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A thought on the "next-gen" systems...


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#1 of 26 Calvin Watts III

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Posted August 02 2001 - 05:44 PM

I've been checking out the many posts (here & elsewhere) about the upcoming X-Box & Gamecube, & how they compare with the PS2...which system is better, which one is crap...etc.etc.etc.

Then there are all the spec posts - ( ex: Rogue Leader can't run on a X-Box... ). Finally, there is still the Sony is crap, Nintendo rules posts...( BTW, insert any gaming company on either side...)

Well, I got to thinking.....Who Cares????????????
Why does it matter what system can push x amount of polygons??? Or what system has Dolby 5.1 in realtime??? I could go on, and on, and on...

My point is this - X-Box has a lot of potential. Gamecube does as well. The PS2 is finally getting some decent games that show what the thing is capable of. Rogue Leader looks awesome, and is the reason why I'm buying a GC @ launch. If I have the extra money, the X-Box has enough going for it that I might buy that @ its launch, or at least sometime in the future after that.

But this "wow factor" ALWAYS exists when a new system comes out. Remember NFL2K & Soul Caliber for the Dreamcast?? I bet that a lot of us were shaking our heads saying OMG,that is sooo cool? But go back further..Goldeneye for the N64 - Sonic the Hedgehog for the Genesis - Battle Arena Toshinder for the PSOne - Super Mario Bros & Zelda for the NES...heck, I'm old enough to remember when Atari & Intellivision were the kings but OMG look at the arcade-perfect Donkey Kong (or so I thought at the time) on the Colecovision. Hell, I'll even bet that there was one person who thought that the Virtual Boy was gonna be the "next best thing".

A system does not make the game. But a game can make a system succeed. Do you honestly think the vastly inferior Game Boy would have been the success that it was without Tetris? Every system has good games...games that stand the test of time...games that are as fun to play now as they were 5,10,even 20 years ago. All I am saying is take a minute or two to think about what systems that you own, & how much fun you have had with them. Then, look again at some of these posts about the next-gen systems, and realize that the future,as well as the big picture, is looking pretty damn good...

PS: Just wondering if there is anyone old enough out there who remembers when having a Pong system for you TV was the coolest thing ever???
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#2 of 26 Gary King

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Posted August 02 2001 - 05:53 PM

Quote:
Why does it matter what system can push x amount of polygons??? Or what system has Dolby 5.1 in realtime??? I could go on, and on, and on...

Because, as much as some people refuse to admit it, better graphics and better sound will undoubtedly improve the gaming experience - rather than seeing an 8x8 block of pixels move erratically to represent some type of character interaction, or 2 alternating textures used to represent facial animation, we're finally to the point where characters can react and look realistically to their situations.

If hardware quality didn't matter, we'd still all be playing on 2600s.

#3 of 26 Morgan Jolley

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Posted August 02 2001 - 07:30 PM

I understand what you are saying. Since the hardware evolves, the games will, too. Whether its the most powerful hardware or not doesn't matter, its the games. The GameBoy Advance is not as powerful as a Nintendo 64, but is still selling very well. Why? Because of the games. And little children whose parents have enough money to shut them up, but thats besides the point.

The difference in power between the PS2, GCN, and XB is not so large that it would really affect a purchase decision that much, but the games would, and should. To tell the truth, Zelda and Mario have changed drastically since the NES days. What was the last Mario game with the fireball? How many games were like Super Mario 64 before it came out? What was the last Zelda game where you had a horse that wasn't 3-D? The games DO change, and most of them aren't getting worse, trust me. The thing that lets them change and get better is the increasingly more powerful hardware, and that is why the hardware keeps getting more powerful.

Also, why would they rerelease FF4-6 and Chrono Trigger for PlayStation if the graphics were so outdated? Because they were good games.

[Edited last by Morgan Jolley on August 03, 2001 at 02:31 AM]

#4 of 26 Gary King

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Posted August 02 2001 - 08:04 PM

Quote:
Also, why would they rerelease FF4-6 and Chrono Trigger for PlayStation if the graphics were so outdated? Because they were good games.

Yes, they were.

