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Dave Barry Takes On Sony 159

Warrior writes: "Humor columnist Dave Barry decided to tackle Sony in an editorial about the hype surrounding the Playstation 2. And just in time for the holidays! Children don't need the latest toys anyway."
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Dave Berry Takes On Sony

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  • by kaisyain ( 15013 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @09:46AM (#595944)
    the absence of competition in the console market

    You mean like the N64, PSX, and Dreamcast? Yeah, there's an absolute dearth of other consoles out there. Given the relative game line ups [] at the moment, I don't know why anyone would be buying a PS2 over a Dreamcast today. Maybe in 6 or 12 months when the PS2 has some true killer games out...but not today and not for Christmas.
  • Dave Barry writes for the Miami I must wonder, since those people can't vote, they can't know what funny is -- which must be why this hack is still employed. Bah. Dave Barry is about as funny as paper pulp...thin, washed out, and right down the drain.
  • Hype on consoles are always overblown. PC hardware will always meet or exceed the console within six months of the console being released... this MUST happen, because the console manufacturers cannot put experimental hardware into their systems, they must put in hardware that is at least THREE MONTHS OLD when it's integrated. Within six months the PC manufacturers have surpassed the console in every respect.

    However, what many console detractors fail to realize is that despite the fact that the hype focuses on the features, it is not the feature list which competes directly with computers... it is the stability of the platform.

    Stability is something computers lack. They are constantly changing, constantly in flux, with new drivers, new features, new hardware, new software every month, every year. Writing software for the computer is much more difficult to keep up with... it's hard to become (and remain) an expert in game programming because the target changes so rapidly. Not so for console development. Your platform does not change significantly from the day it's released in Japan for the next five years of its life. That is five years in which you can refine, explore, and exploit every feature and grain of performance from the platform. Five years in which to have a stable technology base to work from.

    It's hard to explain to those who have never developed a game from start to finish, but having a stable platform is a MASSIVE benefit. You have a uniform interface, a stable display system, a fixed output spec... no need to support dozens of controllers, dozens of graphics chips, and millions of various computer setups. One spec to rule them all, one spec to bind them, etc.

    You can focus on making the game, not learning the hardware. And it shows. Consoles have a different style of gameplay, in general, than PCs, but it's not 'worse' or 'better'. Just different. And very, very lucrative.

    So ignore the specs. Ignore the hype. But don't ignore the consoles, because they are a force to be reconed with. They will NEVER outstrip the sheer power of a computer, but they WILL produce games that are just as stunning, just as fun, and just as rich as a PC game even when their hardware is technically inferior.


    And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
  • New games are either clones of great ideas from the past or lame adaptations from computer games. They don't cut it and probably never will

    One word: Shenmue.

    You obviously haven't played it.

    One word: SSX

    You obviously haven't played it

    You can say anything is a clone of anything if you step back far enough. "The original Legend of Zelda sucked because it was a clone of Adventure for the Atari 2600." C'mon. Yes, ideas will be rehashed. Look at English Literature. Shakespeare pretty much covered all the possible scenarios. Star Crossed Lovers. Tragic Hero. Etc. Does that mean no one whould ever write another story or we should quit reading them?


