For almost the entire history of video games there has been a rivalry to one degree or another between console gamers and home computer users. The former believed their systems to be the superior gaming platforms whereas the latter heralded the multi-functionality of their systems, and I suppose both were right - that is after all what both types of format were designed for.
Despite mortally wounding Sega, I suppose I must begrudgingly admit that all three of them are fairly decent machines and host some pretty snazzy titles - indeed, the PS2 went on to become the highest selling console of all-time (for now, at least - Nintendo's DS is rapidly catching up!) - but one thing they all have in common is their ease of use. Just remove the packaging, plug them in, insert a game disc, turn them on, and play! Apart from perhaps the minor inconvenience of having to set the date/time, it really is that simple and that's exactly what a game console should be, right? No fuss, no messing around, just easy gaming.
I've always avoided using PC's for gaming. This is in part due to the high cost of having a 'rig' powerful enough to run recent releases, but also because running games on them generally requires a lot more messing around than I was prepared for. Since owning a PS3, however, I've been barely able to tell the difference! Constant installations and updates are required, even just for using the system at all, let alone running games, and it drives me crazy. Worse still, from what I hear the PS4 and Xbone (snigger) are even worse than their predecessors so it seems it wasn't just a one-off 'transitional generation' either. I guess it's here to stay.
Many of you reading this will probably dismiss my inane ramblings as those of a overly-fussy retro gaming oaf who's unable to grasp the complexities of modern hardware. Perhaps I am but I can't be the only one who feels this way. Consoles, at least as far as quick plug 'n' play convenience is concerned, are near enough dead, and modern consoles are basically branded PC's without keyboards. How long, then, will it be before the formats all merge into one? Perhaps we're set for something similar to the MSX project - rival hardware manufacturers all making their own machines to the same basic set of hardware guidelines but running intercompatible software. I suppose that might not be such a bad idea but I can't help longing for the simpler days when I could insert a game cartridge, move the switch to the 'on' position, and then just play it. Do you welcome the direction the gaming industry is heading or do you yearn for a simpler time as I do?