But I'd be willing to bet that the reason for the re-release has everything to do with Square's bottom line, and nothing to do with some philanthropic tendency.

Square needs money -- they generated millions of dollars of revenue on a relatively half-assed job of porting some SNES classics to the PSX (which wasn't much work, anyway)... a brilliant business move. It will certainly help them offset the significant dent that The Spirits Within.

#5 of 26 Morgan Jolley

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Posted August 02 2001 - 08:17 PM

Actually, most of the money spent on making The Spirit Within was for making the studio. Now they can make movies there faster and with lower budgets but higher quality than TSW. Also, Square had few games released this year in America, that combined with the fan demand of CT and FF4 made them release Final Fantasy Chronicles. The only big bummer game they made recently that they spent a lot on was The Bouncer, which had everything going for it besides the gameplay (graphics, music, fight system, story were OK, but it was way too short).

FFC had defective FF4 discs, and the rerelease of FFT was botched for the same reason. FFonline.com has an article about both.

#6 of 26 Gary King

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Posted August 02 2001 - 08:45 PM

I'm familiar with Square's products - FF5 had a half-ass translation, FF5, FF6, and CT all suffered from loading times - all of these issues could have been resolved (or at least lessened) with a more rigorous development schedule.

Rest assured - if 1000 people were clamoring for the PSX version of CT, Square wouldn't have released it. They saw an easy revenue generator, and they took it. The fact that it pleased fans is just a nice benefit.

The cost of FF: TSW was recently projected at $130M *not including* capital expenses (such as new systems) or R&D. Since the development time for future projects should be less than 4 years, labor costs should go down; however, realistic CG is extremely expensive.

#7 of 26 Mike Johnston

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Posted August 02 2001 - 08:48 PM

I know I might be old fashioned, but when I play games I try to just have fun. To escape reality. I'm not looking for realism like all of the number crunchers.

I'm not going to count the pine needles on a tree, the ammount of ripples on the water, or if blades of grass are controlled by a realistic wind simulation system. While I know that the graphics of Zelda64 aren't really up to par with current systems, I don't really give a damn.

As long as the game gives me a good gaming experience, I'll be happy with it, and after playing PSX games at other people's houses, I was dissapointed overall with the quality of games. Every other game was either an RPG that took itself too seriously with more movies than gameplay, lots of low quality racing games, and tired FPS'.

Can't any of these PSX drones just sit down and play old NES or even SNES and Sega games without complaining about graphics? I guess not.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'll feel safer with GC. It supplies high quality graphics and from what I've seen and heard, great gameplay.

You can count me in for Gamecube on Nov. 5th.

-Mike

#8 of 26 Dean Cooper

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Posted August 03 2001 - 04:28 AM

Calvin, I think the main reason why people always go through the same “This one has that and That one has this” is that it helps us deal with waiting for them to come. It’s also in our nature to do it no matter what the topic is. DTS vs DD, Coax vs Optical, integrated vs separates, RP vs FP…I could go on forever, literally. With any of these there really is no clear cut answer and debating about things like it is a big part of what a forum like this is for. In terms of gaming systems, a company would just about tell you anything to sell their system so I find these threads helpful to sort out the BS from the fact by looking at the reasoning behind everyone’s points. Its truly amazing how much you can learn when you have a number of people gathering every piece of information they can just so they have something to backup their side of the “mine is better”.

Oh and no comment on the pong question Posted Image

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#9 of 26 Morgan Jolley

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Posted August 03 2001 - 06:31 AM

I don't remember where I read it, but most of the $130 million for FF:TSW was spent on making the studio that the movie was made it. Most could be a simple majority of it at $66 million, I don't know.

If you don't like the PSX games, don't play them. I like some of those RPGs, and some of them don't take themselves too seriously. The PSX also had many games with original gameplay ideas, such as Brave Fencer Musashi, Parasite Eve, Ape Escape, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, and Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. Of course some games will take themselves seriously, whats wrong with that? The only game I know of that had a lot of CG scenes was FFVIII, which was a very good game up until the last dungeon (it was too hard). I think FF8 incorporated the CG into the game in a very intelligent way. There was a lot, but it helped move the story along without getting the player bored. There are a lot of FPS' on the system now, but that doesn't make them all bad. Medal of Honor is supposed to be very good, and a lot of popular game series' game from or were made strong on the PSX (Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Legacy of Kain, Tekken, Tomb Raider).