  • If you're going to copy and paste something, whether for karma whoring or to help innocent schoolchildren, at least include the whole text of the (2 page) article! And now for page 2... (Give me your -1 Redundant, moderators, I can take it--it's for the poor, filtered widdle childwen! :-) (Please read the article here instead of below, unless you're filtered: index2.shtm) Dave Barry But enough bitterness. As the old farm saying goes, there is no point in spilling milk on a barn door that has already hatched. So what if we can't buy our kids a PlayStation 2 this year! Who says they need it anyway? What's wrong with the toys we got when I was a boy? Some of them were pretty darned "high tech," too! For example, there was a toy called the "Wheel-O," which was this wheel that you rolled around and around in this metal frame, which the wheel stuck to because of ... magnetism! Wow! I bet our kids would think THAT was pretty "cool," huh? Also we had "Tickle Bee," which was this little bee you dragged around and around in a maze, using the amazing power of ... magnetism! And what about electric trains? I spent countless fun hours watching my Lionel train go around and around, and of course around. The train had a milk car with a milkman who loaded and unloaded milk cans by means of the mysterious power of -- prepare to become excited -- magnetism! There was even a missile car that used magnetism to launch a missile, which went straight up and came back down on the train, sometimes hitting the milkman, who apparently represented some kind of military threat. And in the unlikely event that we ever got tired of magnetism, we had: vibration. This was the force that powered a football game in which little vibration-powered football players scooted around on a little football field with a vibrating motor under it. You painstakingly lined up all the players, then you turned on the motor, and suddenly you were watching an incredibly realistic simulation of what a football game would look like if all the players had ingested massive quantities of psychedelic drugs. Some would go in circles; some would take off for parts unknown; some would flop onto their sides and just twitch around. The player with the "ball" -- a little football-shaped piece of felt -- would ALWAYS head directly for the wrong goal line. It was a lot like the production plan for the Sony PlayStation 2. But my point is that, this year, maybe you don't need to give your child the "latest" toy. Maybe your child will be just as happy with a toy from the attic! Because in the end, the holiday season is not about material things. Ho ho ho.
  • For a hillarious song on this topic by my favorite Canadian humor group (okay, so it's the only one I know), Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie, go check out The War of 1812 []. While you're at it, listen to their other pieces, including the Internet Help Desk and the Toronto song. I laughed myself silly when I first heard their stuff.
  • 1. Is that is $USD or in my own humble Canadian funny money?
    2. Are you talking a complete system (17" monitor, printer, etc.) or just the main box? What kind of video card, RAM, etc?
    3. Where is there, and how much will it cost to ship from there to here?
  • Overall I'd have to agree. After all I'd read about the PS2 I knew there was no way in hell I'd throw my money away on it, but I was curious to see what a really high polygon count with no antialiasing looked like. Well, it looked like virtual origami. I saw their snowboarding game at one of the local stores and was shocked at how weak the graphics were. I waited on my Dreamcast until I knew which one was better, and my God, the difference is truly night and day. The Dreamcast may occasionally crash (yay microsoft), but at least it doesn't collect dust. Maybe that's just an exceptionally horrible title; but, I can't help but feel that watching SoulCalibur's kata's is good TV, while the PS2 is as disturbing as having your Limp Bizkit rock block prempted for a new Spice Girls single.
  • hey... Think of all the hits this brought to the gamespy site, and think of all the people who never heard of gamespy. Any marketing technique is as good as the next and in this case, it worked like a charm.

    It's not the first time we've seen a site write up an article flaming Linux, just cuz they knew it'd appear on /.'s headlines.. it's called "trolling".

  • If you want something good - try his book "Dave Barry Slept Here (a sort of history of the United States)". Great reading and very funny. The man took it upon himself to educate the masses after a survey of high school history student revealed that 75% of them though that Abraham Lincoln was "c) some type of lobster." It's definitely worth a read... that, and I was born on October 8th (no, really, I'm not making this up).

  • Out of curiosity which titles should I check out to see the PS2 in all it's glory?

    The snowboarding title I saw for it was absolutly foul. The polygons were so sharp I was affraid I'd cut myself. Then the snow chunks looked like bad 2-d sprites. After all the negative press I'd read, I didn't expect anything truly stagering.... But damn, it looked like crap. However, I could tell it had a really high polygon count, I had NO trouble seeing the polygons.

  • just bought the PSone at Target (I get a discount). Now I can choose the best games and get them dirt cheap because some people think they are obsolete.

    Speaking of bleeding edge, the Playstation 1 graphics are so jaggy that you can slice cheese on them. Sorry, I just can't take 1994 quality graphics anymore. But glad you can! One more PS2 for the rest of us. :)

    - Scott

    Scott Stevenson
  • Honest mistake, sorry about that. I guess I now know why I thought his "conclusion" was weak.
  • Dave Barry's a humorist, hence why it's under this article is under the humor category. His stuff is usually funny, and his year in review column (check you local paper in a couple weeks) rocks. If you remember the old series "Dave's World" that was on CBS ~5 yrs back, he's who they based the series on.
  • I wouldn't say that buying on the bleeding edge means that you need your head examined...
    It's just simply a different philosophy.
    for instance, I bought my P2-266 when it was the fastest thing, and I can even run Quake 3 on it;

    It's simply a matter of when you want to spend the money.
  • Dave Barry is a columnist for the Miami Herald and the author of several funny books (for example, "Dave Barry Does Japan", "Stay Fit and Healthy Until You're Dead", "Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage and/or Sex").

    In the '80s, he was just about tied with Douglas Adams in my estimation as the funniest writer alive. Like Adams, his work has slipped somewhat, but every so often, he writes a column that still makes me laugh out loud when reading it. This column was one of them.
  • If they wait three months, won't everyone be able to pick up a PS2 at Walmart for the regular price tag, rather than shelling out $15,000+ on eBay?

    I haven't seen someone shell out $15,000 for a PS2 yet. The most I've seen on eBay is $650ish for a PS2. That's only 250$ USD over the regular Playstation 2 price.

    If someone actually paid that much for a PS2, it's unbelieveable how much money some people have to waste.


