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What's Wrong with Modern Console Design?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the too-much-shiny dept.

87

Next Generation is running an article looking at the design of the next-gen consoles. Article author Eric-Jon Rossel-Waugh argues that the new systems have lost their sense of identity, due to high monetary stakes and the need for consoles to 'say something' to the consumer. From the article: "In May, I finally saw a PlayStation 3 up-close - and dear lord. It looks like a space ship based on the template of a waffle iron. Whereas the Sega Genesis looked like you could top-load a CD into it, the PS3 looks like you could top-load a side of bacon. It was around this point that I realized, on the surface, none of the forthcoming-generation consoles really strikes me as a game machine. Building on the PS2, both Sony and Microsoft have chosen to outwardly craft their systems to resemble nothing so much as random hunks of pop electronics."

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87 comments

Synergy (5, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841747)

Whereas the Sega Genesis looked like you could top-load a CD into it, the PS3 looks like you could top-load a side of bacon.

So Sony's next marketing gimmick is obvious: The George Foreman PS3.

Re:Synergy (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841773)

Frickin...I didn't even read the article...

So I load it and BAM: Microsoft went the Apple route; Sony went the George Foreman one.

Great minds, same gutter...

Re:Synergy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15841844)

So Sony's next marketing gimmick is obvious: The George Foreman PS3.

Cool! Now, all they have to do is put a urinal in it nd I'd never have to get up!

Re:Synergy (1)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842163)

The PS3's tagline is the "Lean Mean Social Reducing Ultimate Gaming Machine"

Also: Mmmm, bacon.

Re:Synergy (1)

LuckyPossum (900219) | more than 7 years ago | (#15850762)

Extra obligatory link. [ps3grill.com]

Form over Function? (4, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841800)

I couldn't help but notice all his favorite consoles, excepting the Wii, are top-loaders (the NES gets this dubious distinction because of its door). Top-loading was a stupid idea that made consoles a pain to fit into entertainment centers. Using this particular metric, modern console design has gotten infinitely better - this generation, no one's got a top-loader.

I also think the 360's "ring of light" is both attractive and functional, so I'm not sure why he bags on that console so much.

-Erwos

Re:Form over Function? (2, Insightful)

twistedsymphony (956982) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841907)

I couldn't agree more... He complains that modern consoles look like random hunks of pop electronics.. but since when have they NOT looked like that. Consoles have always gone for pop styling. If they were going for the mundaine they'd look like my DVD player or my surround sound reciever. Rectangular in shape, 19" wide, Circular metal feet, tray loading with a standby light and an LCD. Consoles are still distinctivly consoles. They always followed the cultural stylings of the time, it just happens that our stylings used to be different then they are now.

Not to mention if you go pickup an older console they feel like cheap plastic toys. where at newer consoles feel like solid AV equipment. I think the turning point for that was the PS2. Maybe that's what he's talking about? I don't know I sort of like the fact that my White Xbox 360 is likly to STAY white unlike all my old grey consoles that now have a yellow tinge to some of their plastic parts.

Re:Form over Function? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#15845747)

When looking at last generation, comparing the XBox, PS2, and GC, I have to say I like the GC the best. It's a lot lighter and smaller than the others, and is great if you want to bring it to a friends house. The XBox is huge and clunky, and the 360 isn't any better. I've also known a lot of people who had problems with the XBox and PS2 DVD drives. Not sure if this is due to the tray loading design, but the GC was much more dependable. However, Nintendo loses marks for releasing the original GC in purple only. I'm sure they've learned from their mistakes, and are releaseing the Wii in an assortment of colours.

Re:Form over Function? (1)

ndb82 (736898) | more than 7 years ago | (#15845984)

Um, the original GC was released in black in addition to purple. It's still not the best selection, but it came out with the two options.

Re:Form over Function? (2, Insightful)

anjin-san 3 (983912) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841975)

he rags on the 360 because he's a bitter Sega fanboy. The entire article is about how none of the modern consoles look as cool as the genesis and dreamcast in his eyes.

Re:Form over Function? (5, Insightful)

badasscat (563442) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842174)

he rags on the 360 because he's a bitter Sega fanboy.