I agree that some games are good without graphics, but the N64 had better graphics than the PSX, so I don't understand why you compared them. Zelda64 was great, as were a lot of games on the N64. And while graphics don't matter, they do enhance the game in some ways. Playing Star Wars in a ship that looks like it was taken from the movie or Tekken with lifelike characters or a racing game with realistic cars add to the experience of the game.

#10 of 26 Troy LaMont

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Posted August 03 2001 - 07:27 AM

Calvin,

I think my answer to that question would the same as what brought us to this forum in the first place. We have an avid 'lust' for all things new and capable.

I mean the same addage would apply to Home Theater components. Watts, progressive scan, impedence, SPLs, these are all the keywords that we use (and will continuing using) when it comes to our hobby and comparisions between equipment. The same applies to Gaming gear. It just wouldn't be the same if every company simply made the insides the same and just offered their own variations of games. But the case is, every company has different components inside, different levels of quality, different processing capabilities, just like HT gear. So, to compare and contrast is only reasonable.

The systems I've owned (in chronological order);
  • Pong - The actual grey console with two paddle controllers!
  • Atari 2600 - Nuff said!
  • Nintendo - Or NES
  • Sega Genesis
  • Sega Saturn*
  • Sony Playstation*
  • Sega Dreamcast*
  • Sony Playstation II*
  • XBox%
*=Still owned today. %=Future purchase.

So, yes I do remember the original Pong games!

I'll be picking up an XBox at launch.

Good point Dean,

Quote:
Calvin, I think the main reason why people always go through the same “This one has that and That one has this” is that it helps us deal with waiting for them to come. It’s also in our nature to do it no matter what the topic is. DTS vs DD, Coax vs Optical, integrated vs separates, RP vs FP…I could go on forever, literally.

Mike,

I don't really agree with this
Quote:
I know I might be old fashioned, but when I play games I try to just have fun. To escape reality. I'm not looking for realism like all of the number crunchers.
I'm not going to count the pine needles on a tree, the ammount of ripples on the water, or if blades of grass are controlled by a realistic wind simulation system. While I know that the graphics of Zelda64 aren't really up to par with current systems, I don't really give a damn.

I like a game that both plays good and looks good! I got a great gaming experience from Mario 3 on NES but I'm not about to even go and play that today. I want, bigger, better, faster, prettier.

Troy
Chalk one up for the XBox group...

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#11 of 26 Gary King

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Posted August 03 2001 - 08:29 AM

Quote:
I don't remember where I read it, but most of the $130 million for FF:TSW was spent on making the studio that the movie was made it. Most could be a simple majority of it at $66 million, I don't know

Nope -- last I heard, the movie cost $130M. There were significant capital costs in addition to the production costs, but the movie was the most expensive animated movie ever produced by a wide margin.

#12 of 26 Camp

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Posted August 03 2001 - 10:09 AM

I think Titan A.E. is a pretty close second. I seem to remember it costing the (now defunct) animation studio in excess of $100 million.

Quote:
If hardware quality didn't matter, we'd still all be playing on 2600s.

I totally agree. Graphics and sound are very important elements in making a great game. However, I wonder if Calvin (the originator of this thread) had a more specific perspective on his topic. The performance gap between PS2, GameCube, and Xbox will be small enough that Calvin will be right: why do we care about system power?

Certainly we all want to see advancements in hardware but within a specific generation of consoles the differences are subtle enough that it's only the gameplay that really shines.



#13 of 26 pitchman

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Posted August 03 2001 - 10:21 AM

Well, since we’re all on the subject of next-gen systems... I was in the local TRU yesterday and spent several minutes viewing the Xbox video reel on an Xbox kiosk... and, I must admit, I was under-whelmed, to say the least.

