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Generation Next

With the battle lines drawn between the Xbox and the PS2, Nintendo’s GameCube found itself woefully overlooked. The young adult market that had embraced the PlayStation 2 and Xbox seemed to snub the GameCube as a cutesy kids console that somehow questioned their maturity. Although in reality the fact that these gamers thought this way said more about their lack of maturity than a small purple Nintendo console ever could.

With the GameCube Nintendo finally moved over to optical media, but being Nintendo it had to be a proprietary format and size. The reduced size discs made it possible for the GameCube to be tiny compared to its competitors and Nintendo capitalised on this by equipping the console with a carrying handle. The GameCube also sported a truly excellent controller, which was hardly surprising considering how good the N64 controller had been.

But while the PS2 continued to dominate and the Xbox gained strength, the GameCube carried on being largely overlooked, which is a shame. Back in February I reviewed Resident Evil 4, which was a GameCube exclusive at the time – anyone who says this game is for kids needs their head examined. Resident Evil 4 is also one of the best games I’ve ever played, but of course now that it has been launched on the PS2, you don’t need to own a GameCube to experience it.

And here we are, back in the present day, and looking around my living room I can see that it's home to two Xbox consoles (one chipped US version and one UK), a chipped PlayStation 2 and a GameCube. Of course I also have a gaming PC, not to mention a Sony PSP and Nintendo DS - Christ I’m really sounding like old Tony now! But my point is that I barely have time to play games on all the platforms at my disposal now, so do I really need an Xbox 360? The short and simple answer is HELL YEAH!

In my opinion you really can’t have too much of a good thing, and I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on the 360. In fact I’m currently holding my breath, waiting for Microsoft to get me an early dev console so that I can get to grips with Joanna Dark once more. It’s great that the Xbox 360 launch is coinciding with the somewhat overdue appearance of HD televisions in the UK too, meaning that the image produced by the new machine really will be a massive improvement over the current hardware.

But the best thing about the Xbox 360 launch is that us European gamers aren’t going to have to wait months before getting our paws on hardware, like we have in the past. This time the US launch date will only be a week or so before the European launch! Unfortunately we won’t be receiving the same treatment when Sony launches the PS3 next year, or when Nintendo releases its Revolution. One thing is for sure, the launch of the Xbox 360 will herald the next generation of video gaming, and despite the fact that I’ve been here many times before, I can’t help but find the prospect very exciting indeed.

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