I'm normally skeptical whenever someone accuses a writer in the mainstream gaming press of being a "fanboy", but then I read this:

If any one company has really reveled in contemporary console design, that would probably be Sega. The Master System, Genesis, and Dreamcast all glory in their forms, the former two being off-kilter, ornate, attention-grabbing, and plastered with huge logos. Likewise, with its brilliant white shell, orange decorations, four controller ports, and sleek-yet-bubbly facade, the Dreamcast both declares defiantly, in a no-nonsense voice, that it is a game console and that it is meant as a conscious reversal of Sega's fortunes - sort of a new start for the company. (White and orange are the opposite of black and blue.)

Jesus!

Okay, I like most of Sega's designs well enough, but there's nothing any more special about any of them than anybody else's. And the Dreamcast was probably about as innocuous and nondescript as it gets; it's a plain white box of a top-loading CD player. (Besides, if the design declared such a bold "new start" for the company, it obviously didn't do a very good job of it.)

I've been around video gaming since 1977 when Atari's VCS hit the market. (No, I can't claim to remember the days of the Fairchild Channel-F, unfortunately.) I've seen, and in fact own, pretty much every console that's come along since then. I don't see how today's systems are really any different than systems of the past; consoles have always tried to capture something about the essence of the era in which they're produced while at the same time seeking to stand out from the pack. They've also always been consciously designed such that they don't fit in with other electronics in a standard rack system; the idea is to make the system the center of attention, without making it so gaudy or unreasonable that customers resist it.

So he doesn't like the PS3 or Xbox 360 (I didn't even read what he said about the Wii). Fair enough. But throughout history, for every console design success, there has been a corresponding failure. Whereas the Coleco Vision was an all-American hot rod of a look, the Atari 5200 was just a big, bulky triangle of a machine. He seems to have liked the NES, but he's apparently never seen the original red and gold trimmed FamiCom, one of the ugliest systems ever produced, with curves and edges in all the wrong places.

And so it goes. I don't think any of this is specific to any era. There are only good designers and bad designers, and personal tastes to go along with them. You may or may not like today's consoles, but they're no better or worse - and certainly not fundamentally different in concept - than the designs of yesteryear's consoles.

Re:Form over Function? (1)

Keith Russell (4440) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842835)

They've also always been consciously designed such that they don't fit in with other electronics in a standard rack system; the idea is to make the system the center of attention, without making it so gaudy or unreasonable that customers resist it.

True, that. I think this is one of the (many, many) things that dragged down 3DO. It looked like a regular CD player. Hell, Nuon devices were regular DVD players, with a half-assed "game console" grafted on.

Consoles are all about being trendy. In each generation, one console is just "cooler" than the others, whether it's the better one or not. Each generation reduces to a 2- or 3-horse race, so nobody wants to be the one that looks like mom's lame VCR.

Whereas the Coleco Vision was an all-American hot rod of a look, the Atari 5200 was just a big, bulky triangle of a machine.

Funny, I always looked at it the other way. The 5200, at least to my adolescent eyes, looked so futuristic, with it's sleek black wedge shape and brushed aluminum band. Colecovision, on the other hand, looked too much like an Intellivision, with it's boxy shape and top-mounted controller storage trays. (Of course, the fact that only one kid in the neighborhood had an Inty, while everybody else had 2600s, may have biased my fragile young mind.)

Atari got a lot of mileage from that wedge look, too, with the 2600 compact and 7800 in black, and the XE and ST computer lines in grey. Love it or hate it, you just knew it was an Atari on sight.

Now if we could only figure out where Jaguar went wrong...

Re:Form over Function? (1)

Kamineko (851857) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842857)

The ultimate console design has already been invented. You've probably seen pictures of it. Heck, most likely you're indirectly using one right now.


Presenting The ultimate console setup [kambach.net] . One's a Wii 2 (is that 'Number 2', or 'Wii-wii'?), one's a 720, one's a PS4.


Stacked.

Silent.

Lights tell you what's going on. Red for bad status, green for good status.

Optical tray drive on the left. (Like a normal CD drive, Xbox, Ps2, NOT LIKE THE MAC MINI.)

Controllers plug in to the front face or the right.

Switch on the side which changes which ones in the TV.


What else could you possibly want?

Re:Form over Function? (1)

Hangin10 (704729) | more than 7 years ago | (#15844365)

I think a lot of NES enthusiasts would disagree with this.

