I've been giving a lot of thought to my gaming future in recent months. Due to cost considerations, and the fact that Apple still aren't serious about gaming, I'd come to the conclusion that there was no future for me gaming on a Mac. My current MDD Power Mac dual G4/1.25 is fantastic for everything but future gaming, and it does well for all those TR's that exist on Mac to this time (end 2007). It's also possible that it will just scrape through with the forthcoming Universal Mac TR Anniversary from Feral Interactive (but at very low settings), and if a Mac version of TR Legend appears in the future then I could get similar results as it's the same game engine. But the next TR - Tomb Raider Underworld, sometime late 2008 or even 2009 - will be more demanding, and if it gets a Mac port is sure to be beyond my Mac. Hence I had to start planning.
None of this affects MacRaider, except for any possible future Mac TR's some way down the track that I can't run - I'm still a Mac Raider, still ready to support as many Mac TR's as I can, and I'll still be going forward with my walkthroughs. So MacRaider lives on!
Although I'm also a long term PlayStation gamer (I have an original PS, an original PS2, and a slimline PS2) the cheapest of the PS3 models in Australia is close to $700, a cost I can't justify. I was considering a Wii (just under $AU400) but as Anniversary on the Wii isn't as good as it should have been, and the future of TR on the Wii is uncertain, buying one would be a risk. And a PC (shock, horror!) would also be unjustifiably expensive as it would only be for games. Which leaves me with only one real choice - an Xbox 360, which is what I've been tending towards for some time now.
Today I went out for price comparisons, which was a good time to do it for several reasons:
1) The latest 360 hardware update with the 65nm CPU, and revised board and cooling, is now on the street. This was my major trigger for buying a 360 - it makes for much improved reliability as it runs a lot cooler.
2) There is a good value 360 Pro Bundle (Viva Piñata + Forza 2) on limited offer at the moment.
3) Both those games were on my radar, especially Forza 2 as I need to replace my long term Gran Turismo passion (GT is PlayStation-only).
4) JB HiFi have a killer deal on that bundle just for this week that neither EB Games nor GAME can match, and which at $AU449 is way below the true value of the pack (the RRP nearly $AU580, and EB and GAME can only go down to $AU499!) That's the Pro console with 20 GB hard drive, component cable, & remote, and the games are worth around $AU100 by themselves. Compare that with the normal 360 Pro street pricing at around $AU550+ without the games, and you can see that it's difficult to resist!
5) The Xbox 360 uses a development of the PowerPC G5 CPU, with triple cores running at 3.2GHz. So even though it wouldn't be gaming on a Mac, for a Mac traditionalist like myself the simple fact that I'd be gaming on a triple core 3.2GHz PowerPC (albeit running a Microsoft OS) gives me a sense of continuity (of course the PS3 and Wii are also PowerPC developments, so any console would have filled the same gap...)
So now that all the barriers to buying a 360 have gone down, I finally gave into temptation and I now have an Xbox 360 :-) In my next post I'll give you my setting up experiences, and first impressions with the 360 TR Legend!