First off, background aliasing (albeit not as bad as the PS2) was clearly visible in nearly every game on the reel. Granted, this was crappy 3rd or 4th generation VHS playback, but the fact that it was discernable under such lo-res conditions, I think is cause for concern.

None of the games "wowed" me. There was a big "me, too" feel to almost everything I saw. The chunk of Halo I viewed reminded me of the outdoor scenes from GoldenEye. Amped looked remarkably like SSX and even the much-hyped, Gotham Street Racer, had nothing on GT3. Munch looked pretty good, but was choppy in places. And, let's not even get into the ports from EA and the rest, since it looks like ZERO effort was put into enhancing them for Xbox.

Jet Set Radio Future, on the other hand, looked splendid indeed in all of its cell-shaded glory and was the one true standout of the bunch! (Maybe Sega has a better handle on Bill's hardware than the other guys?)

When all is said and done, I saw NOTHING of the caliber of Star Wars: Rogue Leader, anywhere on the Xbox reel.

We can discuss hardware specs until we're blue in the face, but if these are the games and this kiosk is the presentation that Microsoft is banking on to sell boatloads of Xboxes, then they better get back to the drawing board, IMHO.

Gary

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#14 of 26 Dean Cooper

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Posted August 03 2001 - 11:39 AM

Gary I don't really think its fair to judge uncompleted games that are being run on non-final systems. I bet you'll change your mind once we get closer to the end of Sept or so. MS is letting the developers hang it out there while the big N keeps everything secret until what ever they are hiding looks good. That's why we haven't seen any actual real-time game play of Metroid and why they are only going to show a video tape of it at spaceworld instead of having a GCN show it off.

Dean


[Edited last by Dean Cooper on August 03, 2001 at 06:41 PM]

#15 of 26 Morgan Jolley

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Posted August 03 2001 - 01:47 PM

Actually, the video from last year's Spaceworld (with WaveRace, Pokemon, Mario, Luigi, Samus, Zelda and Gannon) was a CG video that was put together really quickly. The video from Metroid was not actually from it, and they haven't been working on it for that long, I think just around a year (I'm not sure though). Keeping games in hiding until they look good is a better strategy than showing incomplete games on incomplete hardware. Also, some of those games should be near finished (the ones in the X-Box reel) since they need to be completely done by October. The developers received final X-Box's the day before E3 (MS announced it at a press conference) but were not able to use them to compile good demos in time for the show. They should at least have some polished gameplay footage (not Photoshop kind of polished) to put on the video. To me, thats just sloppy. I can see where that $500 million is going...

#16 of 26 Calvin Watts III

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Posted August 03 2001 - 03:21 PM

First things first: Titan A.E. , while maybe not being the most expensive animated film ever, it was a close second & did horrible at the box office with a total US Grossof just under $23,000,000. At least Square can use the excuse for the FF flop by using their new studio for more content for their games...


Now..Camp...

I was just trying to make the point that you did mention: that in reality, the differences in the 4 next-gen systems aren't all that much when you think about it - it will be the games that will ultimately decide which system will be the "best".

I learned a while ago ( back in the Atari/Intellivision days when I was growing up, & reminded by the Genesis/SNES era ) that some games are just made better for a specific system. ( I remember the whole Mortal Kombat debacle...Genesis had the blood, but the SNES looked better...) Also, you should never go by just word of mouth, ads, or magazine reviews (even the old EGM..) of upcoming games to buy a system for that specific game...( I cajoled my ex into buying me a Sega CD system just so I could play Darkseed.(yes...I know : o )..which was advertised & reviewed, and then canceled...thank God that a few decent games came out for it after I bought it... Posted Image

Of course I want to see advancements in each console generation - even though I love playing classic games, comparing the old Atari Arcade Star Wars to the GC Rogue Leader wouldn't even make a blip on most people's radar screens. I'm guess I'm just sick of the whole "the system that I like is gonna be great, and the system you like sucks" rants. The X-Box & the GC are going to have good games...Nintendo has an easier road to hoe because this is old hat to them.

As for Mr.Gates...if he thinks he has the hardcore gaming community in his corner, well he'd better sent some of that $500 million into cracking the whip and getting those games into shape.