  • by TheNecromancer ( 179644 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @09:50AM (#595961)
    Let the parents give their children rain cheques for Xmas. I've gotten those a couple of times. As long as the kid isn't a spoiled brat, will it kill them to wait a few weeks for their gift? Hell, I've sometimes waited 4 months for a rain cheque I got for Xmas to show up. It didn't kill me, just taught me a little patience.

    You miss the point: most of the parents rushing out to get the PS2 for their kids are raising spoiled brats! The parents who have normal kids are waiting a few weeks until they purchase it for their kids!

    I think Sony contributed to the frenzy, but this is just another example of how our society has become a cutthroat case of "I gotta have it before the next guy does, or life isn't worth living!"


  • by Epi-man ( 59145 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @09:52AM (#595962) Journal
    Anyone who buys on the bleeding edge should have their heads examined.

    Ahhh, but we must be thankful for those that do buy the bleeding edge...they subsidize our second stringers afterall!
  • Well, look at it this way. No one is forcing anyone to pay $15,000 for one. If anyone is that desperate (highest I've actually seen myself is $1200, but I don't check that often) to get one, then they deserved to get fleeced. A fool and his money, after all...

    If I had one, would I sell it on eBay? If I could get $15,000 for it, you're damn right I would. That's not the point though.

    There will always be people who have to have the latest and newest toy. We're not just talking geek-toys like the PS2 either. Remember when it was "Tickle-me Elmo"'s turn? How about Furbys? Or even Cabbage Patch Kids.

    It is that not-so unique phenomenon known as supply and demand. When the demand far outpaces the supply, you get rushes and cost inflation like this. It happens every Christmas, for Jah's sake. It should be no surprise that it is happening by this point. The only big difference this year is that it is a geek-toy.

    And if you want SOTA, buy SOTA. Just don't be surpised that it doesn't stay SOTA for long.

    Just my 2 shekels.

  • Will someone please bitchslap the moderator that marked this redundant?

    Mind showing me where an earlier post corrected the price of a 600MHz?
  • YAY! Finally a fellow Comrade in the Revolution!

  • Hear hear.
  • Don't forget "Dave Barry Slept Here" (my personal favorite) and "Dave Barry's Guide to Homes and Other Black Holes"

    DBSH is still the funniest book I think I've ever read. Besides, anybody who makes we want to test the Exploding Pop-Tart Theory is OK by me...

  • Isn't Sony a major player in the RIAA? If so, then it would seem a little hypocritical to be simultaneously lauding them for the PSX2 and condemning them for their RIAA-related actions. True, I share the belief that the RIAA is bad, but if we're going to be against it, we need to be *against* it; this includes not supporting member companies.
    The same sony who makes everything from cdrw drives and disks, mini disks and mp3 players. Sony is in it for the money. I personaly think there only connected to the RIAA just to say that they are "Hey our mp3 players are 100% legal couse were part of the RIAA"

  • I'm playing Raiders of the Lost Ark on a G4 Mac: thanks to emulators!

    This game is bringing back tons of and all! It rocks big time folks. Never played it? Go get it: []

    People will be playing these old classics for as long as people are playing the shiny-new games! Long live 'video games' (of every sort!)
    Jak Din
  • He was funnier before the divorce.

  • This isn't flamebait, this is a cut and paste of the article. Redundant, maybe, but flamebait it is not!

  • Why would Santa give a rain cheque?
    Pray tell me, what is a rain cheque? I checked Webster's nice online dictionary, but not to avail. I figure it is some kind of a gift certificate?
  • I'd let the kid carry out his threat, just to see if he would. If he did, he'd be in counseling. Problem solved.
  • 1) That's USD

    2) Haven't a clue. The sign just says Computers: $499 600 MHz, $799 GHz. Haven't stopped in, since I will be building my next system in all probability.

    3) Austin, TX, somewhere on Brodie Ln, just south of William Cannon. Don't know the name of the place, just drive by it on the way to work.
  • [If Sony was smary, they would FLOOD the market with cheap PSX2s to get a HUGE installed console base. They then would be able to sell loads of games for years and years]

    That was Sony's plan, but IIRC, they switched the chip manufacturing process from a .18 to a .13, and there were some problems during the transition. They didn't want to pass up the Christmas season, so they released it (in limited quantities)

    First, that's .25 to .18. Second, they never planned on releasing more than 2.5 million American PS2's by Xmas (now they will be lucky to hit 1 mil., as they are reported [] to have not only cut the launch numbers from 1 mil. to 500k, but have missed their subsequent shipping targets as well), because they knew they couldn't make more than that.

    Third, they are already losing money--quite a lot of money--selling them for $300. (I've seen estimates of a loss of $170/console, but they are probably outdated.) Fourth, it's not like this was a brilliant stroke of marketing genius on Sony's part--all consoles are sold at a loss, always and forever; the money is made back (theoretically and then some) by licensing fees on every game sold.

