Right on Target!

So, last night Debs and I ran some errands, and then dropped by our friends work to get some Spiced Apple Cider. Well, her work happens to be right by a Target, and I thought it would be cool to drop by to check their clearance racks (usually you can ALWAYS find something good).I also wanted to check out their electronics section to see if they had any Zunes in as well as accidentally released anything early (with the Zune, PS3, and Wii coming out this week, of course ONE store could slip up).

Well, I didnt really find anything cool on clearance, but what I did find was better. A PS3 just sitting around with no one to play it. With quite a few people in the store, I was supprised to see everyone just walk RIGHT by it! So I picked up the fancy new SIXAXIS controller and started playing some racing game (didnt catch the name of it). You basically drive either a bike or a dune-buggy-truck over various land.

It was actually a lot of fun. The graphics were great, and the gameplay was actually a lot of fun for a racing game. But, NUMEROUS times the graphics kept ‘flickering’ where it looked like the system had locked up a few times trying to render something. This could have been caused by it being in such an enclosed space though and poss. overheating. The audio was nice too, but to loud for me (well, thats Targets fault, the TV was cranked WAYYYY up). The controls were REALLY nice, but at times it just felt unresponsive. I would hit the turbo, and nothing would happen. The steering was off a little bit too, and sometimes very hard to control the truck. I dont remember and rumble in the controller, which I thought was actually a feature. After about 5-10 minutes of play (NO one had come by) I gave up. This little kid was standing right next to me watching on and talking, and it just was kind of uncomfortable. Im sure I look like an ‘grown up’ to him, and grown ups have better things to do than play videogames.

Neither of us are real gamers, per se, and thats why I think the Wii will apeal to us more. Debs said that she did like the graphics of the PS3 better than the XBox 360, but that the gameplay on the 360 seemed a little bit more fun (and the controller looked a little more comfortable). And who could beat the price tag? $600 for a game system is a little out of budget…

Well, when walking out, debs pointed out ‘Hey, check it out, they have that Zune thing’. Her immediate next words are ‘I hate it’. Thats why I love you baby! It gets better….’I like my iPod a lot more, that things just ugly and fat and slow’. We both played with the interface quite a bit, which is actually my selling point – im really bored of the iPods interface. They have spent time on the ‘Human-computer interaction’ part of it with the super cool click-wheel, but not on the visual UI. I Really like how the Zune shows album art (above the song info, and very large), as well as even the animations when going through the menu’s. Even more so – you can choose themes! With the iPod, you really just have blue and white….

But what more – the hardware interface is just CONFUSING! It has a ‘wheel’ and then two buttons on the side of the wheel that you use for navigation. Well, clicking the one on the left does what you think it would do – take you to the previous menu (just like clicking menu on the iPod). But I swear that button had a ‘+’ on it? What the heck is that supposed to mean? Also, it took me a while to figure out how to actually turn the volume up and just get around on the interface.

As a positive, I like the video on it. You can turn the unit on its side, and display what you download in widescreen, which is nice. The wireless addition is nice as well, and I am curious to see where they go with that over time. With everything combined, I still would actually switch to a Zune if it wasnt for the following reasons:

  1. I have to much DRM’d iTunes music
  2. I REALLY like iTunes
  3. I have no clue if the Zune software has podcasts, free downloads, movies, etc
  4. It looks like a brick
  5. White headphones are so much cooler

Listening To: ‘You know who you are?’ by Nine Inch Nails


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