Are you pondering what I’m pondering?

I doubt it. You probably think of far more practical things like if you’ve got enough milk in the fridge to see you through till shopping day.

There’s been a number of things flitting through my mind. All game-related of course. The whole PSP vs DS thing. GTA: San Andreas. Will my fiancee beat Ico before the weekend ends (update – yes! She did!)?

Weighty stuff, I think you’ll agree.

More recently, I’ve been looking at my game collection and wondering what’s wrong with me. I love games. And I really enjoy playing them. But I have many games that, although purchased with the intent of playing to the end, I’ve barely started.

I’m easily distracted by the next shiny object – and at this time of year there’s a whole load of highly polished shiny things all vying for my attention.

It’s not that I don’t have the finances or discipline to save for the games. I’m not particularly worried about getting a game on launch day or anything like that. I begin to worry when I hear everyone talking about San Andreas when I know I’ve barely even started my tour of duty in Vice City.

I think, what with my financial restraints loosened and my playing time at a premium I’m far more a game collector than a game player these days. I can live with that. I do want to see every corner of each and every game I own but when I look at the wealth of them I somehow think I never will..

..Oh well. The boxes look pretty. Especially the shiny ones.

I Heart Usenet

I’m a download whore.

I always knew that me and broadband would be good friends as I’ve never been short of finding something that I’ll happily download and play, watch or listen to.

I consider myself a graduate of the School of Internet. I have the browser I prefer. I have the IM client I prefer. I blog for chrissakes!

When it comes to downloading, I’ve tried most methods available to your average, informed user. Vanilla web downloads. FTP hunting, IRC file servers, eMule, BitTorrent, KaZaa, Direct Connect.

Nothing. Nothing touches usenet. Nothing comes close.

The wonderful thing is that although it looks complex, it’s not. But that hint of complexity deters utter spackers from messing about with it. It also helps that most ISPs (certainly the ones in the UK) don’t provide decent usenet support as standard.

I have four other things to say on the subject:

Now – go out there and get the good stuff.

I’ve had a bit of a rethink..

Now, I like my games. In fact, I like them a LOT. And it’s fair to say that I much prefer games to games consoles. I’m far more interested in what’s going on with the latest installment of Half Life or Metal Gear Solid than the new specs of some graphics card or the screen resolution of some handheld console.

I base my hardware purchasing decision similarly – I don’t give a stuff what it might be able to do. All I care about is will it play the game I’m interested in.

As such, I knew what I wanted and my PS2 delivered it perfectly. Plenty of funky innovative RPGs, a decent array of action titles, good support from my preferred developers. Obvious choice.

I’d been waiting for some ‘must have’ titles to persuade me to part with cash for an Xbox. I can take or leave Halo as I don’t think FPS games work too well outside of mouse control. Sure, Ninja Gaiden looks very tempting. As do Fable and some others. But I still wasn’t convinced.

Then, along comes a very nice young lady and offers me a mint Xbox for 50 quid.

Job done.

So, I go and order myself some Xbox exclusives – Jet Set Radio Future, Panzer Dragoon Orta, Splinter Cell and, yes, Halo amongst others.

Having played all the games mentioned above (not anywhere near to completion mind you) I have to say that I regret my reluctance to dip my toe in the greeny-black waters of Xbox.

I’ll be playing my PS2 for ages yet – especially with certain titles (as you’ll read in future blogs) hitting my pleasure zone with the force of Hurrican Ivan. But for non-exclusive games I’ll almost certainly be plumping for the Xbox version.

And, so far, I’m only quantifying my future purchasing decisions on the box itself. I’ve neither bothered with making custom soundtracks or getting Xbox Live for online play.

You still won’t hear me saying one particular box of circuits is better than another but I’m thrilled to have all three of this generation’s consoles to hand and enjoy them all thoroughly..

..although some more interesting games for non-wrestling or kart-racing fans on GameCube would be nice.