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In the Wii-PS3 Playoff, Nintendo Upsets Sony on the Fun Factor

The Nintendo Wii system controls use motion-detecting technology. In a tennis game, the wireless control can be swung like a racket.
The Nintendo Wii system controls use motion-detecting technology. In a tennis game, the wireless control can be swung like a racket. (By Shizuo Kambayashi -- Associated Press)

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My friend Jon, a technophile who likes racing games, reached first for the PS3 and wrestled with the menus and controls for the driving game Ridge Racer. Eventually, we played some races on the system and enjoyed some crisp and realistic-looking racetrack scenarios. But, for a while, he gave up on that and watched Andy and me fall over the furniture as we boxed each other on the Nintendo system. "I'm having more fun just watching you guys play that," he said.

Jon gave the PS3 a thumbs up in at least one area. He was eventually impressed with the quality of the Blu-ray movie format when we watched "Talladega Nights," the movie that Sony is including with the first shipments of the PS3.

Game developers say the PS3 is so powerful that they haven't exploited the system's full potential. I have no idea what the system is capable of, but I can testify that you have to be pretty sharp-eyed to tell much of a difference between the first batch of PS3 games and Xbox 360 versions of the same titles.

When it comes to accessing all of the multimedia features that Sony is promoting with its console . . . well, I still prefer the Xbox 360's approach.

With the Xbox 360, a Microsoft product, using the interface and getting online has been easy and almost as intuitive as using an iPod. Trying to get online with the PS3, on the other hand, was a vale of tears because I didn't have a USB-compatible keyboard to plug into the console, and using the game controller to enter my user information was a tedious process that I gave up on twice.

Imagine filling out a mortgage application on a cellphone. It's something like that.

So I headed out of town for Thanksgiving to spend some time with my girlfriend's family. Just to be safe, I locked away the expensive and hard-to-find PS3 in an undisclosed location, where it is being guarded by ninjas and feral dogs. The thing has some features I look forward to exploring some more, but that can wait.

The Wii, on the other hand, rode shotgun with me for some show-and-tell action because Nintendo got one feature right with the system on Day One:

It's just darn fun.


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