Itís taken me a while to allow myself back into the gaming world. Having spent about 5 years as a freelance games reviewer for The Independent I lost my enthusiasm for the gaming industry in general somewhere between writing copy for the banal Mary Kate and Ashley: Mystery Mall (0.5 Stars) and the unending line of Marvel vs Capcom beat-em-ups. Donít get me wrong, I know I was privileged to have held such a job for so long, and from such a young age, but come on, what would you do if you were confronted with a game like this?
So, after a few years of steering clear of all new consoles and closing my eyes to the shiny new games that came out, in the last year I finally gave in to temptation and embraced the world of next gen consoles; namely the Nintedo Wii and, very recently, the PlayStation 3. And funnily enough Iíve now found that I have less friends, less time on my hands and less money. Monetary and social-life issues aside, it must be said that Iíve not regretted a moment of owning either of these two machines.
The Wii has undoubtedly changed the way we think about gaming. Although motion sensor games were far from new when it was released, it was the fact it got people playing games in a far more natural way: swinging golf-clubs and tennis racquets, firing off arrows and even cooking up a stir-fry.
There is, of course, an inherent danger as these games become more physical, and that is the risk of injury. In fact this very fate befell one of Altogether Digitalís developers quite recently, as he attempted to smash the world record for the hammer event in Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games. Thankfully he has since made a full recovery, and has even gone on to break the offending world record.
And the future only looks more exciting for the Wii, with the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Unleashed game already getting the gaming world chomping at the bit.
In contrast, the PlayStation 3 has had a relatively muted existence so far. Like the Wii, the PS3 has motion sensor with its wireless six-axis controller, but this is yet to be successfully utilised in any of its new titles. It is the highest powered games console in the world, with more processors than you can shake a stick at and a graphics card that makes real-life look bland, and this has resulted in some very good games: Call of Duty 4 and Assassinís Creed particularly worthy of note.
However, these games donít push any boundaries - players go through the usual motions of running, jumping, firing, and figuring out puzzles as they did on the PS2 games, just with far superior graphics. Compare this to a game like Super Mario Galaxy and youíd be forgiven for wondering how Sony are justifying the £350 price tag theyíve slapped on their latest gaming beast.
The answer, however, may lie in longevity. Although many of the new Wii games are genre defining, can the motion sensor action really make up for the Wiiís lack of processing power on a permanent basis? And how many more games can companies invent that will allow users to play in new and innovative ways? The PS3, on the other hand, has yet to be fully exploited in terms of the power it offers, with Sonyís President of Worldwide Studios Phil Harrison claiming some time ago that ďnobody will ever use 100 percent of its capabilityĒ.
Admittedly we will probably be enthused for many months to come with the graphically wondrous but unashamedly unoriginal revamps of old favourites like Resident Evil and Grand Theft Auto, but I truly believe we are yet to see the best of the PlayStation 3. Besides, at least you can buy them easily at RRP in most highstreet shops.