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Have a happy happy gaming holiday

by Jon Peddie on 21 December 2005, 12:47

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Jon Peddie shares with us how lucky he and the folks at Jon Peddie Research are, and how we should all have some gaming fun this Christmas.

Jon Peddie Research

This year, like every year before it, is going to be the best year ever for fantastic game performance, exciting games, super powerful platforms, affordable prices, and community playing in both your living room and on line.

And next year will be even better – but why wait?

Because we have the best job in the world we get to play with these things, usually before anyone other than the developers. A few weeks ago we got a couple of Xbox machines to try out, and I’ve had to threaten Robert and Kathleen with turning off the electricity if they didn’t stop “testing” them and get back to work writing about them.

But then they pointed out that I’ve done nothing but “test” the 2.61 GHz dual core AMD FX 60 SLI with dual 7800GTXs in it since I got the power cord plugged in. And what a box it is, plus amazingly quiet, until you put it in hyper drive, and even then it’s not too bad.

So here we are on Mt Tiburon with toys all over the place, PSPs on top of PS2s, next to two generations of Xboxes, squeezed between game PCs. It’s game city, and from our point of view, no one is going home from the store sad this year. The less than white hot thermonuclear 7800 GTX 512 and X1800 XT cards like the 7800 GS and X1800 XT are just fine, as are the 6600GT and X1300. There’s a lot of value for the dinaro in those cards, and even if you can’t run all of special effects at high res, you can still have a whopping good time with the games, especially the less graphics challenging on line and RPG games. If you’re a FPS or racing fan, then you may have to put in a few extra hours of overtime to come up with the price of the high end boards.

But, if you’ve got a good monitor, or HDTV, for less than the price of a GTX or XT you can, well maybe you can, get an Xbox 360. We tried the 360 on three different displays, a conventional TV (yuk), the composite input of a 17-inch LCD monitor (yuk) the VGA input of the same monitor (yeah), and a 30-inch LCD HD TV (super yeah.) I recently finished Quake3 on the PC, and the other day tried it on the Xbox on the 30incher and it is to say the least, great! Tonight (sorry it’s not in time for this) we’ll try King Kong, which Ubisoft tells us is a little dark on the Xbox. But the racing games are simply spectacular – highlights, physics, and fast fast fast.

So its fun for one and all, at all budgets, and all game genre this year. And sure, none of its perfect, some discs have gotten scratched in 360s, some XTs haven’t lived up to the benchmark expectations that the web boys have been able to hit, and the GTX 512 has gone missing. But that by no means is the whole world nor should it be used as criteria for making a purchase decision. One of the problems in living in this world of information at the speed of light with a zillion people as sources is that we get overwhelmed with opinions, most of them not well thought out or accurate (this piece of course being one of the sterling exceptions.) The trick is to invest enough time doing your homework, and checking multiple sources (and make sure they’re not just echoes of the same diatribe.) If you do that (and I have BTW) you’ll find the acceptance of the add-in boards (AIBs), the 360, and the PSP, and the DS to be in general overwhelmingly favorable.

So uncle Jon recommends cracking open the piggy bank and running (don’t walk, even if you do have scissors) to the nearest store or web page and buy the biggest baddest game machine you can – I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

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