Gamers Rejoice Over Playstation, Wii Release

Sony's Playstation 3 is in hot demand and short supply this weekend. And to make it an official video gamer weekend, on Sunday, Nintendo releases its coveted Wii gaming system. Weekend Edition's Andrea Seabrook tried out Nintendo's latest game box the Wii in NPR's studio with Ralph Cooper and Kyle Orland the co-hosts of NPR's video-game podcast "Press Start."

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ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

For the truly dedicated video-gamer, this weekend might as well have been New Year's, Halloween and the annual Star Trek convention wrapped in one. Today, Nintendo is releasing its new game console. It's called the Wii - don't laugh. We'll get into that in just a minute.

The craziest consumers camped out to buy the Sony Playstation 3, which came out on Friday. At some stores, only 32 of the systems were available, far fewer than people in the line. Sony didn't even have enough to send to the usual reviewers and game magazines, so it's been a bit of a mystery.

Well, we here at WEEKEND EDITION were determined to bring you a world radio premier of the of the PS3 sound and features. We sent our intrepid producer Jesse Baker(ph) to talk to people waiting in line at Best Buy, get their phone numbers and call them this morning to find out their first impressions of the $600 gizmo.

But our plans were blown when we heard what buyer after buyer told Jesse.

Unidentified Man #1: Sell it on eBay.

Unidentified Man #2: I'm going to sell it if I get it.

Unidentified Man #3: Get money for the Nintendo that comes out on Sunday.

Unidentified Man #4: I want to see a profit in it, so...

Unidentified Man #5: Depends on the market, but around like $1,000? Thereabouts? Yeah, we'll see.

SEABROOK: Check out eBay this morning, and you'll find there are plenty of PS3s on sale, the price running over $2,500 in some cases. Yes, you heard me right. They're worth so much and were in such short supply that they practically started riots in some places. Police in McLean, Virginia fired pepper pellets into a crowd outside a mall. Then there were the robberies in Indiana, Connecticut, New Hampshire.

What Jesse did find is that it's not just 20-year-old boys who are gaga for gaming.

NEUTI: I've been in line 24 hours. My name is Neuti, and I'll tell you this. I'm 40. Would that help? I'm going to play my games. I play import games, I play...

Unidentified Woman #1: Avid Racer.

Ms. NEUTI: Oh yes. I love all the (unintelligible) games, Need for Speed, Underground. I've beat them all, have all the best scores.

Unidentified Woman #1: She taught me how to play Nintendo (unintelligible) so it's kind of like now she's more on the games than I am, and it's like, no, I want to get on the system. Wake up at 7:00 o'clock in the morning, her games (unintelligible). No!

Ms. KATIE GRAHAM: I'm Katie Graham. I'm from Georgetown with my husband. I'm in it because it matters to my husband. He's been talking about this for like six months, so...

Unidentified Man #6: Well, holidays are coming up, so we're both going to buy one, sell one, and use the extra money for holiday spending. You know, we don't make that much, so extra money for just standing here all night is, I think, kind of worth it, so...

Mr. PHILIP SUPACK(ph): My name's Philip Supack. I'm from Washington, D.C. I've been in line about 15 minutes. You know, people are selling it on eBay. I feel they are no better than scalpers. I feel like if you're going to do that, you should play it, or you should go to the concert, and otherwise it's just kind of scummy.

SEABROOK: Well, maybe they should buy a Wii, the Nintendo Wii, that is, spelled W-I-I. This one we can bring you a taste of, straight from the gamer's mouth. Ralph Cooper is here. He's a co-host of Press Start, the NPR podcast about video-gaming.

First, Ralph, okay. Go ahead. Let's see this game in action.

(Soundbite of video game)

Mr. RALPH COOPER (Press Start Co-Host): Okie-dokie. Just like that. That was also one of the hosts of Press Start, Kyle Orland here, showing off and flexing his bowling skills.

Mr. KYLE ORLAND (Press Start Co-Host): I'm done.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. COOPER: Yeah, do it Kyle. Kyle rolls down the lane. Oh, wow.

SEABROOK: Kyle misses the pins. We're bowling here, if you haven't figured that out. We're playing the Nintendo Wii that comes with the game Wii Sports. Is that right?

Mr. COOPER: Yes.

SEABROOK: So you're the seasoned gamer and reviewer. Which console do you think is better?

Mr. COOPER: I like the Wii. I like the Wii because it's got more gamer aspects to it.

SEABROOK: What do you mean by that?

Mr. COOPER: I like being immersed. Right now we're playing bowling, and absent of cigarette smoke and Budweiser, it's like you're really bowling.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. COOPER: You know what I mean? And I enjoy that. It's a lot of fun. And you've heard for years, people play video games, sit around on the couch and get fat. Well, the idea with this one is instead of you being able to sit on the couch and get fat, you actually - you do move. Like in this Wii Sports game, it's really a bit of a workout. There's not - you know, the bowling, to be honest, is kind of simple. It's not that deep. But like with the golf game, you actually have to know how to temper your swing. Or even with boxing, if you throw a whole bunch of punches thinking, like, that's the way to win the game, you'll get tired and the other guy just puts you down.

(Soundbite of laughter)

COOPER: So I like the aspect of it that's not just sit back and look at the screen and let's see what happens. I feel like at this point, most video game consoles, you can't really get higher graphic-wise than what you already have.

SEABROOK: Right. That's the thing about the PS3, is it's touting better graphics. The same thing that the last few generations of video games have touted, right?

COOPER: I agree, but there's no secret to anyone that in the last round of video game awards, the Playstation definitely lost the graphics game. They lost it to the Gamecube, and they lost it to the Xbox. And then with the new Playstation 3, there's really simple things that are big, big problems. For example, games that have come out this year, like Madden, a very popular game.

SEABROOK: Football game, uh-huh.

COOPER: Football game. The 2007 Madden for the Playstation 2 can't be played on the new Playstation 3.

SEABROOK: Do you think that today, when the Wii comes out, people will have this same craze over getting the Wii?

COOPER: Yeah.

SEABROOK: Are people waiting in line for these?

COOPER: From what I understand, they are. You know, I figured as soon as the Playstation lines, you know, started to dissipate, you'd start seeing Wii lines. And the major difference that I think is going to go down is the fact is that you really don't have to line up to get the Wii, because there's more than enough supply for them to hit the demand of the people who are looking for them.

SEABROOK: There you have it. Ralph Cooper and Kyle Orland are co-hosts of the NPR video game podcast Press Start. Thank you guys so much for not only giving us the scoop on this but making sure that we're totally hip.

COOPER: Yeah, no doubt. Stay hip.

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