The Price of Gaming.

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I used to consider myself a gamer.  I guess I still do but not anywhere in the league of those of you who sit home all day long and spend countless hours playing games, whether for pleasure or competitively.  I am the generation that started off with Atari 2600 or Colecovison; that marveled and bought the NES; that jumped at the the chance for the SNES; that dropped hundreds of quarters into Street Fighter II arcade machines.

I currently have a PS4 and previously wrote about my love affair with that glorious machine and how much I loved gaming now that I am an adult with kids.  Prior to my PS4, I had an Xbox 360 and before that, the original Xbox.  I loved those machines but chose the PS4 because it was, to me, the better system and had the better games.  I still stand by that assertion.

This past weekend at E3, Microsoft unveiled their mid-cycle system which was formally nicknamed “Project Scorpio”.  This new machine would be leaps about bounds better than the current Xbox One S and would have true 4K gaming and resolution at 60FPS and a bunch of other things that I don’t understand.  But here’s what I do understand: The Price.  The price is, to me, a very real factor when making a decision to purchase a new game system.   Of course, there is the personal preference from one system over the other, what systems your friends and what system-exclusive games are out there.  But price is pretty high and this is where, to me, Xbox dropped the ball.

Fuck that.  They fumbled the damn thing.  Because the new Xbox, a mid-generation upgrade, will go on sale (November 7) for $499USD/$599CAD.  Since I am in Canada, I will speak to my complete shock at the $600 sticker price for a gaming system.  That’s fucking nuts!

So, lets assume that the system comes with one controller and a game.  In Canada, after taxes, you’re dropping a mind-numbing $677.99 on this system. Are you kidding me, Microsoft?  That’s way too much for a gaming system, regardless if it makes all the games look better than real life and regardless if it is the fastest gaming experience I will ever have.  I cannot imagine anyone in their right mind being ok with removing close to $700 from their pocket for a game system (I’m not even going to add in the amount for new games that you would want to get, but if we did, you’re likely looking at dishing out about $1,000 all-in).

I love gaming.  And I know that this system is likely not targeted at me.  I concede that without hesitation.  A quick Google search told me that the average age of gamers in the US is 30-38.  I’m 41 and while I don’t have many friends in the low-30’s age range, I know enough that no one in that age group would drop $1,000 for this system.  Especially a mid-cycle system.  And this is partly what boggles my mind.

How many people are really dying to play their games in 4K?  I can only imagine that this caters to those with massive disposable income or those who game professionally.  Other than that, I don’t get who this system is for.  If you want to know more about the system and its internal workings, check out here and/or here.

I personally think it’s absurd that Microsoft is pricing the Xbox One X this high.  Casual gamers (and, lets face it, most of us are just that) know that if you are to stack up games vs. movies vs. books vs. whatever else, games are the better investment in your time against the money you spend.  Go to a movie, its gonna be $40-$50 for 2-3 hours times.  Buy a game for $80, the campaign is going to be about 8-12 hours, and then countless hours with multiplayer (if that’s your thing).

I don’t care what special tricks the new Xbox One X can do.  Its not a next-generation system therefore is not appealing to me at all.  Microsoft, you made two big mistakes with this system –  the ridiculous price.  And you should have kept the ‘Project Scorpio’ name.  That/s a fucking bad-ass name.  But not for $600 CAD.

It’s Friday! *Yawn*

Ah, Friday’s.  I love you.  There was a time that I would get home from work on a Friday afternoon, maybe have a beer or two, hang out, have some dinner, watch some TV, maybe play video games, head out with friends and be out until 3am.

Those days are long gone, my friends. Kids literally zap the energy out of you. I have a tough time staying up past 10pm on most days. Granted, I am up an a ridiculous time each weekday morning (4:20am).  But I try so hard to hold on to some semblance of “fun” on a Friday or Saturday night.  I have been known to push the bed-time on those two days to 11pm, midnight.  Shit, when I was on vacation over the xmas holidays, I was hitting 1am and loving it!

But vacation time ended and I’m back to struggling on a Friday night.  I find that I will do whatever I can to stay awake – including drinking a couple cups of coffee – just so I can remember what it was like to be a pre-kid adult.

So what do I do with my time? Well, I try to watch a movie and/or game a little. I find, though, that I need to plan out my movies before hand. Otherwise, I’m wasting time looking at my collection or flipping through Netflix and next thing I know close to an hour has passed and I haven’t started a damn thing.

