I’m sorry to say that my first post of 2006 is not a happy one. As the long, cold winter of this seemingly never-ending bout of console wars drags on the latest ‘event’ is one that I’ve named ‘Operation Splitfish’
Splitfish is the name of a third party peripheral manufacturer who, at the recent CES 2006, showed off a 2-piece game controller for the PlayStation 2 console. Superficially this resembles the same type of freehand control mechanism presented by Nintendo with their Revolution and ‘nunchuck’ extension. Apparently the device will also offer some sort of light-gun / light pointing device.
There is no doubt that the Revolution has influenced / inspired this controller and to suggest any different would be foolish.
Regardless, the news has been greeted by many commentators with the chant of “Sony have copied Nintendo again!”. Amongst the many comments I have read there are many criticising Sony of such a crime when, as a few sensible folk have pointed out, this isn’t a Sony designed product. In fact, arguments persist on the topic of Sony stealing Nintendo ideas and analogue control and vibrating feedback are cited as examples. The issue here is that Sony are not doing the copying – this doesn’t pacify the Nintendo supporters who go on to claim that because it’s made for a Sony product that Sony are responsible for it’s existence. This belief is founded by way of any product requiring approval by Sony for use with their system. Strange then, that wildly popular PlayStation products such as third party controllers, Action Replay cartridges and more explicitly state that they are unapproved, unofficial products not sanctioned by Sony. The Splitfish may well be one of these products – to those that are interested in checking the facts before throwing the accusations. Curiously, it was on Nintendo that non-official products first appeared with the infamous case of the Game Genie for the NES. Nintendo attempted to block it’s existence and took the product and it’s makers to court. Game Genie won the case and the rest is history – thanks to Nintendo it is perfectly possible to make a device for a Nintendo or Sony or any console product without it being officially approved by the console manufacturer.
The most entertaining dismissal of this legal precedent is one comment I read that states “Sony allowed it to happen, therefore Sony are at fault for the copying”. It seems that, like a determined ferret, once a gamer sinks his teeth into their idea of an argument, they’re simply not going to let go. To take that particular line of thinking further it is possible to argue that had Nintendo not got too greedy with the Famicom CD project they partnered with Sony, Sony may not have gone off on their own to produce the PlayStation 1 and 2. Therefore, applying the same logic, it’s not unreasonable to say that “Nintendo allowed it to happen, therefore they are to blame”.
You see, with a modicum of thought, common sense and an appreciation for facts and history it is easy to see through all this excited feedback for what it is: utter nonsense. Throught a whole trail of commentary I read a few posts from people trying to inject some common sense into the comments. It was completely ignored and overshadowed by fingerpointing by others with user names of LinkMaster or x_SAMUS_x.
This example of gamer culture is the portent of it’s own demise. As a culture our credibility is already in question – as are our morals and ethics.
I’m getting truly sick and tired of this war. The whole Sony VS Nintendo thing got into gear with the handhelds and hasn’t ever let go. Each side finds a few specs or sales figures it likes and fires them over to the other side trying to score a hit on some landmark of operational significance.
Every war has it’s casualty and this war is taking CREDIBILITY it’s hostage. It is simply not possible to set foot into the warzone without being stripped of your innocence, your dignity or your credibility being questioned. Neither side will give an inch – it is total defeat or else. There doesn’t seem to be a middle-ground. And, quite frankly, the head honchos are lapping it up whilst the foot-soldiers are throwing themselves into the line of fire, willing to lay it on the line for the sake of a couple of Japanese companies who don’t even know they exist.
I’m going to start my own, dignified, revolution. I’m going to send out a cry for common sense in gamers. Those that are tired of the fighting and the futile, purile trading of insults, specs and landmark titles can join in. Together we can crawl off the battlefied and return to the heart of all of this. Playing videogames.
Of course, I will still state my cases when I feel the need. This site is my mouthpiece after all. But, as always, I’ll fight opinion with fact. I’ll fight hearsay with history..
..and my own bloody minded opinion. Naturally.