OK lets face it, the Sony Playstation and the Nintendo 64 lead the console market, so what do you really get for your money?
Well, on the technical side, the Playstation has multiple independent processors with a 32-bit RISC CPU running at 33.8688 MHz. And to get all that game playing action to your screen it's also got a double-speed CD-ROM that jams an amassing 360,000 polygons and full-frame video at an impressive 30 frames per second. With it's 360° Camera movement, CD quality 24 Channel Sound and it's ability to display 16.8 million colors simultaneously, it's a force to be reckoned with! And with the production of the Net Yaroze - Playstation's own hobbyist development kit which allows anyone with programming experience in the "C" language the chance to make dreams come true and program games. It's bound to keep games players and techies happy for years.
But who's interested in all of that? All we want to do is beat each other up in Tekken 3 or speed past our friends in a head-to-head racing game. So you have to ask yourself "will this console give me hours of fun and torment into the early hours of the morning trying to complete an impossible level on Tomb Raider 2 or give me the satisfaction of mutilating an out of control zombie on Resident Evil 2?". Well your answer is a resounding "YES!" In terms of it's games selection I can't say one bad thing about the Playstation and its impressive software support. With the latest games like Final Fantasy VII, Grand Theft Auto and Cool Boarders 2 (CB2 is enough to make a snowboarding freak take off his woolly hat and play games in front of a nice hot fire with a mug of cocoa). And if it's those extra add-on's that gets you going then look no further. With the comfortable control pad famous for its four top-mounted action buttons, the ones with the triangle, square, circle and cross on them, which is bound to get onto a T-shirt design one day (my idea, Sony!), before you know it you'll be running out of plasters to cover those battered fingers of yours.
It also has the ability to connect to other Playstations with a 'Link Cable' to give you that real head-to-head action that you only got in the arcades. Oh and did l tell you can save a fortune on hi-fi equipment because this little baby can also play your normal audio CDs..! So to sum it up, Sony has really gone to town with the Playstation it's a must to any serious game players.
Now, the other option comes in the form of the Nintendo 64, the worlds first true 64-bit console, this bundle of tricks runs at an amazing 93.75 MHz and, like the Playstation, it also has built-in sound processors, graphic processors, and a pixel-drawing processor running at 62.5 MHz. Its hardware capabilities are more than a thousand times greater than the computers that put man on the moon - and what do Nintendo put on it? Yep, you guessed it, that cheeky little plumber Mario!
It has a control pad that an octopus would find hard to use - at first... give it time, before you know it you'll be used to the 3 grip sticks and that old faithful D-Pad tapping away on those six top buttons. Also located at the rear of the controller is a interchangeable cartridge slot which can hold up to 2 MB of game saves - or this can also be used for Nintendo's only real add-on at the moment the 'Rumble-Pack'! Nintendo has stayed using its cartridges system to give you instant loading speeds using JPEG compression. And with Yoshi's Story snatching up one of thirteen 'Video Game Awards for Excellence' at the Entertainment Software Association in Japan, it's going to keep people entertained for hours on end.
Of course, it's very easy to slam the games and Nintendo for the cuteness of nearly all of it's titles. l'm sorry but it doesn't do anything for me... with games like Mario 64, Donkey Kong Racing and Snowboard Kids Nintendo will not lose this image.
Ahhh, now l have got that off my chest what else has the Nintendo 64 got to make you save your money and leave that old faithful Playstation? Well, if you live in the United Kingdom then not a lot... With only a handful of games available you get Playstation owner's sniggering at you on the other side of the shop as you reach up to get that long awaited release. If you live in the United States or Japan, well that's a different story all together - with a wide selection from Fighter's Destiny to the latest snowboarding games to hit the Nintendo market - 1080° Snowboarding. With nearly 30 unique tricks which can be performed throughout the game, this is without a doubt the most beautiful snowboarding game created to date. Maybe l'm just being picky but this in-house created game took less than a year to make and it also took me only 10 minutes to turn off. Don't get me wrong, Nintendo has done a magnificent job with 1080, it's a great game with them moving in the right direction away from those cutie characters but once again it's proving that nobody can really stretch the 64-bit console’s capabilities. And as for those console selling 3D fighting games well you will just have to do with Fighter's Destiny, Oceans first N64 fighting game. After seeing one mediocre fighting games after the other on the Nintendo 64, it was a blessing when someone finally came along and did it right for a change. It does not quite live up to the best of the best (like Virtual Fighter III or Tekken 3), but it beats the living daylights of every other Nintendo 64 fighter ever released. Developed by Imagineer's Genki team, Fighters Destiny not only has got great hand-to-hand combat for fighting game fans, but it also manages to come up with several unique features that you just will not find in any other fighter. Fighter's Destiny mixes the slower, fighting action of Sega's Virtual Fighter with a heavy dose of Tekken thrown in for good measure.
To sum up the Nintendo 64 in a few words - it's up if the software company's, get your fingers out then Nintendo will no doubt take back its place on top of the console market... So it's all in your hands, Nintendo, not to end up like the Jaguar console (Jaguar who?)