Scott Hardie | April 7, 2002
Having had both systems for about ten days now, I'm surprised to say that I much prefer the Gamecube. I didn't want it nearly as much. (This entry will be supremely boring to anyone who doesn't care about video games. Consider yourself warned.)

Granted, I've only played one game on the Gamecube and three games on the Playstation 2. I can't really evaluate them with regards to games, but that's okay - it's really about the games, of course, not the system.

They also seem about even in terms of graphics and sound. I'm not that much of a conisseur anyway. The Gamecube is astounding in the number of graphical tricks it can pull off. The graphics in Super Smash Bros. Melee are better than Tekken Tag Tournament (the characters actually interact graphically with their environment!), but at least in Tekken the fighters tilt their heads up and down to look at their opponents. :-| I'm waiting to awe at Final Fantasy X.

The Gamecube's controller is definitely superior. It's more ergonomical and my thumbs don't bump up against control sticks like on the PS2 Dual Shock. And the analog control stick is right where it should be, center left, where the d-pad is on the Dual Shock. The buttons are also well-arranged and all the right size. I don't fumble to find the right button while playing in the dark like I sometimes do with the PS2. My only complaint is that the L&R buttons, which are on springs, are a little too resistant to being pressed in.

Both systems are disappointingly noisy. The PS2 is louder, what with that constant high-pitched whirring, but the Gamecube makes whirs and clicks almost as constantly. For the first two days I thought there were mice in the wall right next to it. (There are mice there, since I've heard them with the system off, but I thought they were chewing on the walls for ten hours straight that first day I got the system.) I have only watched two DVDs so far with the PS2, and the whirring hasn't been too bad. You get used to it.

Both have good system menus. The Gamecube's is more graphically playful, but that hardly matters worth shit. I like that I can set the PS2 to a 24-hour clock, just as a matter of preference.

Memory is a problem. For the Gamecube, it's fine - big cards that sit in the system. No headache whatsoever. That's not the case with the PS2. First, if you want the DVD Remote, the software to run it, which has to sit on the memory card in slot 1 (not slot 2), takes up 2.25 of the 8 megs. They left the hardware of the DVD remote and its sensor out of the system to save in manufacturing costs, but they could have included the software very easily, and I'm disappointed by that. Second, you can play PS1 games in the system (VERY nice), and you can save them on PS2 memory cards - but only if they've been formatted as giant-size PS1 cards. You can't save both Silent Hill 1 and Silent Hill 2 on the same card, in other words. That really, really pisses me off, because memory cards are fucking expensive. I went through quite a hassle just to get two PS2 memory cards, and now I find out that if I want to save PS1 games, I have to give one of them over to that (and the other loses 1/4 of its storage capacity to DVD remote software)? I definitely don't like that. My old PS1 memory cards are still with me. I gave them to Kelly, but I don't think she'd mind if I took them back. Only one is black, but it has a label on it that won't come off without peeling. I spent a lot of money, and I'd like a perfect system, but I guess I'm just asking too fucking much.

The DVD capabilities of the PS2 are nice. I don't notice any drawbacks in picture or sound on the PS2 over the two DVD players I'd used previously - if anything, the picture looks better with the PS2. One minor complaint is that the on-screen display when the press a button ("Play" or "Stop" or whatever) stays on the screen too long. One major complaint is the DVD remote and the hassle it is to use it. Matt may not mind using the controllers, but I can't, so I invested in the remote. Like I said, you have to take up memory to use it, and 1/4 of the memory of the card that has to be in slot 1 and not slot 2. (I bitch about the difference because slot 1 is my main card, and I'd like that big load of software to take up space in slot 2 instead.) Once you get past that problem, there's still the problem of the sensor needing to be plugged in whenever it's used, which is not a big deal, just a minor annoyance. There's also the layout of buttons on the remote, which is not pleasant. The light, flimsy, flat, blocky remote feels like a calculator in your hand, and the buttons are almost all the same size and are not laid out correctly. I will have to memorize their layout before I watch a movie in the dark, and after three DVD players I don't want to do that again, but that's my own problem.

The Gamecube has four-player capability built in. Buy three more controllers and you're good to go. The PS2 requires a multi-tap, which apparently is really hard to get. No store around here has one, and I bought one online and got sent a PS1 multitap instead, and now I can't find anyplace else that has them. I'm going to have a whole bunch of people over to play Smash and Tekken in a couple of weeks, and I'm going to have to borrow Lenore's multitap to make it work.

Both systems have cords that are too short. The PS2 cords require you to sit forward on our couch, but the Gamecube cords won't even reach that far. I bought extension cords for both systems. (Minor gripe: Why don't online stores let you choose your color? I ordered four PS2 cords, hoping to get all black, but I got one grey, one purple, and two blue. They look dumb. I don't have any choice but to buy them online from nondescriminating vendors because no store here has them.)

That's all I have to say for now. I've been playing Smash Bros. almost exclusively since I got both systems, but I get Code Veronica in the mail soon and will be playing that on PS2. I look forward to getting more games for both systems in the future and enjoying them both. If Xbox ever gets around to having a game that I actually want that is exclusive to the Xbox, I might consider getting one, but it's a long shot.

Matthew Preston | April 7, 2002
I am glad you are enjoying your systems. As for the whirring with the PS2.... it is really loud for non DVD based games. I remember Tekken Tag as being one that was annoyingly loud. When you pick up games like Metal Gear Solid 2 and Final Fantasy X which are DVD based, the noise calms down to a quiet clicking every once in a while.

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