I listen to 20 podcasts. I know that sounds like a fake number, but I’m planning on updating the “About” page to include a list of all of the podcasts that interest me. One of these is Infendo Radio, a podcast by Scott Johnson and Blake Snow. They do a weekly podcast that usually runs about 20-30 minutes. Today, I listened to their latest show, #29 (ExtraLife) (Infendo) while I was mowing the lawn, and remember having strong disagreements with many of the points raised. Since I was out mowing the lawn, I couldn’t write about my issues until now, and am listening to the podcast for the second time as I write this to make sure I remember all of the things that I had a problem with.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the show, but this episode in particular managed to irritate me enough to the point that I needed to make myself heard. Some of these aren’t necessarily disagreements, but are instead examples of me agreeing with them on a whole, but disagreeing with some of their thoughts about minor aspects. In case you’re wondering why I’m not citing specific examples, the sad truth is that, while I remember getting angry/frustrated at some of the things that they said, I’ve forgotten why, which is the real reason I’m listening to the show as I’m writing this.
#1 – The uproar about the announcement by Miyamoto about the Wii, that “The hardware is basically a Gamecube”. First of all, not a lot of people really knew that the Wii was really a gamecube. I myself thought that during E3 ’06, someone snapped a shot of one of the Wiis on display, and the photo showed a gamecube with a bunch of wires coming out of it. I personally figured that this was because they didn’t have working hardware yet, and that the Gamecube was attached to some of the finished Wii parts, or something similar to that. Secondly, the fact that a Nintendo executive is literally saying that the Wii is going to be what is already on the market, except with a special control scheme, is in no way good news. People are reacting the way that they are because it’s now been proven true that what you’re basically paying $250 for is a new controller. Third, when you say that “Wii hardware is basically a Gamecube”, think of what is really being said from person to person; that “Wii is basically a Gamecube”. The concept that Wii is Gamecube 2.0 is not a good thing – need I remind you of the Gamecube’s horrible sales? I’m not saying that I think of the Wii this way, but if it gets into nongamer’s heads that Wii = Gamecube + “that remote thing” with a $250 price tag, Nintendo is going to have a problem, especially when someone like Miyamoto comes out and literally says just that.
#2 – “2 cents in 60 seconds” For those of you who don’t listen to Infendo Radio, this is a user-generated segment from someone who’s name is one that I am unable to spell. It’s pronounced “Fessworks”. The following is taken from that segment of the podcast – “The 360 is essentially an upgraded Xbox, with an upgraded successful Live, but lacks proper backwards support and reuses the same old interface. Nothing really new, more of a facelift from the Xbox”. There are so many things wrong with that! Let’s break this down into bite-sized chunks, shall we?
“The 360 is essentially an upgraded Xbox” – The 360 is completely and totally different than the original Xbox. The Xbox had 2 disc drives; a drive for the games and a drive that you needed a remote not included in with the console to use that could play DVDs and music CDs, while the 360 has one drive that can do all of that. The 360 also has USB ports, and the original Xbox had nothing of the kind. Also, the 360 can be placed vertically, unlike the original Xbox which could only run if placed horizontally. The 360 has a removeable hard drive, while the original Xbox had an internal storage device.
“with an upgraded successful Live” – It’s the same service. I can play Halo 2 online on my 360 against people who have the original Xbox. The difference in the XboxLive experience between the two consoles is that Xbox360 users have the ability to create free silver accounts, which allow them to do everything except actually play online. This allows users who don’t feel like paying $50 per year to download dashboard updates, patches, demos, and videos, as well as voice chat and video chat. The only upgrades to the Live service were XboxLiveArcade and Gamercards. For those of you who don’t know, XboxLiveArcade is a collection of games that you can download free demos of and then (if you’re impressed with the game) download the full version for a price usually hovering around $10 if you convert MicrosoftPoints to cash. (MicrosoftPoints exist so that there can be a single unit of currency placed on premium downloadable content in the XboxLiveMarketplace. This way, the only difference between one country to another on XboxLive is the exchange rate between cash and MicrosoftPoints.) When I use the term “Gamercards”, I’m referring to the addition of Gamertiles (or, as they’re more commonly referred to, “Gamerpics” or “Gamerpictures”), Gamerscore, Zones, and Reputation. If you don’t know what those are, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to explain them, but that would be too long for this post.
“but lacks proper backwards support” – I think that an emulator that is updated every couple months is “proper” enough for me, especially when it improves the original Xbox games and manages to render them in high-definition. Besides, Wii has it pretty easy since it’s basically a Gamecube.
“and reuses the same old interface” – I’m sorry, but this is where I flame:
I’m really hoping that by “interface” you mean “controller”, although I really hope you don’t mean that either:
“nothing really new, more of a facelift from the Xbox” – No. Just no. Nothing new? I couldn’t video chat on my original Xbox, because the original Xbox didn’t have a camera. I wasn’t able to play DVDs with the same drive as I can play my games. With the 360, I can put in a music CD, rip the tracks onto my 360 hard drive. I can then take those tracks and play them in the background while playing a game, and the game will automatically replace the background track with my audio. If I don’t want to use a CD, I can plug in my iPod or any other mp3 player on the market. If I don’t want to do any of that, I can easily network my 360 and PC or Mac, and stream the tracks from there to my 360. With Windows Media Center, I can stream videos too. The 360 allows me to plug in just about any digital camera and save the images to the hard drive. I can then set any one of those images as my dashboard background. “nothing really new”? I disagree.
#3 – Comparing a movie to a game console? No – if a movie tanks, film studios are fine. Yeah, they lose money, but they can make it all back with a good solid blockbuster. The Wii is Nintendo’s livelihood; if it fails, Nintendo will be in trouble. Sure, it’s not as if they’ll go out of business, but it’s a bigger impact when the time in between game consoles is as long as it is. I’m surprised that Nintendo isn’t concerned, since they were beaten by both Microsoft and Sony last generation…in my opinion, they have no good reason to be as confident as they seem to be.
To make myself clear – I’m excited for the Wii. There’s a very good chance I’ll get one. To make sure that there are no ruffled feathers, and so that people don’t misundestand me, I love Infendo Radio, it’s great. I have no problem with Fessworks, or however it’s spelled, or the “2 cents in 60 seconds” segment. If anyone disagrees with me, either comment below, or go ahead an email me at email@example.com.