This is our technology section, where we will bring you news and reviews about various pieces of technology. Our first installment is about something everybody does at some point or another--playing video games.
Science and math are fun, but what happens when you need a break? In today's market, there are two main platforms of video games--computer, and console (that you hook up to your TV). While they may appear very similar, and many games are made for both platforms, there are in fact some very different features in each of them.
Firstly, there is the big difference in price. While you may pay over three thousand dollars for a good multimedia computer, a top-of-the line gaming console is at most 200 dollars. In addition, consoles will stay state-of-the-art much longer than computers--today's powerhouse is tomorrow's trash. Computer games are a bit cheaper on average, but that is offset by the giant price tags on some other productivity programs. Now, that three thousand dollars is paying for much more than a gaming console. The diversity of things you can do with a computer is simply amazing. So, if all you want is to play games, the console wins the price war, but there are many other factors to consider.
One of these is standardization. On a gaming console, you never have to worry if you have a powerful enough processor, or if you have enough RAM. Everybody's system has the same specs, and game developers know exactly what they are. Also, you don't need to worry about installing, configuring, or anything else. You buy a game, you plug it in, and you play. You want a new controller? Just get one and plug it in--there's no hardware or software conflicts.
Now, computers do have some things going for them. One, many people own a computer for reasons other than gaming, and end up buying games just to fill time, or rest in between working. This is a huge market that single function consoles don't have. Another plus for computers is storage space. On most console games you have a very limited number of saved files and customizable options. The ideal platform would be something in between--not to expensive, but with, say, somewhere around 100 megabytes of storage space. That would be more than enough for any saved files. The biggest plus for computer games is shareware--you don't have to spend enormous amounts to get a game.
Finally, there is one more thing to consider--the overall quality of the games. And, by and large, the most intriguing games, the ones with the best story line, the games with the best play-control, and the ones with the absolutely most endearing characters come on console systems (sorry Microsoft). So, if all you want is games, games, games, a $200 console will do just fine.
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