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24 September, 2004

Kicking the underdog

I meandered into the Guardian's Gamesblog a few minutes ago, out of mild curiosity.  I like SimCity (2,3,4), Tomb Raider (2,3,4, not especially 5, haven't tried 6 yet) and will probably try The Sims 2 once retailers start to offer it at a discount in a few months.  In short, I'm a very occasional gamer, so the fact that there's a 'Playstation vs. the rest' rivalry was news to me.  Resident Evil (1,2,3) was probably my favourite game ever, but I haven't touched a PSX since ~1998.

The point of this entry is a comment on one of the blog postings:

Parallels can be made between Sony and Nintendo in the gaming market and Microsoft and Apple in the home computer market. That is to say, there's a huge corporate entity on the one hand, looking to cement its monopoly and crush all who oppose them, and a small creative entity on the other, barely surviving by their wits and a devoted fanbase.
As I say, I know next to nothing about gaming 'culture', but taking this statement in the abstract, I disagree with the implied message that Nintendo and Apple deserve support merely because they are the 'plucky underdogs'. That's an irrational, romantic argument; all that matters is the quality of the product.
Market dominance is certainly important, and it's difficult to compete with an entrenched market leader when most manufacturers design for that architecture, but is a Nintendo (or Apple) machine objectively superior to a Sony (or Wintel) one, on its own technical (and pricing) merits, totally ignoring emotional baggage? If so, fine. It does indeed deserve greater attention. If not, tough; it's been outcompeted, and the fact that the winner was a multinational mega-corporation isn't relevant.

On the whole, I think I live by that tenet. For example, I rarely visit local corner shops, as supermarkets are objectively better suited to my lifestyle and requirements. Could this attitude cause the eventual closure of family-owned corner shops? Too bad; in my view they're obsolete.
Hmm. I'm repeating myself.

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