The end result will be in November, when we will all find out for ourselves if the games/systems come close to all of the hype... Posted Image

PS: Troy..I'm going to do another post on the systems owned...I'll list what I have there Posted Image


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#17 of 26 pitchman

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Posted August 03 2001 - 04:19 PM

quote:
I bet you'll change your mind once we get closer to the end of Sept or so. [/quote]

Dean, I really hope you're right. I am not questioning the capabilities of the hardware. On paper, it looks very impressive and I'm sure the Xbox will be a fine piece of gaming machinery come November.

What I am questioning is the marketing wisdom of Microsoft who sticks a rather poorly produced demo reel in every single Toys 'R' Us (where unsuspecting kids and parents all across America will see it) which may well have more of a negative impact than a positive one on people interested in the Xbox.

quote:
Gary I don't really think its fair to judge uncompleted games that are being run on non-final systems. [/quote]

I agree 100%! If the games aren't ready, why put them on display in kiosks all across the country?? You don't get a second chance to make a first impression, and for many folks (myself included), this is the first opportunity we get to see the Xbox in action...

It seems like Microsoft has drawn a line in the sand that no matter what, the Xbox WILL launch in November. I know there is a lot at stake, but in the current competitive marketplace, a "rushed" Xbox launch may ultimately have more of a negative impact on Microsoft's bottom line than a delayed one.

People get pissed at Nintendo because of their seemingly endless delays when it comes to hardware introductions. We hate them for it, but when all is said and done, Nintendo waits until they feel all the pieces are in place to ensure a successful system launch. Consequently, the GameCube arrives in 2001, rather than 2000, but with stunning launch titles like Star Wars: Rogue Leader.

Gary

[Edited last by Gary Cianciosi on August 03, 2001 at 11:45 PM]
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#18 of 26 Dean Cooper

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Posted August 03 2001 - 05:20 PM

Your right Gary, MS shouldn't be displaying games in kiosks yet and I think the one you saw was something that the store you were in put together. I haven't seen any posts besides yours that mention one. Although I have seen the video here playing on a TV in a EB thats just displaying every console and PC platform games all mixed together which indeed had some footage of Xbox games. Its hard to say really. I just think that if MS was behind what you saw, there should be a buzz about everyone else seeing one too. I bet you its just footage taken from E3. just a guess though.

Dean



#19 of 26 pitchman

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Posted August 03 2001 - 06:02 PM

Dean, I didn't attend E3, so I don't know what videos Microsoft showed there. I can say with some certainty, that however or wherever this reel was created, it is very much Xbox specific from start to finish.

The reel opens with "Matrix-style" green-on-black, vector-ish animation (which personally, I think is a cliche) used to "reveal" the console and the controller. More of this animation is used throughout the presentation as a linking element between clusters of game clips. Also, the reel sports a continuous audio soundtrack.

In the end, I have to believe this was conceived solely as an Xbox video. Sony or Nintendo would not want their products displayed against this video backdrop - - the green on black just screams Matri... err, Xbox! Posted Image

Gary

[Edited last by Gary Cianciosi on August 04, 2001 at 09:24 AM]
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#20 of 26 Morgan Jolley

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Posted August 03 2001 - 06:06 PM

I'm a little upset that MS hasn't had a better showing of the console thus far. Nintendo has screwed up before and knows what to do, Sony has just screwed up with the PS2 (complaints about programming for it, bad launch titles, etc.) and won't make those mistakes in the future. The problem with the X-Box is that they are making some just plain stupid small mistakes, rather than a few big mistakes. Showing incomplete games at GameStock was the start of it. Who wants to see excellent graphics run at lower than 50 fps with horrible control? That is what they are doing--showing things that aren't ready to be shown. Nintendo knows better and is acting more professional at this point. They slowly release info, playable demos, screenshots, and then they keep their mouth shut. Metal Gear Solid 2 had so many videos and pics from it floating around everywhere, and they decided to stop showing anything until its release because it was a good decision (less info is found out about the game, no clues as to storyline released, and more hype at its release). Why not show it off when it will be a good idea to show it off?


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