The cart goes in sideways on the door'ed models. There's an actual top-loader (the cart fits in from the top like the genesis). It doesn't have the 10NES lockout chip, but it's downside is an apparent error in the PPU resulting in a bad vertical bright line every 8 pixels.

Re:Form over Function? (1)

infiniter (745494) | more than 7 years ago | (#15845909)

I agree. My 360 sits upright next to my television, and unlike any other console I've owned, actually adds to the aesthetic of the entertainment center. It looks GOOD, it looks COOL, and I don't care if it's not instantly recognizable by everyone in the world as a game console.

Sony (3, Informative)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841819)

Sony made this distinction, to a large extent, not so much through original design or perspective or technology as through psychology. Their message: videogames are childish, uncool garbage. What we have to offer, it's barely even videogames. It's more like movies, or some other kind of entertainment. They reinforced the premise by generally refusing "old fashioned" 2D games on their systems, unless explicitly labeled as a retro package; through putting a heavy emphasis on "mature"-themed games, and by funneling Sony's limitless funds into years of blanket advertising - rarely showing actual game footage if CG was available, emphasizing the cinematic and familiar. The implication was, the less videogames in any sense resembled what you and I think of as videogames, the better. -- What's Wrong With Console Design? [next-gen.biz]

Well, this is something that goes along with another quote I read recently:

Are you still dicking around with lovingly detailed 2D sprites? Enormous Gouraud shaded triangles are the wave of the future! Glazed, emotionless eyes! Hair that's been hacked out of stone! Giant 3D booger men in diapers are what today's gamers want, and we'll give you the tools to craft those horrendously ugly damn creatures. Someone perfect time travel already so we can just bomb 1994. -- Worst Video Game Ads comments [1up.com]

This is why I get irritated whenever anyone says Nintendo censors (oh they do, and in very irritating ways) and Sony doesn't. Sony loves to censor, and they have from the beginning, but they are good at projecting an image, I'll give them that. You suck, Sony!

Re:Sony (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842252)

Parent is not a Troll, and shouldn't have been modded as such. It simply quotes two articles that have shown up in Slashdot Games recently, one of which is the very article I'm commenting on.

I guess the Sony fanboys really are scared.

Too bad its made up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15842558)

Sony did no such thing, I own DOZENS of 2d old school sprite games for the playstation. They were not boxed or branded as "retro" or any other such bullshit. RPGs were huge on the playstation, and until FFVII they were all 2d, and even after that many were. Most people think FFIX graphics beat FFVI graphics, its not a conspiracy, get over it.

The cool factor. (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841824)

Seems like the human psyche, especially in gamers, is fascinated with the future. So put your console in what looks like a box that should come from the future and what you've got is a device with capabilities which are artificially inflated to be better, merely because it looks like it's from the future. Which makes people think it's even better than it really might be. It's just marketing and business, and I think if you look around you'll see the same trend in almost every product. Look at boom boxes for example. Some of them really do look like spaceships. It's just too bad they can't fly.

TLF

Re:The cool factor. (1)

MrSquirrel (976630) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841873)

I should repackage Dreamcasts in aluminum ovals -- "Hey, what'cha got there?"
"Oh, this? Noooothing... just... FUTURE-BOX-STATION -- it's only the most amazing game machine ever. ...from the future."
"Ohhhh shiny, I WANT!"

Re:The cool factor. (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841902)

Heh the ovals would be worth more than the dreamcasts :P

Hell I would buy a couple, just for the ovals. Not sure why, but something about an aluminum oval just says "I AM FROM TEH FUTURE" and I want one.

TLF

Re:The cool factor. (1)

Shrithe (972491) | more than 7 years ago | (#15844305)

Except really, that's the look of now. The look of the future will be stranger still, and designed to conform to what the perception of even further in the future will look like.

Re:The cool factor. (1)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 7 years ago | (#15845544)

So by that logic Sony will sell millions!!!
it hast the largest shiney surface area, much betterer than that lame no shiney Xbox 360 and that possibly shiney but we don't know Wii thingy!

Fascinating.... (2, Insightful)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841835)

Were it posted on a thread here, it would be modded -1 troll ('One man's opinion on console design'....)

But submit that -1 comment as story and it gets a green light.

