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2, Issue 3
November 22, 1999
the Mouth of Madness:
That darn Playstation 2
back to another fun-filled week of loonygames. This week is actually
one day shorter due to Thanksgiving, but don't worry, we'll still
give you four days of kick ass content that you won't find anywhere
else. Yeehaw! Because we update at Midnight, we'll actually have
content on Thanksgiving Day, just not on Friday the 26th. So enjoy
your holiday, and be sure to check back all week for some great
But enough about the site...I need to 'rant a little. Probably
the most significant thing to happen during our little (cough)
hiatus, was Sony's official unveiling of their Playstation 2.
If you missed all the fanfare (how could you?) here's a rundown
on the new system: it's called, as was expected, the Playstation
2. It plays DVD movies, is backwards compatible with the original
Playstation (including the controllers), it has no modem out of
the box, but it features a PCMCIA expansion slot, along with two
USB ports. Also announced were a bunch of launch titles, including
Gran Turismo 2000 (Sony), Tekken Tag Tournament (Namco),
and Street Fighter EX3 (Capcom). The system is expected
to sell for around $300 or so when it's released in the US at
the end of next year.
you have the dirt on the system.
as excited as I am about the hardware, I was very disappointed
with the launch lineup. Sony is going to launch the new system,
with, as far as I can tell, no "killer app" as it were.
The Dreamcast had several that contributed to its phenomenal launch:
Sonic Adventure (for the kids), House of the Dead 2
(for us zombie fans), Soul Calibur (for pretty much
everyone), Ready 2 Rumble and NFL 2K (for sports
fans). The Nintendo 64 had Mario 64...the Playstation 1
had, well, nothing. Which, of course, is why I didn't buy a PSX
until a good year and a half after its release.
there's even less reason to buy the new system. It's backwards
compatible, which means if you own a PSX and don't care for the
new games, you'll probably hold off. Unless of course, you want
it for a DVD player, in which case you'll buy it. The system is
expensive, no doubt about it. If the system does get released
at $300, it may sell phenomenally just because it's a relatively
inexpensive DVD player (and Sony's marketing machine, of course).
I'll buy it, since I'm an obsessive console collector, but I need
The most promising Playstation 2 games won't make the Japanese launch,
no question...but I'm holding out for the US one. Oddworld's Munch's
Oddysee has serious potential, and assuming it makes the US
launch will be one of the first games I purchase - and even if
it doesn't make launch, it will likely be first game to genuinely
get me excited. Maybe it's just me, but I can't help but yawn
at the current lineup of titles.
look at what we've got: Gran Turismo 2000. This is the
game everyone's screaming about, and frankly...I just don't care.
Sure, it's pretty, heck, it may be the best looking game I've
ever seen. But who cares? Under the hood, it's identical to Gran
Turismo 2 for the Playstation 1. And I don't plan on buying
that, either. What else do we have? There's Tekken Tag Tournament,
a game that I don't care for, but again, is very pretty. And of
course, Street Fighter EX3, the latest attempt by Capcom
to make the transition to 3D, which if it's anything like its
predecessors will be full of sloppy gameplay.
not forget the slew of really pretty dancing and musical titles
that are lined up for the system. Ladies and gentlemen, the most
powerful gaming machine on the planet is being used to power...Drum
Mania. Woo hoo! You laugh, but I'm not kidding. A number of
Playstation 2 titles are the kind of quirky Japanese games that
sell like hot-cakes over there, but likely won't make it to America.
An example: Popolocrois, one of those incredibly odd "girlfriend
simulators" that keep coming out in Japan (you may recall
that another game of this type accompanied the N64's Japanese
The Bouncer, which has a lot of people talking, bores the
heck out of me. It's going to be at least a year before we get
our first Final Fantasy title on the system, and boy, until
then, I just can't help but think the system's going to be barren.
Resident Evil? Wipeout? Heck, there hasn't even
been a Crash Bandicoot title announced for the system yet.
Which is very surprising, considering that Crash is the closest
thing to a genuine Playstation mascot (unless you count Lara Croft,
of course) and one of the first PSX 2 technology demos featured
an uber-high resolution Crash. Supposedly Naughty Dog, the developers
of the first batch of Crash games has decided to move onto other
projects and characters, but there are more games coming...when,
is of course the question.
Playstation 2 announcement felt like to me was Sony jumping the
gun on their own product launch. These games could not have been
in development for more than a year, and the end result is that
the first run of games are going to be identical to PSX 1 titles,
only with more polygons. Since it's going to take that much more
time and money to make a good PS2 game, we could be looking at
a really long time before the decent games start to arrive. They'll
most certainly arrive, no question about that, but it's going
to just plain suck waiting for them.
But of course, this doesn't really surprise me.
Sony has gotten really, really cocky lately. And admittedly, this
is for good reason, but that doesn't necessarily always mean the
best thing for us hardcore gamers. The executives at Sony know
that if they release the system with not a single game available,
it will sell very, very well based entirely on the brand name.
But, they also know that they've got some very stiff competition
on the way from Nintendo, and Sega's very successful US launch
with their Dreamcast. So what do they do? Rather than release
another game system, they're going to release a new entertainment
like a stupid buzzword, doesn't it? Well, get used to it. Because
that's precisely what the Playstation 2 is. If you've read any
interviews with the Sony bigwigs, they almost never mention that
the Playstation 2 is supposed to be a game console, because it's
not in their eyes. It's the hub of everything in your living room.
about it: the PSX 2 is a cheap DVD player. Give them credit for
that. It will soon have the ability to play movies downloaded
via cable modems (this is planned for 2001, but they made this
announcement alongside the console itself). It's Internet-ready
(with an additional PCMCIA card). Thanks to that FireWire port,
you can connect your video camera to the system (lord only knows
for what purpose, but they keep talking about it, so there is
definitely something planned). Oh, and it plays games, too.
going to try and sell the system to people who want a DVD player
and want to surf the web - not just gamers. Gamers will love it
because it's freaky-powerful, and eventually great games are coming.
But until they do, you'll be looking at one heck of an entertainment
appliance that plays some decent, if not great, games, and your
entire DVD movie library. Woo-hoo.
Jason "loonyboi" Bergman is hungry. Could somebody grab
him a sandwich?
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