Revolution in the air

Until last weekend, I’d never owned a games console. My first computer was a ZX Spectrum, mumble-something years ago, after that it was a PC (8Mhz processor, CGA graphics, 5.25″ discs, dot matrix printer and all), and it’s been PCs ever since. Friends had Amstrad CPCs, BBC Micros or Spectrums in the 8-bit days, then PCs, Amigas or Atari STs when they came in. I think most of us played the classic trump card of computers being educational rather than merely game-playing devices (“it’ll be really useful for school!”), then proceeded to spend the majority of time playing games on them anyway. Course, they turned out to be pretty educational anyway, even if only as a by-product of games. Learning BASIC to code games (or get a few lines into doing so before realising it was actually a bit tricky) and type in listings from magazines (lavishly illustrated with square-jawed heroes and lethal robots along with an amazing bomb-defusing back story that explained exactly why you were trying to guess a number between 1 and 10, with startling true-to-life graphics responding to your guess with “Higher!” or “Lower!”), making databases of D&D characters, fitting extra memory (when games got so advanced that 512k just didn’t cut it any more and you needed that full 640k), getting to grips with networking (for multiplayer Doom). But I digress. By the mid-90s, when the PlayStation arrived to shift consoles from being more child-oriented to the “lifestyle” demographic, I was firmly ensconced in PC gaming and never really saw the need for a console over and above that, especially as the line between PC and console gaming became progressively more blurred with further generations of consoles, culminating in the XBox 360 and PS3 being (very broadly) comparable in both cost and capability to a PC.

Course, there’s another current generation console, and the more astute reader may already have, through Holmes-ian powers of deduction, worked out what’s coming based on the first sentence of this post, this post, some threads of hair on my jacket that could only have come from a certain breed of rabbit and my guilty start (that I thought I’d ingeniously concealed as a coughing fit) at the mention of the word “Zapata”. Yes, I now have a Wii. After deciding I’d get one for Guitar Hero 3, it was a pretty short leap to figuring that prices are unlikely to drop much in the next three months or so until its release, so why not pick up the console itself now (after all, there may be a terribly shortage of Wiis then, caused by… I dunno, giant Wii-eating badgers maybe. You never know.) The Wii really is a revolution (Nintendo’s original name for the console; when the new name was announced I, like an awful lot of other people, thought Revolution would’ve been a great name and “Wii” was the product of a deranged mind, but in hindsight, it works. Apart from anything else, it’s much easier to Google for…) It’s almost infectious in the way it spreads, everyone who plays on one seems to end up getting one, and it turns out I’m not immune either.