A lot of work went into the design and shape of the 360. It actually has an intentional theme (though that theme is not so clear if you lay it on it's side as I'm sure most do). I do not know about the PS3, but I saw a vid on the designers working throuh the aesthetics of both the box itself and the on-screen interface and it's pretty fun and functional.

If you lined a bunch of these devices up in a row and asked a chick to pick one, I think the 360 would come away with a plurality.

Re:Fascinating.... (1)

Ekarderif (941116) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841858)

I could never get th 360 to spin properly. :(

Re:Fascinating.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15841904)

"I think the 360 would come away with a plurality."

Are you talking about Japan - where the 360 is a dead product?

Or are you talking about Europe - where the 360 died in the market last quarter?

Or are you talking about the US - where the 360 is selling less than the first Xbox and getting outsold almost every month by the PS2?

"A lot of work went into the design and shape of the 360."

No there wasn't, the 360 is almost a straight copy of a Dell machine.

Re:Fascinating.... (0)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841965)

I mean EVERYWHERE there are women who are choosing it based solely on the aesthetics of the box. That's what this whole story is about.

Did you just cut and paste that reply? Did you even write it yourself?

Re:Fascinating.... (5, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842001)

"It actually has an intentional theme (though that theme ..."

Whenever I look at my Xbox 360, I am immediately reminded of my white Dell Optiplex GX110 that I had in my office circa 2001-2002.

Re:Fascinating.... (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842368)

Imagine that! Something reminds you of something else! I have to say, I'm astonished and amazed. Please, go on.

Re:Fascinating.... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842652)

Well, since you asked...it's not that it looks vaguely similar. It looks so much like my old Optiplex that the first thing I think is "WTF is my old office computer doing in my living room?" The cognitive dissonance makes Steve Jobs' reality distortion field look like a bad hit of Mexican ditch weed.

Re:Fascinating.... (1)

the phantom (107624) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842905)

That you had, past tense? Lucky... I work in an elementary school, and still have to service a boat load of GX110s (and GX1s, and Bondi Blue iMacs, and several Performas, and three Apple //es).

Zonk Even Anti-Sony Fanboys Are Embarassed By You (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15841837)

Honestly guy, sitting around each day looking for some snippet in some web article that you hope will bring down Teh Evil Sony and their Evil PS3 is just fucking pathetic.

Dude, get a life!

At best you've done nothing but embarrass yourself, and at worst you've probably helped Sony with a miniscule bit of positive PR from the backlash from your flood of anti-Sony FUD this year for the relatively small subset of consumers who actually read Slashdot.

Please Allow Me To Summarize The Article (5, Funny)

Valthan (977851) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841856)

Blah Blah Blah... Sony is the suxx0rz I
Page Load

Sony is horrible blah, Nintendo is OK, but not as good as Sega and MS

Page Load

I hate Sony, the never do it right, blah blah, Nintendo tries, I guess, but they still fail when compared to the best ever MS and Sega... blah blah


Once again another useless Zonk Post...

Re:Please Allow Me To Summarize The Article (3, Insightful)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842227)

Give Zonk a break. He covers games. There's not much useful out there right now.

Anyway, from the article:
The Wii, meanwhile, is simply inscrutable: a scant, featureless rectangle with an eerie blue glow. At a stretch, you might confuse it for an external DVD-R drive.
So it looks like something you could put a DVD into. Isn't something similar what he thought was cool about the Sega Genesis?

The article is just a useless rant against nothing.

Please Allow Me To Fix Your Post. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15843375)

Give Zonk a break. He covers anti-PS3 & Sony stuff. There's not much usefull FUD or "SONY IS DOOOOOOOOMED" type stuff out there right now..

Re:Please Allow Me To Fix Your Post. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15843700)

Give it a freakin rest already. The median age here isn't 14. We're not all dipshits. Your crap isn't appreciated.

Good article, bad writer. (4, Insightful)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841905)

He's a hater pure and simple.

Apparently he doesn't like the NES design
Or the Xbox
Or the Gamecube,
Or the Ps2
Or the Ps3
Or the Xbox 360
Or the Wii
Or the Jaguar.

But apparently the Gensis, Master system and Dreamcast were great for him. That's wonderful, except Sega's not around for a reason, Sega might knows how to make a good looking game system, but if you can't make a good game system under it you get screwed.

