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The 10: Console Exclusives Fans Can Gripe About

Posted on May 20, 2012 AT 06:40pm


Three guys walk into a bar: an Xbox fanboy, a Playstation fanboy, and a Nintendo fanboy. None came out alive.

That’s the worst joke you’ll hear all year, and it doesn’t have much truth to it. The vast majority of gamers are extremely civilized in real life, abhor violence, and faint at the sight of blood. In fact, unless they’re behind the anonymity of an online forum, conversations supporting their console of choice tend to be illuminating affairs with a few snide comments thrown in between.

I mean, it’s true that PS3′s are only good for playing Blu-Ray discs, Xbox 360′s overheat if they’re not kept in liquid nitrogen, and Wii’s make excellent paperweights, but I digress.

One thing  we can all agree on, though, is that the success of a console is defined by its lineup of exclusive titles, and whenever a hot new franchise is announced for the other console, we feel a pang in our stomachs and convince ourselves that our system still has a killer lineup. But there are trump cards we can never deny the other team. These are the 10 heavyweights that will tempt any fanboy into buying the competitor’s horrible product.

10. Xbox Live

Microsoft can be laughed at for many mistakes they made over the years, from the first Xbox’s terrible controller to the millions of cases of RROD after the launch of the Xbox 360. But nobody can deny that while all consoles allow for online multiplayer, Xbox Live is several dozen steps above the competition as an overall experience. Its servers are tried and true, and Microsoft has constantly worked to secure industry partners to turn Xbox Live into not just a gamer’s haven, but the go-to place for online entertainment. The annual $60 fee for a Gold subscription has become a fundamental expense for Xbox owners, who still have to suffer Playstation owners’ japes of “well, I don’t have to pay to play online”. Microsoft, however, had the last laugh when the Playstation Network (and its members) was subject to one of the largest data breaches in history in April 2011. $60 a year suddenly didn’t feel like much at all.

9. The Wii brings people together

One thing all old-school gamers miss is the social aspect of gaming together. We all started at the arcade, either playing co-op with friends or openly gaping at the local champion’s prowess. Then we moved onto the NES and SNES, laughing and hating each other over those Mario Kart matches. And while Microsoft and Sony put their chips into online play, Nintendo knew from experience that online interactions just won’t beat the experience of playing with friends on the same couch. The Wii moved over 40 million units worldwide, and suddenly gaming with friends in the living room was back with Wii Sports and Mario Kart Wii. Xbox and Playstation fans scoffed at the simplicity of these “casual games”, but they all secretly wished their own consoles had the same sort of power to turn a solo experience into several hours of fun with friends.

Your grandma has more friend IRL than you do on Xbox Live. The truth hurts.

8. God of War

Action games tend to be divided in two categories: those that focus on acrobatic platforming, and those that focus on combat. The God of War series is the undisputed leader when it comes to combat, making gamers feel the visceral power of a seriously pissed off Spartan on his quest to vengeance. Set in ancient Greek mythological setting, it also drew gamers into a world they were all at least somewhat familiar with. Or rather, it drew in Playstation gamers, leaving their Xbox brethren hoping for Microsoft to obtain the rights to a port. The recent announcement of the prequel God of War: Ascension was yet another stab in favor of one of Sony’s most prized exclusives.

7. BluRay

I haven’t bought a DVD in over a year, and I don’t own a BluRay player. I’m convinced physical media is going to the grave sooner rather than later. But what still pains me is when a movie I love is released, and all the great extra features are only available on the BluRay version. Some years ago one could find double-disc releases of DVDs, one with the feature, and one full of extras. Not so anymore: if you want all the interviews, behind-the-scenes, documentaries, and deleted scenes, you’ll have to fork over for the BluRay version of the film. And the Playstation 3 is still one of the best, and cheapest BluRay players on the market. Its huge storage capacity also allows games like Mass Effect 3 to fit into a single one, and while it’s not a huge pain to get the “please insert disc 2″ screen, it detracts from the overall experience. The next Xbox (720?) will almost certainly come equipped with a BluRay drive, and bring it to the homes of millions of gamers who have been too obstinate to plunge into the new format.

