When the concept of a single console to replace the multitude of competing platforms was first brought up, many years ago, I mocked. The idea was so utterly ludicrous that it could never work in practice. Now… Maybe now I’m ready to give it a bit of serious thought. The reason for my turnabout in thinking is due to a Mission: Impossible prop thinking it is a console – the old X-Box made a soft pop, fizzed for a moment, then released a single wisp of white smoke into the air.
Which means I really should get a new one. It isn’t like I don’t have enough consoles, but I have a soft spot for the black brick – it doesn’t sound like a Chinook taking off, it doesn’t scratch discs and it is relatively ergonomic. Do I really need another console? I can play most of the original games on the 360, and the space could be better used. I’m coming around to the idea of a ‘master’ console, but I would have to set some ground rules for anyone thinking of creating one-
- Make it future-proof for at least three years. I’m not going to buy a “slightly different but essentially the same” console in twelve months time. I don’t care if the new one has a few gigabytes more memory, plays Chopin on start-up and can recite the Iliad; the minor alterations which come along can be ignored.
- No larger than an average console. I’ve seen the home-made attempts at integrating 3 or 4 consoles into a single case, and they always end up being massive, ugly and totally impractical. If anyone can come up with a play-all system that isn’t the size of a small car I would buy it immediately.
- I’m not spending more than £450 on it. I’ve already spent more money than I care to think about on games (and this is not counting the PC software I buy / upgrade in an endless attempt to stay ahead of the game), so a reasonable budget is to be expected.
- As few essential add-on’s as possible. I bought the HD player for the 360 and used it twice, which makes it one of the most expensive items I have in relation to the enjoyment I have taken from a purchase. The Guitar Hero pack was used non-stop for nearly two months. Value for money means making add-on’s that I’ll actually use.
- No easily-breakable components. The PS2 controllers have very short lives in my house, so I’m not going to settle for second best from a next-next-gen console.
Sure, I’d splash out on one if the ability to play Wii, PS3 and 360 releases was incorporated. There was a plan in motion a couple of years ago to utilize a Linux-based OS for a multi-format games console, and I’ve never heard anything more about it. One of these days it’ll pop up again as The Saviour Of Gaming, I’m sure, but until then I’m stuck with the collection of boxes under my television. And on the floor. And in their boxes, piled atop one another…
Life was easier when the choice was Amstrad or Commodore.