As I am looking for this board, I have not seen any threads that compare the 2 new systems on the block. I was fortunate to receive both the Nintendo Gamecube and the Microsoft Xbox on Friday so I decided to take a break and let people know my impressions of both of the new guys. First, a little background. I am 30 years old. My first video game system was a wood grain Atari 2600. Through the years, I have owned almost all the major systems. The 8 bit systems live fondly in my memory. Although I enjoyed computer games (Star Raiders on my Atari 400 is still a fav), I primarily have enjoyed consoles more. I own 6 different ones from the 5200 all the way to the Playstation 2. Frankly, before I received the new guys, I was more excited about the Gamecube. I had preordered from ebgames.com the first day they were available (Jet Black). However, as the days came up to the Xbox launch, some of the games (Halo, DOA3, PGR) looked so good I searched around and preordered a bundle from Amazon on 10/13. So with 2 big boxes in my living room, I opened them both and hooked them up to my Toshiba widescreen tv (HD 40’) and my Denon receiver. I have played them non stop for the last couple days and here are my thoughts. The Consoles: Nintendo GamesCube: Small. Despite reading up and hearing this from others, it is still shocking the first time you hold the cube. I had expected something like the Dreamcast, but it seems even smaller. Yep, the handle is useless (except when you take it out of the box). The machine comes with 1 controller and composite cables. No demo disc. The unit is very quiet. Unless you are sitting on top of it, you will hear no noise at all from the little guy. In black, the Cube looks sharp and different. The LED is top (orange). The whole design is simple and elegant. The controller ports are very small as well. After playing all night, could not feel any heat from the Cube. Rating: 5/5 Microsoft Xbox: The exact opposite of the Cube. Large is the right word. It is bigger than my VCR. It is heavy. It feels solid. The top is X shaped with a green jewel (does not glow). The front is a tad boring, although it does look right at home in the entertainment center. The LED is around the bigger button (glows green) which is used to open the tray. The machine is also fairly quiet (again unless you are sitting right on it). After playing all day, it also did not get warm to the touch. Rating: 4/5 The Controllers: Nintendo GameCube: Since I am 6’4” with big hands, I was worried before I picked up the controller. I had heard they were small and similar to the Playstation’s. Well, he controller is very comfortable to me. I like the joystick placement and the pad is very easy to get to. The camera joystick is also easy to use and all the face buttons feel natural. The triggers on the back are nice and big and very easy to use. The force feedback is okay although it feels weaker than any other consoles. The Z button is the weakness. Difficult to get to and difficult to press in. Frankly, the Playstation’s dual triggers work better. Also, the purple color of the button makes it stick out like a soar thumb. This one flaw makes the rating 4/5 Microsoft Xbox: I must be one of the few that like the Dreamcast controller. The Xbox has controllers similar. I really like them. They fit my hands well. Again, my hands are big so keep that in mind. The buttons work well and I love the joysticks. The triggers are direct copies of the Dreamcast, so it was an easy transition for me. The D-pad is fine and the controller feels expensive. The feedback is solid and strong. I could see how people could complain, but I rate them 5/5. Other Aspects Nintendo GameCube: This guy has hardly any load times. That is the biggest positive of the Cube experience. In the games I played, everything was fast. Near the N64 and faster than any other disc console I have ever used. The Main Menu Screen, where you set the time and settings, is functional. Nothing great. One thing I do not like is how it handles games. When you turn it on without a disc in the machine, it loads this Main Menu Screen. When I insert a disc, there is an area to see the disc and load it. However, for me, either it does not recognize the disc (need to turn off and on to load, even Reset button did not get them to load) or the machine takes like 5-10 seconds and then recognizes the disc.This is nothing big but feels cheap. 3.5/5 Microsoft Xbox: The Dashboard is beautiful. This is the XBox version of the Main Menu Screen. Black and green colored, it just blows the GameCube away. It is very intuitive and frankly is beautiful. When you insert a game disc, the machine automatically loads it. Very nice. The load times are better than the PS2 but slower than the Cube. Still, the product just exudes style. 4.5/5 Games So far, I have only played 2 games on each system. I picked the AAA game on each machine and a racing game since I enjoy these the most. So the Cube was Star Wars: Rouge Leader : Rouge Squadron 2 and WaveRace. For the Xbox, it was Halo and Project Gotham Racing. All these titles are amazing. However, as much as this surprised me, I enjoyed the Xbox games more. I may go into more detail in other thread since this one is getting very long, but the quality of the 2 Xbox games just leave me stunned. One advantage is the component setup for the Xbox. Since I am still waiting on the component cables from Nintendo, I do not wish to do direct comparisions. But, if you have a HDTV, make sure you get the Advanced Hi-Def pack if you buy the Box. The difference is amazing. The custom soundtrack in PGR is also amazing. The 5.1 audio of Halo is stunning. If people ask for it, I will post more details about all these great games. However, after only 2 days, the Xbox games just grab me more. So which one? Frankly, I think they both are good and have a ton of potential. They both deserve to be successful and make the PS2 look a little old. If I had to pick one, I would take the Xbox. It just has a certain quality that makes me enjoy it more. And that verdict shocks me because I had thought I would not even buy one until Shenmue 2 arrives. Not to take anything away from the Cube or the PS2 but the Xbox is the most compelling experience of the three. Your mileage may vary….