Personally I think anyone who thinks any of the current systems needs a redesign might be right, but let's be honest. The best looking system can still not work. I owned a genesis and a NES, a Super Nes, A N64 (which was "sleak" but crap) a Gamecube, a PSX, a PS2, and a Xbox 360. And if I had to go back in time but not get one of them, guess which one it would be? The Genesis.

Gamers arn't looking for a good looking game system, gamers are looking for a good playing game system. Genesis is the most game system looking out of my list, but the fact is that it didn't help it be a good actual game system in the least is the real problem.

I mean look at the grandfathers of our industry. The Atari with it's ugly ridges and huge switches. Oooooh baby.+

Re:Good article, bad writer. (1)

DarkDragonVKQ (881472) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842063)

Nah it's not just that. SEGA actually had some good games. SEGA however had a very very bad planning department.. -_-. By the time Dreamcast rolled around SEGA had already did a good job of destroying SEGA from within.

Re:Good article, bad writer. (1)

the_hoser (938824) | more than 7 years ago | (#15844806)

The Jaguar looked like a futuristic comode. Other than that, I've never had a problem with most system designs since the SNES...

But I honestly don't understand what all the fuss is aboot. I mean, you could put it in a generic black VCR box and I'd buy it if it had good games. I mean, you don't usually spend a whole lot of time admiring the looks of your consoles. Most gamers spend their time admiring the games themselves.

Unless, of course, you're a case modder... then I guess that I could understand to some degree console chassis admiration. But other than that, I think it's really silly.

Re:Good article, bad writer. (1)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847189)

But the case modder themselves shouldn't give a crap about the case, because they're going to change it anyways.

I fully agree with you, it could look like a dog crap but give the performance of full VR and people would buy it. Because they want that functionality. I've never seen someone say "I don't want that system because it looks ugly". I've seen people make fun of the Xbox's size, but that's just because it's Microsoft, and it was a giant system. Personally I made those same taunts. But it could have been the Venus de Milo with a bigger chest and I still would have figured out some jokes about it.

Personally I believe the question of outward console design is only brought up when there's nothing good to say about the inside. It'll always be about the games, while the design will be the subject of taunts, the reason for the taunts are deeper.

Enough FUD (1, Insightful)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841908)

Congrats, Zonk! You just made my killfile!

Re:Enough FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15842651)

If only they worked in real life.

Plonk! (muffled scream from the OSTG offices)

Re:Enough FUD (1)

dorbabil (969458) | more than 7 years ago | (#15845926)

WTF does this have to do with FUD?

Unless FUD has a different meaning here on slashdot, in which case, I'd like to know what that meaning is.

Re:Enough FUD (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#15848186)

FUD, like irony, has expanded in meaning. Except that Alanis Morrisette hasn't done a song about FUD yet...

Well, for starters (1)

Roody Blashes (975889) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841911)

They don't have any wings.

Things don't fly well without any upward force under them. I know. You ever tried to make a Gamecube fly?

Yea.

Fly, Plaything, Fly (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842592)

You can't make an obscure NiGHTS reference in here without offering a handle in the right direction! I mean, jeez!

What is this guy smoking? (1)

fullphaser (939696) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841916)

Alright after skimming through tfa I realized he has no actual comments on the look of the consoles, mostly because with the exception of minor differences tey all follow the same theme a box that looks like a computer tower, and a glowing element, his comments against sony are more to a degree just a shameless spamevertisment for his beloved nintendo. And you wonder why nintendo fans get a bad rap as rabid fanboys...

Re:What is this guy smoking? (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 7 years ago | (#15843692)

Um, he barely says anything about Nintendo. His glowing words are all for Sega.

Re:What is this guy smoking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15846144)

Apparently, Nintendo fans get a bad rap because of illiterate idiots like you. I mean seriously, how could you even glance at that article and come away with the impression that he's a fanboy? He barely says anything about Nintendo, and what little he does isn't very positive.

If anything, he's a rabid Sega fanboy.

Something strikes me about this article... (1)

AP2k (991160) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841936)

Where are the statistics to back up this looney's comments? Last I checked, game consoles have looked pretty much the same since they were first made. Lets refer to the classics: Atari, NES, SNES, Genesis, etc. They look basically the same. The PSX to PS2 (which the author lumps in with the PS3 camp) wasnt a high jump, case-wise. The Xbox was a major leap in terms of volume, but if you look beyond the gloss, you notice that each and every game console in the last twenty years have all looked like boxes.