So tonight, its my mission to be a big boy, stay up late and watch a movie.  Of course, as I type this at 2:25pm, I’m yawning like I haven’t slept in a week.  Fucking life with kids, eh?

I Love My PS4

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When I turned 40 last year, all I wanted was to get back into gaming.  I missed it.  I legitimately missed throwing in a game and losing countless hours.  I had been a gamer since, well…since the original NES came out.  Even before that, now that I think of it, as I had (and still have in storage) the Atarii 2600.

As a “grown up” with two kids, the nostalgia for gaming was getting more and more intense the longer I was away from it. I wanted the tactile feel of the controller in my hands, the excitement of boss levels and finishing the game.  The fucking multiplayer options.  Yeah, I wanted to get back into gaming.  I hadn’t been gone that long…maybe five, six years, but the need – the itch – was calling me back in.

I remember the first time I got my hands on an NES.  I had gotten it for xmas, after most of my friends had gotten one, but I didn’t care. I loved that machine. Then I had the Super Nintendo (still think this is one of the best gaming consoles ever created) and the Sega Genesis.  I took some time off from purchasing new consoles like the N64 because I always thought that the SNES and Genesis were more than enough for what I was doing. I thought the Nintendo GameCube looked ridiculous.

The next console I grabbed was the Sony Playstation or, as its  come to be known, the PS1.  I loved that machine and the games were just phenomenal.  Of course, jumping from an SNES to a PS1 is akin to going from a iPhone4 to an iPhone7.

As a kid, the ‘console wars’ were between Nintendo and Sega.  And while Sega had some great commercials that you and your pals would laugh about, generally it was Nintendo’s world.  And then in the early 2000’s the console wars resumed with Sony’s PS2 and Microsoft’s Xbox and I went for the latter.  I grabbed that massive not-really-sexy but still-kinda-sexy black and green brick of fucking gaming goodness, brought it home, hooked it up and threw on Halo. And my mind was blown.

Of course, after the Xbox and the PS2, each company threw down the gauntlet again and released the Xbox 360 and the PS3. And again, I went with Microsoft and the 360.  I really, really loved Halo and the knowledge that Halo 3 was being released for the 360 made it the top reason I was going to get in on that console.

I wish my memories of the 360 were overly happy and joyous but the reality is I was a victim of the horrendous RROD (Red Rings of Death) on three different occasions.  As I write this, I am in possession of my 4th 360 which I still, on occasion, play.  But for the most part, my kids now play it.

Now I have my PS4 and I cannot stop gushing about the damn thing.  It gets me excited more than my wife does.  Now, why didn’t I want the Xbox One? Well, the fact that I had so many problems with the 360 really left a sour taste in my mouth.  And the fact that a few of my friends had PS4’s helped lean me that way. But also…I wanted to play some of the Sony-exclusives out there like Uncharted.

All this is to say, I love gaming.  I fucking love it.  I love how intricate and beautiful and artistic the games have gotten.  I’ve had my PS4 for about 9-months and most of the games I have played are experiences and that, for me, is a whole new…well, experience.  I’ll discuss more on the games I’ve been playing later on but guys/gals..if you are in your 30’s or 40’s and thinking about getting back to gaming but just not sure…do it. Trust me, just do it. No matter what console you end up getting, I hope you’re as madly in love with your machine as I am.

Welcome to Growing Up Forty.

This blog’s original intention was to express my dismay at turning 40. But then I turned 40 and I thought “well, this isn’t so bad”. So on the shelf it stayed.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the things that I like to do – watch movies. Read comics. Play video games. Watch TV.  And while two of those on the list are done by most people, I get quite a few comments about the other two (comics and gaming, if you weren’t sure) and their relation to my age.

But why?  I love comics. I love playing video games.  Both of which, I will say, I’ve gotten back into within the past couple of years.  And I’m loving that part of my life again, which had been missing for a number of years due to marriage and two small kids.

Now, I’m still married and the kids are still small…but not as small.  So I have the time to read and game and watch Netflix and I want to talk about it.  And hopefully you do too.  Just because I, and maybe you, are 40-ish, doesn’t mean we cant enjoy the things we did when we were younger, right?

There will be other posts on here…especially what its like to do these things while being a parent with two young kids.  But I hope you keep coming back and most of all, have fun. And comment.  And share the blog.

Thanks for reading!

Rob