Monday, July 16, 2007

Christmas in July - and the beginning of the end.

Time for me to display my typical guy side and general geekiness to the world.

For most people, there is just one type of year. It starts in January, ends in December.

For me though, the year does not truly begin until mid-July, when EA Sports' annual NCAA Football game hits store shelves.

Yeah, MLB is the first sports video game I purchase each year, and I've been playing hockey games longer, but when it comes to sports gaming, NCAA Football is the end all be all.

It's been an interesting ride. It started in 2002 with NCAA 2003, with good old ("good old" meaning "lousy gasbag") Joey Harrington on the cover. It peaked the next year with NCAA 2004, which has not been surpassed in terms of excellence. 2005, 2006 and 2007 all had their perks, but have not lived up to 2004's standard yet.

The 2008 edition won't, either, but it is significant for another reason. The sixth version of NCAA Football that I purchase tomorrow will mark the final stretch of the "current" generation of gaming for me. As the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3 assert their spots at the top of the virtual reality kingdom, the PlayStation 2 that I've been so loyal to since 2000 has begun to slip. By this time next year, I anticipate that I will have moved on, ascended to the next level. Even now, the XBox and PS2 are beginning to be referred to as "last" generation. With each passing day, the 360 and PS3 become the status quo, moving from "next" gen to current. And with that designation comes the ultimate demise of the PS2's place in the mainsteam. It will go the way of the NES, the Sega Saturn, the N64.

The sixth generation of video game consoles - the Dreamcast, PS2, Gamecube, and XBox - is on the verge of extinction. Evolution is not just restricted to humans, and the evolution of the gaming industry to the seventh generation - Microsoft's 360, Sony's PS3 and Nintendo's Wii - is just about complete.

But I shall cling, for one more year. One more year of living in the past. Always opposed to change, I shall, for one more year, fire up the neanderthal-like PS2. And it's gonna be damn fun.

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