Game Systems Smackdown

Review: The next generation of video game systems does much more than just play games. See how the new Sony PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 stack up. (

Its times like these when it hits me how much I love my job. Sitting in PC Mag Labs purring away are all three of the major gaming consoles. Thats right, Im talking about the much-hyped and anticipated Sony PlayStation 3, the revolutionary Nintendo Wii, and the worthy competitor with a 12-month head-start, Microsoft Xbox 360. Oh, and did I mention everything is connected to massive HDTV sets? Life is good.

Viewed side by side, its seems to me that the slickest, most seductive model is the PS3. With a 3.2GHz cell processor and powerful 3-D graphics capabilities, you get an intense PC-caliber gaming experience here without the technical issues of a standard computer. The PlayStation also displays its games in stunning high definition and even plays Blu-ray movies along with standard DVDs.

Of course overwhelming video and processing power isnt everything. Nintendos Wii proves this by offering up maddeningly addictive and intuitive game play. The Wiis wireless controllers make even the bundled Tennis, Bowling and Boxing sports titles amazingly enjoyable. Every day at lunchtime, a line forms in front of the Wii we have set up in the PC Magazine labs.

Dont count the venerable Xbox 360 out, though. Thanks to a recent software update, the 360 can now output game graphics to an HDTV in glorious 1080p just like the PS3. Add to this the deep library of existing tittles and new HD DVD player attachment, and you still have a seriously compelling platform.

Speaking of HD viewing, better make sure youre set up to enjoy all this high-def goodness. Currently weve got the PS3 hooked up to a gargantuan 58-inch rear projection HP Pavilion md5880n TV, and man does it look great. If thats a little too much, I suggest the more reasonable Sharp LC-32D40U 32 inch LCD.

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