Gaming becomes personal

New video game consoles stir memories of childhood.


New Xbox and Playstation gaming consoles will be released in November. Photo courtesy of Lazy Gamer.

It was Christmas Eve 1999, and the morning could not come quick enough. Like many other boys my age, I stayed up all night wondering what could and would be under that Christmas tree.

After opening packages containing the usual socks, pants and small goodies, my parents brought out another mysterious box.

I ripped it open like a madman and found a copy of Madden 2000 for Playstation. At that particular moment I was confused. I have a game, but no system. Maybe they didn’t know how it worked.

Then, nonchalantly, my father, who seemed to be almost as excited as I was, said something to the effect of, “Oh that’s right, you probably need this to play the game!” He walked over to the closet and pulled out that shiny box.

A Playstation.

Needless to say, many hugs and smiles ensued. It was the best gift I could have ever received as an eight year old.

This Christmas, young people will get to experience this feeling, some for the first and some for the third or fourth time — that excitement of opening that package and seeing a shiny box adorned with the Playstation or Xbox logo.

Years went on, and I continued to play the old-school system with the games like Tony Hawk and Gran Turismo and enjoyed every minute of it, until the PS2 was released. I felt a yearning for the new system, but, being young and with no money I had to wait. Three long years, I waited until my parents finally decided that I deserved one, or maybe it was just that they were tired of the badgering.

Either way I ended up getting it, and again I fell in love with my new gaming console. It was as if that creation the geniuses in Japan made had a soul; it had a personality.

I saved up the entire summer before my freshman year of high school to buy what I wanted that year — an Xbox 360. I walked into Gamestop on a chilly October evening and found myself a little broken. After my entire Sony-owned childhood, I wanted to switch sides and jump into Microsoft’s arms. It had so much I never had with Sony — an online multiplayer system that actually worked and a way to interact with people I hadn’t seen in years. It connected people on opposite sides of the world who share a common passion for gaming.

Xbox Live truly was a renaissance in the way that young people could interact with one another — not just in person, but virtually, even globally. Yes, the Internet had been around for many years and people could chat on sites like Myspace, but this was the first time where masses grouped up in a virtual reality and interacted voice to voice.

Years later, once I had converted completely to Xbox, I felt the need to repent. Trying to return to my Sony childhood, I sold my Xbox 360 to pay for a PS3, and in retrospect, I feel like I sold a family member. The PS3 was great at first; free online interactions and Playstation Plus with free games were big pluses. But, as time went on, I realized that I didn’t feel the connection I once did with the earlier generation Playstations. The Xbox was the “one,”  and no other system could replace her.

This holiday season, the rivals are back at it again, with the soon-to-be released PS4 from Sony and Microsoft’s Xbox One. Which system will win the world’s heart?

Nov. 15 and 22 will probably be the most missed days of work in history, and for some, the entire week after each release. Sony’s version will hit stores an entire week earlier in North America than the Xbox, and that may just be the advantage that they need.

However, Sony could take a massive hit in its decision to charge the users to play online with the new system.

A handful of major complaints with the Xbox One stemmed from Microsoft’s initial announcement — it was essentially cutting off the secondary market by locking in purchased games to a gamer’s online account. The concept of “always-connected” was also received negatively as it stated that the system would have to be connected to the Internet at least once every 24 hours in order to play games. Microsoft has since reversed these policies, to make the system more marketable to the buyers of their next generation system.

While both systems promise to bring users the next generation of gaming, it seems that the manufacturers have simply updated hardware and software, making for better looking games.

I haven’t yet made a decision on which system I am going to buy. This is partially because of the price, and partially because there is little to no firsthand accounts available, other than from the manufacturers themselves. All in all, I feel like the Xbox is the safer bet, but I’m not sure which part of my childhood will win over my emotions when I head to Best Buy with wallet in hand.

Micah Dewey is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at