2600 vs. Playstation 3

Douglas Edric Stanley


I was just reading this interview with Nolan Bushnell (via fluctuat) and sure enough, the former head of Atari was talking smack about the Playstation 3. He’s out of the game console loop, so I suppose his opinion as the head of a former video game empire is worth something (although he is currently developing a new casual gaming restaurant franchise that seems to be missing that japanese touch, côté design). Of course, Bushnell will always have a warm place in my heart — no, not for Pong, I’m talking about all the hours spent on Crazy Climber thanks to the local Chuck E. Cheese’s during my Silicon Valley youth. But while I find his criticism of the Playstation valid, I still couldn’t help hearing an echo of historical irony in his two major claims: the Playstation is doomed because Sony is arrogant and its developer tools suck.

Um, excuse me… Wasn’t Bushnell running Atari when they made the Atari VCS system? I’m sorry to remind people of this, but the VCS is one of the most difficult platforms to program, at least the most difficult I have ever seen (yes, I’ve peeked under the hood, it’s pretty insane). But that didn’t stop the 2600 from becoming one of the most popular video game consoles of all time. The quality of developer tools is one thing, market power and strategic timing is another. Just look at the NeXT. Bushnell is right, Sony has thus far screwed up the latter, but it still has the former, so Wii’ll just have to wait.

Ok, that last one was a bad joke, but even a cursory glance should make it fairly obvious which gaming platform I want to develop for.

P.S. hey Sony : cool Rubik’s Cube moves.