Wow. Does this profundity seem to suggest that the author has some disdain for boxes? Well, I will take the high ground on this and not make sweeping statements on the supposed unoriginality or assinine, baseless commentary whose opinions are shared by a fraction of a percent if even that much.

Hardware Wars (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841945)

Seems like to many consoles designers had Hardware Wars [wikipedia.org] running on the TV.

What do you want? (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841974)

It would be cool if the PS3, 360, Wii looked like part of your component audio system, but they don't. For a couple reasons. First, wired controllers would be a big problem coming out of the cabinet in the corner of the room, or the cabinet under the TV. Second, there would be almost no product recognition. Sure, it may say in small silver print, PS3 or what have you on the front, but that's not what console makers want. They want people to walk in the room and say, "Hey, you've got a 360, sweet."

That aside, now that we're getting wireless controllers more or less standard, I'd say that the console makers aren't likely to be all that concerned about the useability anymore, just the location.

Re:What do you want? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15842260)

You know, one thing that I like about the PS2 and the XBOX is that they sort of look like they belong as a part of a home entertainment/component audio system.

Probably the cheap black plastic. Just saying is all.

NES (0, Troll)

Thad Boyd (880932) | more than 7 years ago | (#15841989)

Oh, yeah, the NES was a GREAT design. Please more consoles with contacts that wear out in a few years! (Actually, I think that's Sony's department now.)

Re:NES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15843881)

Please more consoles with contacts that wear out in a few years! (Actually, I think that's Sony's department now.)
Don't forget that it is Microsoft's [gamedev.net] department [llamma.com] as well!

Dreamcast (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842045)

The Dreamcast was the last game console that actually looked like a game console. I guess the article is right: the looks of Sega's systems almost scream "I'm a game console and PROUD of it!"

Re:Dreamcast (1)

mrbaggs (864520) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842688)

I take it you haven't seen a gamecube then.

Re:Dreamcast (1)

Deadguy2322 (761832) | more than 7 years ago | (#15844042)

The Gamecube screams "I'm here, I'm queer, get used to it!"

GameCube (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15849693)

Compare a platinum GameCube to a Dreamcast with the karaoke module attached to it.

What was the point of all that? (1)

glindsey (73730) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842074)

After reading the entire article, I have no idea what the author was trying to say. Did he like the old designs, or hate them? Did he actually imply that the Jaguar was good for looking like a toilet seat, and the X-Box's "enormous X" appearance was stylish!?

Three pages full of talking, and yet he said nothing at all.

Fundamental premise wrong (2, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842112)

I think the idea that modern game systems don't "look enough like game systems" is silly - what it is is a box with a design that can fit in with other home electronics. That's because gamers have grown up. If a case came out today identical to the Sega, I'm not sure it would far as well.

Game systems also have to hook into more advanced AV equipment now and that simply means they have to somewhat adopt the look of that whole electrnocis ecosystem.

Personally, I am fine with how the 360 and the PS3 and the Wii look. All interesting designs. If all the console makers were really smart they would have arraanged the designs of the three consoles so that they could lock together and with all three you'd have some funky cool shaped thing, or a transformer or the like.

The PS3 designers must be from Chicago (1)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842119)

It looks like a space ship based on the template of a waffle iron.
The PS3 looks like Soldier Field? :)

Actually, it does. It really really does. (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | more than 7 years ago | (#15849031)

I never noticed that before. I'll never look at the PS3 the same way again.

Re:The PS3 designers must be from Chicago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15849459)

I was in Chicago a few weeks ago. There's actually a building that looks EXACTLY like a vertically-oriented PS3 that is visible from across some river.

I have to admit curiosity... (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842178)

...as to why no one has made a video game system that integrates into a standard stereo system. It seems to me that making something as large as the Xbox and not putting it into that form factor is the work of a complete idiot. It would make the device desirable to whole classes of people who would not otherwise be interested.

By which you mean... (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842690)

That the xBox or some other console doesn't have an installable cabinet model the way car stereos come with after-market versions?

1) The closest the modern console comes to this in any way shape or form is the Skinny PS2 by virtue of tinyness alone.

