced system. Well, let me ask you a question. Did you become a gamer because the Playstation had better 3D capabilities? Did you become a gamer because the N64 was twice as powerful as the 32 bit systems. I’ll tell you why I became a gamer. I became a gamer because I enjoyed the fun I had with them. I became a gamer, not because of technology, but because of games. But, it would seem that games take a back seat with some people. In my opinion, these people really need to open their eyes. They need to think back to when they didn’t care about polygon capabilities or warping effects and whatnot. There was a time when only games mattered. What happened to those days? On every message board I go to, people are constantly arguing over the technical aspects of the systems and only occasionally do they talk about games. (And when they do talk about games, they usually say something like, “Sonic R rocks because it’s by Sega, not crappy Sony. Plus, it has really good 3D, so it must be awesome.”) Um…okay, but you didn’t really tell me about the game itself. How are the controls? Is it any different from the countless other mascot racing games like Diddy Kong Racing or Mario Kart 64? You haven’t told me anything, you’ve only convinced me that you’re an extremely biased individual who has no mind of his or her own and will only follow Sega. This is really starting to get to me because it is increasing day by day.
Look, let me tell you my philosophy about gaming. Just enjoy yourself. That’s what it’s all about in the end, isn’t it? It’s not about which system can handle 3D better or which system has graphics done on a supercomputer workstation, it’s about games, damn it, and I want the whole world to know that!! I could care less whether the Saturn has inferior 3D to the Playstation, I enjoy the games, so I play them. I could care less if the Playstation isn’t 64 bit, I enjoy the games, so I play them. It’s as simple as that. Take away the flashy effects and the technical jargon, and what do you have? A game. A simple game hidden by million dollar effects done on a supercomputer. People, we have to learn to look past the effects and the system wars and just look at the games themselves! Forget the hype, forget how much money they put into it or how long it took them to make the game, just concentrate on having fun. It’s an idea that is so simple that it’s easy to forget in today’s world of mass media where they hype style over substance. The truth is, a lot of our current 32 and 64 bit games look good, but can’t hold a candle to the classic 8 and 16 bit games in terms of gameplay and length. I would much rather sit down to a game of Final Fantasy II or III than Final Fantasy VII. Sure, VII had spiffy CG movies and it was three discs long, but it was missing something, I felt. I just didn’t know what it was. I went back and re-played FF II and I finally realized what it was. Simplicity. Final Fantasy II didn’t have the greatest graphics, but it didn’t need it. It had a good story and it had characters that were somewhat interesting. I was not interested by any of the characters in FF VII, except for the villain. Why make the villain more interesting than the main characters, it makes you not want to kill him when you finally reach the end of the game. Sure, Final Fantasy VII had a great story too, but the sheer big budget look of it all really took away something. I prefer simplicity in my RPGs. I think if you concentrate too much on graphics in RPGs (or any genre) you lose something in other categories, important elements like story, control, length, and whatnot. What do the graphics give you in the end? Eye candy and nothing but.
I’m sorry I went on for so long, but this is a very important topic to me and I had to get a lot of things off my chest. I am pleading that people just realize that the console war isn’t worth fighting. No system will truly be better than the other as long as people are allowed to have different opinions. It all depends on who you talk to. I personally don’t believe in choosing favorites, I love my Saturn and Playstation equally and as long as they continue to support me with great games, I will continue support them. And when the time comes to move on to another system, I will, as long as they support me with games I enjoy. It’s a very easy philosophy and one that very few follow. It’s sad to think that so many have forgotten why they became gamers in the first place. Maybe someday, people will realize that there is no such thing as a “superior system” as long as technology continues to advance. I can only hope.