Juxtapositions: Long Lasting Freshness

I realized the other day just how much more life some of the previous generation consoles have compared to their fathers.

The Super NES looms large in my memories, but I only really used one regularly from 1991-1996, playing my old games from then on. I still play SNES games, of course, but it’s hard to argue that the console is still ‘active’ in any way in my life.

The PlayStation also seemed to live forever, by its true tenure was 1997-2001, basically. I can’t remember getting any ‘new’ Playstation games after that point anyway, and those that I got after November 2000 weren’t played on my real PSX anyway.

Meanwhile, the PlayStation 2 doesn’t seem that old. It has aged more gracefully than any console I can remember. I think part of that has to do with reaching a point where more power refines graphics rather than revolutionizes them. I own two next-generation consoles, but good PS2 games still don’t look like garbage. Try saying that about PSX or N64 games in 2001, even.

But it is old. Very old. I got it for Christmas in December of 2000. I was still in high school. I had a semester left. Shit, I was still dating Ryann of all things. Better yet, Bill Clinton was president. Travis and Sarah were just barely dating. And yet this year I got a new PS2 game for the eight straight Christmas. No other console has had that kind of staying power, ever, in my home. Between getting Summoner back in 2000 and now I have obtained two degrees and three-fourths of another, dated every girl I ever have, and moved twice.

Yet somehow I think that this is the last Christmas it will have. Maybe I’ll get God of War 2 or something finally next year, if I want it. Maybe I’ll keep it around like I did the PSX by collecting the RPGs I missed like Disgaea 2. Who knows. But the poor thing is finally starting to show its age. This year it was the first time it spent a good deal of time on ‘off’ rather than ‘standby’ for the first time.

This is what makes me so mad about the PlayStation 3. I was a huge Nintendo fanboy until I saw the depth of content arriving for the PlayStation and fell from grace. There is no doubt that the PSX won my heart that generation. While the PlayStation 2 had to share my affections with the GameCube, it was still a console that did a lot right. I’d call them tied in my esteems. Meanwhile, the PlayStation 3 is an expensive sack of shit, and I have chained my non-Nintendo horse to the (awesome) successor to last generation’s worst piece of hardware. And how’s this for pathetic: I’ve done it primarily because of RPGs.

There are some honorable mentions. I still play GameCube games, but there were no new ones this year. That means 2001-2006 for the GCN. Of course, depending on your view of the Wii, the GameCube is the only console I’ve bought twice (yes, my original PlayStation still reads discs and my launch PS2 still works). If you play that way, I mean.

The true honorable mention goes to the GameBoy Advance. I got that back in 2001, and I got another game for it this year, albeit it really for my DS. If I get more GBA software next year, it’ll tie with the PS2. But I’m not sure if you can really have home and handheld consoles compete against each other.

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