PlayStation 3: Awesome |

PlayStation 3: Awesome

Tasha Gonzales

SAN FRANCISCO – The moment of the year for video game enthusiasts came early Friday morning at the Metreon’s PlayStation Store in downtown San Francisco. At midnight Friday employees began handing out the much-coveted PlayStation 3 gaming console to fans, some of whom had been there for nearly 48 hours, waiting.

The gaming media was given access all-day Thursday and I got my chance at the new system around 9 p.m.

My impression: It was amazing.

The biggest reason for a gamer to get a PlayStation 3 is purely and simply the graphics. Play a game designed for the late-end PlayStation 2 model, and then a game made for the PS3, and there is no comparison; the PlayStation 3 has smooth, realistic graphics and little of the jerkiness you expect out of the standard PS2 game. This is due in part to the Cell Broadband Engine microprocessor developed by IBM, Sony and Toshiba. Much to the delight of tech enthusiasts, this processor will clock at 3.2 gigahertz.

The PlayStation 3 was designed with entertainment in mind. It can play standard DVD’s as well as high-definition Blu-Ray discs, and the hard drive will store downloaded movies and music. Blu-Ray discs can store five times what normal DVD’s can, allowing for higher-quality video and audio recordings. Your standard Blu-Ray DVD player runs $1,000, so the PlayStation 3’s price of $600 is cheap in comparison.

As for the availability of games, several big-name games are available for the PS3, such as “Marvel Ultimate Alliance,” “Tony Hawk’s Project 8” and even “Sonic the Hedgehog.” There are more titles currently available on the market for the PS3 than Nintendo’s Wii console, which will be released across the nation Sunday. The PS3 will compete with the Wii and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 this holiday season.

The PlayStation 3 is for gamers. This is not something a casual game player wants; the price tag is rather steep and the features won’t be appreciated to someone who won’t spend a lot of time using them. In the console war, the lines have been divided; the Xbox 360 is for sports games enthusiasts, the Wii is for the masses, and the PlayStation 3 is for hardcore gamers. If you consider yourself a gamer, the wait is well worth the fine piece of machinery that is the PlayStation 3 Entertainment Console. Your old PlayStation 2 won’t hold a candle to it.

Chris Toribio, 21, of San Francisco, held the first position in line at the Metreon for a new PlayStation 3. He had been there since 8 a.m. Wednesday morning. “We came to see what the line was like and no one was in line, so we were like, ‘Let’s buy a tent.'” He wanted to be there, he said, not just because he was a gamer. “It’s like history in the making.”

When Sony announced their PlayStation 2 console in 1999, a lot of promises were made; Internet capability, a hard drive, and a media center. While the media center was never realized, Sony did release an Ethernet card to provide PlayStation 2 users with the Internet, and a hard drive that could be inserted into the console. These, however, were sold as add-ons and were never considered part of the whole package. A small handful of games were made to take advantage to the Internet capability of the PS2, but by the time the Ethernet card came out, the PS3 had already been announced, and developers were not interested in developing games for a console that was on its way out.

The PlayStation 3 is a realization of what the PlayStation 2 could have been. It comes in 20 and 60 gigabyte hard drive models and has a built-in Ethernet card; the 60 gigabyte model even comes with wireless capability. All PlayStation 3 consoles are Bluetooth-enabled and come with four USB 2.0 ports to connect peripheral devices and for data transfer. Users can upload demo games, audiobooks, music, video, and pictures to their PS3 and play them on their television, high-definition or otherwise. Also standard are memory card ports and wireless controllers; this is the biggest problem with backward-compatibility between PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games on the PS3 – there is no port for a controller. Games like “Guitar Hero” need special controllers and there is nowhere to plug them in.

The console’s SIXAXIS wireless controller uses Bluetooth technology to connect to the console. Sony revamped their standard PlayStation controller setup. They altered the shape of the trigger buttons on the front of the controller, and the tilting angle of the analogue sticks has been altered for sensitivity. The controllers also feature motion-sensing technology; if you move the entire controller to the right, the game will be able to sense that. From this point on, playing a video game while jerking the controller around could have dire gaming consequences.

• Tasha Gonzales is an Appeal employee and video game and technology reviewer for Advanced Media Network.