2) There is no 'Cool' factor available with doing this, and so the console manufacturers just aren't interested in something that cn barely be seen (unlike, say, nVidia which is cool with the idea).

3) The 'Modern cabinet' is seen as whatever fits under or over the TV. There IS no standard cabinet anymore, except as a straight arcade model (and the cost on that is hideous), in which case you don't want a console-style play anyhow.

Re:By which you mean... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#15843361)

There is no 'Cool' factor available with doing this, and so the console manufacturers just aren't interested in something that cn barely be seen (unlike, say, nVidia which is cool with the idea).

You are so wrong. This has been proven wrong time and time again, in different settings. You point out car stereos - they [typically] fit into one of two form factors, but the manufacturers have managed to drive sales one way or another through the design of the faceplate. Sometimes it's colored, sometimes it has big shiny knobs, sometimes it has elaborate visualizers and flashing lights.

I can give another excellent example: rackmount servers. For example, I have a Network Engines RoadsterLX 1U box. In a world of bland, featureless servers, the roadster is highly distinctive with its purple and black scalloped face and brightly backlit display. They really stand out in the datacenter and a lot of people bought Roadsters just for this reason.

Re:I have to admit curiosity... (1)

vistic (556838) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842735)

Look up the prices of the Pioneer LaserActive [psxfanatics.com] and its various modules for Genesis and TurboGrafx-16 (and karaoke?).

Re:I have to admit curiosity... (1)

shplorb (24647) | more than 7 years ago | (#15843478)

Obviously you never saw a 3DO system. =]

Re:I have to admit curiosity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15843532)

It might also have something to do with the fact that Xbox 360 needs to have good cool airflow. Installing it into a stereo system might put it into close contact with amplifier which would add extra heat. It could also lead to being inside an enclosed, badly ventilated area. All of those would lead to even greater heat problems.

I skimmed it, any PS1 mention? (1)

androvsky (974733) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842313)

Wow. Three pages to explain why when Sony does something, it's evil, but when Nintendo does the same thing, it's good. And when Sega does one thing, it's brilliant, and when it does the exact opposite, it's still brilliant. Seriously, try to find the Sega Saturn in a bin full of Genesis' (Genesii?) and Master Systems. Apparently the Dreamcast look, opposite of the early Sega consoles was brilliant. Oddly, I see no mention of the white(-ish) toploading PS1 in the article. Cough. Can't believe he made excuses for the Nintendo Cable Modem... err, I mean Wii. That's it, I am so starting my own blog to talk about consoles. At least I now know I need to do exactly zero research and not come anywhere near an objective point.

Re:I skimmed it, any PS1 mention? (1)

leland242 (736905) | more than 7 years ago | (#15845776)

"the Nintendo Cable Modem... err, I mean Wii. "

that was teh funny. :)

No one mentioned the best console ever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15842404)

The Phantom!

Bacon Asthetics (1)

amrust (686727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842427)

So... the new $600 PS3 will play my favorite games, AND make a plate of crispy delicious bacon?

SOLD!

Seriously, I don't care what it looks like on the outside. It's what's on the inside that counts. My wife hates all my "ugly" consoles, anyways.

What's wrong with them? (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#15842932)

40dB fans are what's wrong with them.

KISS (1)

briancnorton (586947) | more than 7 years ago | (#15843134)

This is stupid. Why can't the AV makers of the world get together on a digital standard for home theater, and a standard form factor. I'd love a "rack mount" system that enabled all my components to fit in modularly and be hidden away in a piece of furniture or closet, and fit just right. They could all share a single internet connection module, a single dvd player module, single video output that fits with your tv, etc. Ah pipe dreams...

Re:KISS (1)

Wingfat (911988) | more than 7 years ago | (#15843242)

Funny i saw the subject of KISS and thought you were going to sujest to make a KISS - the band PS3 system. I would love a KISS system to go with the rest of my KISS posters and shirts and hats and all that jazz. ;) lol on your other point there "rack mount systems" with a unervisal plugs.. Have you checked out JVC's line of home therate products? i love my ALL JVC home audio system/TV. They have a thing called AV comp-u-link. this is a 3.55mm jack that takes of all things any male to male headphone cord. With this all hooked together, my TV/DVD/Reciver i can plop a DVD in and if i am watching TV the reciver will automaticly switch over to DVD and then change the sound and suround levels to where i had set it last for playing a DVD. If i turn off my TV, everything JVC related also turns off. all in all the JVC comp-u-link is awesome and i would sujest it to any one.

