The older daughter and I recently had a conversation about video games. A boy in her grade 5 classroom asserted that Gamecube (our current console) was "lame" and all the games "sucked." (He was hoping Santy would bring him Wii.) My daughter then piped up, "That's not true. I like Gamecube." And so she set off a chorus of similarly minded children, defending the lowly Gamecube.
I was pleased, of course, to hear of her impatience with conspicuous consumption, and let her know. "It's just so crazy," she said. "Why would anyone bother even buying a Wii, dad?"
"Well," I said, "I suppose if you want to play the newer games, that's the console you'd have to buy. They've already stopped making games for Gamecube. Not that that's an issue for us. But if you were curious about that new Simpsons game, for instance, you'd need a different console."
I could see the gears turning. "Oh," she said. "Then maybe we should get a Wii after all."
D'oh!! (Or should I say, "Mission Accomplished"?)
I gave it some further thought, talked it over with my wife and suggested it could be a gift to "me" while the girls received something less frivolous. It all sounded quite sane, so on my next foray into the land of Giant Boxed Stores I walked into the electronics-themed box and asked how much a Wii console was running.
The kid in the blue shirt looked at me as if I'd just crawled out from under a rock. "Uh, prob'ly 'bout $800, I'm thinking."
I blinked. "I was under the impression they were more affordable," I said.
"Well, they are ... when they're in stock."
How was I to know I was hunting for this season's Cabbage Patch Kid? Eight hundred bucks ... there isn't a console in the world worth that kind of coin.
Except for this one. Sturdily built, includes a heap of games that still haunt my dreams. Granted, it takes up a little more space than the new, high-falutin' consoles with their spiffy graphics. But look at those games.
The killer is its (to my mind) outrageous sticker-price of $2000. Two grand ... after I've probably spent that sum in quarters on those self-same games. So no Arcade Legends cabinet console for me, thank you. I will wait until spring, then dish out ten percent of that sum for the newly-available Wii.
Post-script: MAME is an option for some old-timers like myself (no helpful links, sorry: you will have to troll those porn-infested waters under your own recognizance. But Boing Boing links to this clever mash-up of an IKEA dinner table, rigged to include a MAME console.)