One set: special features on BluRay. Other set: special features on DVD. Guess which is which?

6. Metal Gear Solid

This one goes waaaaay back. Picture yourself, a proud owner of the first Playstation and Metal Gear Solid. Even if you never owned the first Playstation, chances are you owned a Playstation 2, which is still to date the most widely sold console in history. Then Microsoft launched the next generation of gaming a year ahead of everyone else, and you invested you money into an Xbox 360. Suddenly, the idea of also owning a PS3 didn’t sit too well with you, what with the lack of great exclusives and your newly-found love for Halo. Until, that is, Metal Gear Solid 4 was announced and you wished you had $500 in the bank just so you could see Solid Snake one more time.

5. Gears of War

When the first Gears of War gameplay footage was shown at E3 in 2006, jaws hit the floor. The Xbox 360 had been launched a little less than a year earlier, but none of the games until that point screamed “next generation” like Gears did. All of a sudden it felt like developers were truly going to take the system’s processing power to its full potential but, most importantly, a new type of shooter was about to gun its way into the market unlike anything seen before. And while new Playstation owners in November of 2006 got to play Resistance: Fall of Man, they couldn’t quite shake the feeling that Epic’s juggernaut was an entirely different beast they wished they could get their hands on.

4. Uncharted

If Metal Gear Solid has been a nagging itch for Xbox lovers, and God of War is a punch in the gut, the Uncharted series has been the coup-de-grace when it comes to Sony’s ability at securing exclusive rights to titles. Metal Gear Solid has a dose of nostalgia that appeals to gamers, and great cinematic storytelling. God of War may appeal to those looking for a harsher challenge. But Uncharted, with its great action, excellent combat, and absolutely incredible writing is the sort of series that finds fans in all gamers, a series unlike anything available exclusively to Xbox.

Sony’s Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Go ahead, tell them their games suck.

3. Mario

Yes, Mr. Hardcore. Your kill/death ratio is like 3000, and you could snipe an enemy bullet out of the air. You have spent more money on Xbox Live Arcade titles than retail games over the years, and you can get Kratos’ combo so high that his arms should be falling off by now. And you can’t believe that Mario, that silly Italian plumber, can still move mountains of $100 bills while wowing every critic on the internet. When your heathen friends tell you how amazing Super Mario Galaxy is, you give a nervous chuckle. The aggregate reviews are higher than anything your own console has in store. Wait, what!? How can it be!? Then one day you find yourself at a party and realize everyone is playing and having fun with not just Galaxy, but a slew of other games bearing the mustachioed hero on the cover. Worst of all, you realize you could be having quite a bit of fun as well and suddenly Nintendo’s little console starts looking very appealing in your home entertainment center.

2. Halo

We’re not even going to talk about how Halo was the killer app Microsoft needed to become relevant in the console market, and how it translated into sales for the Xbox. The first Halo revolutionized console shooters in a way unseen since Goldeneye 64, and has left its mark in every shooter since. Call of Duty and Battlefield may be the big names this moment, locked in a battle for supremacy, but when it comes to console exclusives nothing comes remotely close to the Halo franchise. Figures? Halo 3 alone has outsold the entire Resistance series about 11 million copies to 8. And it’s safe to say quite a few fans would more than gladly turn in their copies of Resistance for just a few hours at Halo: Reach.

At this point he could probably buy his way around the Covenant and Flood

1. Zelda

The first RPG for many of us (along with perhaps Final Fantasy), the Zelda series has been emblazoned on Nintendo’s battle banners for 25 years. After growing up you can say that the story is never anything truly new. That it’s childish compared to Dragon Age. That Zelda always needs rescuing, and Link always saves the day. Joke however much you want about Ganondorf being the most recycled villain in gaming history. But deep down inside you know you want to play every Zelda game that has come out in recent years. Sure, you scowl at the Wii. It’s for casual gamers. Hell, it’s for non-gamers who bought it because their neighbors had one. But when you saw that the lowest review scores of Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword were a 9/10, you secretly wanted to rush to the store and visit Hyrule once more. Casual console be damned.


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