Hey Sony (1)

heptapod (243146) | more than 7 years ago | (#15843397)

Why dontcha put the fucking power switch on the front of your consoles?

This is so they "fit in" on Japanese shelves (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 7 years ago | (#15843542)

They live in fairly small rooms, everything has to be put away to use something else, so you don't really want them to stick out.

The confusing thing is the xBox360, but maybe they thought changing the box would increase usage in Japan - won't work though.

Newsflash braniac ... (1)

NotZed (19455) | more than 7 years ago | (#15843852)

They ARE random hunks of pop electronics!

Sweet Jesus! It's highschool all over again! (3, Interesting)

czehp (156215) | more than 7 years ago | (#15843893)

I can just hear the makeup laden pouty cheerleader now...
"Come on, I know I look like some over-inflated piece of living pop art but it's what's on the inside that counts..."

Seriously though, does any gamer (or anyone at all) really care that the Wii looks like a single slice toaster or that the PS3 looks like a George Foreman grill? I guess this guy is the last one on the planet who still buys the plain beige pizza boxes that used to be all the "rage" because he feels that buying a nice Lian Li would make his computer lose it's sense of identity.

And speaking of identities... can we add any more hyphens to the author's name? Sheesh :)
How about Eric-Jon "The Waffle-Iron" Rossel-Waugh?

Retroism (2)

kosh_mdh (669644) | more than 7 years ago | (#15845267)

Whats wrong with the way they look...when you say they dont look like console, you mean they dont look like consoles used to look.

Maybe they dont want them to look like consoles...maybe they want something that goes in a sitting room and doesnt look out of place.


This site is very retroist. Same subject over and over "the problem with 'todays' consoles is that they not yesterdays consoles', "the problem with todays games is that theyre not 2d platformers"..."where have all the proper games gone"..."the problem with todays developers"...get over it.

Easy question to answer.. (1)

NekoXP (67564) | more than 7 years ago | (#15845295)

Too big.

Too complex.

Not enough fun to balance out the "shiny" of the console design.

Sony made their Playstation originally with all manner of ports and peripheral connector options. Eventually they just removed them all. What was the point of putting those interfaces on anyway? Added complexity.. the console is just trying to do too much these days.

Even Nintendo I think have gotten it awkward, the Wii would be a super duper discrete console, and then you need to have 3 controllers to play all the games (Wiimote & Nunchuck, "classic gamecube" style controller, etc. and maybe even a few ORIGINAL gamecube controllers) and all the sensor bar stuff.. then there is a flap for the Gamecube stuff. Overcomplicated. I would love just a slotloading console with no flappy flaps or hundreds of peripheral ports, and just a plain ordinary uncomplicated controller (like the Wiimote without the wand functionality) just to play a couple games on.

That said I love the new ideas on the Wii too, I just think.. well.. there is such a thing as having way too much in the box and even with wireless controllers, there is still going to be a box next to your TV or down the side of the couch full of wires, blobs of plastic, and stuff you aren't using.

Not to mention (1)

MImeKillEr (445828) | more than 7 years ago | (#15845647)

Their overly-bloated prices.

Hell, I bought a NEW XBox (NOT the 360) a week or so ago for 1/3rd the price of the 360. Add to that the fact that I'm adding a modchip and a 160GB hdd, and I'm STILL spending less.

Now I need to backup my games before my youngest loses the DVDs.

And since the 360 is out, the prices of the games for the original XBox should be dropping like SCO's ability to prove a case.

Unbelievable! (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 7 years ago | (#15847882)

Maybe I like to pick at somewhat obscure flaws, but the problem that jumped out at me was that since the article complains about how the new consoles are not as cool looking as the old consoles, the author bears the responsibility to include pictures of the old "better" consoles. I mean I only saw 3 pictures, the PS3, the XBox 360 and the Wii. All of which the author decries as ungly trash. So, where are the pictures of these hallowed consoles of old that put the new consoles to shame?

The obvious refusal to present easily obtainable and credible evidence to support the case that the author is trying to make is an obvious sign that the author does not really believe his case will withstand any amount of scrutiny. So why should be bother reading this junk if the author doesn't even believe it?
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