It is one of those NY Times pieces on technology that, as soon as you read the headline, makes you think "oh, God, they’re taking another stab at it," much in the way a dying bumblebee attempts to extricate itself from a maliciously overturned pint glass on a hot summer day. Each time you read one of these stories, you think to yourself, "if this reporter demonstrates any domain knowledge on his subject, he’s going to screw up the story anyway, because he’s going to write as if his audience were comprised solely of retired couples living in Port St. Lucie."
This time the Times is tackling this hot new trend in gaming: you can actually run a game on your PC without even owning a gaming console. Imagine: that same PC that lets you balance your books, send email, and view pornography can actually be used to play hot new games such as Civilization IV. (Which, we should note, was released a year and a half ago and can’t actually be played on any console.)
It looks like the reporter wandered into a game store to get some quotes from real gamers. This is the utterly genius quote the reporter came up with: a stunningly brilliant slice of life from a reformed console gamer who, as a young professional, has now outgrown that greasy kid stuff called Nintendo:
“When I was a kid, I used to like Nintendo and used to play on
consoles,” said Mr. Kirschner, a 28-year-old lawyer. “But right now I
don’t have the time or money to invest in a $400 console and $50 in a
This is screamingly hilarious on a number of levels. First, is a lawyer (even a first-year associate, as this sharp-witted consumer probably is) really going to respond to a $10 difference in price between one game and another? Second, did no one inform him that the list price of the current Nintendo console offering is $250, not $400? Next, did no one inform him that a bargain-basement PC costs at least 200% more than the average game console? (Maybe from an economic perspective he evaluates the cost of his PC as being zero since he’s using his work PC to play games on nights and weekends — which makes sense, but it doesn’t support the premise of the story.)
But just set all that aside for a minute. This guy, he’s a lawyer, so we understand he’s a busy guy. But he says that one of the reasons why he’s pursuing a PC instead of a console game is because of time. He doesn’t have the time to invest in a console game. But what game is he purchasing? That’s right, Civilization IV, one of the biggest time sucks in the known universe, a game that may be responsible for the downfall of industrial civilization as we know it. So this dude really can’t be bothered to purchase and set up a Wii because he’s got to get home quick, knock out a few angry letters for clients, and settle in with some Velveeta cheese fondue, cocktail wieners, a six-pack of lukewarm Tab to fortify him during his six-hour stint of Civ IV tonight. The Times has spelled it all out for me, and I understand everything now.
I could go on and on, and I suppose I already have, but you get the idea.