    Fifth and finally, a $99 PS2 would compound Sony's worst fear (and biggest miscalculation IMO)--that is, that everyone would buy a PS2 because it was the cheapest DVD player around, and not to play (read: buy) games for it. Then Sony loses money on the initial sale, and doesn't gain it back on license fees for all the PS2 games that no one is buying because they're all using their PS2s as DVD players. Indeed, it appears as if this is what has happened so far in Japan, where the ratio of PS2 games/PS2 consoles sold is abysmally low. (Of course, the initial round of Japanese PS2 games were themselves abysmal; the US ones, while still no better than the Dreamcast, were much improved.)

    Right now there is a small selection of PS2 games, so there is little competition between developers, plus releasing a game early means sales throughout the life of the console, not just a few months. Releasing a game early in a popular console's life is very beneficial to the developer

    Actually, this is wrong as well. The PS2 launched in America with a remarkable 27 titles; over 50 are expected by Xmas. (Contrast the other extreme, the N64--which launced in September of 1997 with just 2 or 3 games IIRC and had only like 7 by the end of the year, something awful like that.) The problem, of course, is that those 50 titles are going to be split amongst what now appears to be barely 1 million PS2 owners. Assuming a game/system ratio (for the year) of 3 (this may be generous considering everyone has already shelled out $300 for the console, plus more for a memory card or extra controller required to many of the best games), that's an average of 60,000 sales/game. And that, in the console business, is a collassal failure. Meanwhile, because the PS2 presents programmers with a notoriously steep learning curve, most of the initial games are quite unimpressive, so it's doubtful many will become long-lasting classics or boast the public's perception of the developer.

    A lot of developers are going to lose big with their initial PS2 games. While there are other forces at work, the general pace of a system's releases is chosen by the system's manufacturer. Many are predicting a lot of developers very unhappy at a Sony which goaded them into glutting the PS2 game market while being unable to fill their end of the bargain by making PS2 consoles. Many developers are already complaining about the PS2's extremely unorthodox insides and complete lack (at this point) of high-level programming libraries. There are several other options out there... So far it looks like a disaster of a launch for Sony; the question is whether the PS2 has enough power, hype and support to rule the market anyways.
  • Websense blocked me from reading the editorial until i get home from school. Stupid school board can't even find hte on button for their own computers, and the person who installed websense (and knows how and why it works) didnt get to make decisions as to what was filtered. Im sure it was a funny article too =(
  • The original poster spelled it the former way, and so I followed suit. I assume that's the british way to spell it. Usually I see it spelled the latter way. Basically it means a promise to fulfill the obligation later. So you'd give the kid a note or something saying "I promise to buy you a playstation 2 within 2 months," or something along those lines. I think the origin is when sporting events would get rained out and they'd give people passes to future games.
  • It's much easier to persuade your parents to buy you a PC than a playstation ('I'll do homework and research'), and with the shortage of Playstations, the absence of competition in the console market, Windows PCs, and Windows games can expect a bumper Christmas.
  • Time will only tell if the PS2 is more successful than the Saturn was, but Sony desperately needs to get these things in peoples' homes if they're going to have any success. There's a lot of demand now, but it's not going to last forever.

    One of the things that's credited with crippling the poor Saturn from the start was Sega's mystifying move-up-the-launch bit. Originally intended for the Christmas season, Sega launched out-of-the-blue in May of 1995, coming as a surprise to many/most. The rest of the list smacks true, as well - just wanted to chip that in. (Check the Saturn system FAQ on GameFAQs [].)

  • I haven't tried, but I'm pretty sure my filter here at work which block humor and online gaming will probably block this too. Could someone post the whole text?

  • Hells yeah, this is stuff that matters! This has to be one of the funniest things I've seen on /. in a really long time.
    Seriously, though, all this Playstation hype makes me glad that I'm perfectly content to play Adventure and any number of Atari 2600 games. How many PS2 games will people still be playing 20 years from now, I wonder...?

  • If Sony was smary, they would FLOOD the market with cheap PSX2s to get a HUGE installed console base. They then would be able to sell loads of games for years and years

    That was Sony's plan, but IIRC, they switched the chip manufacturing process from a .18 to a .13, and there were some problems during the transition. They didn't want to pass up the Christmas season, so they released it (in limited quantities)

    . Instead they're wasting the Xmas season and ensuring that game developpers will favor making PSX1 games (that both PSX and PSX2 can play) because there's not enough PSX2s out there to justify risking releasing a PSX2-only game

    Most developers will tell you that it's best to get in on the ground floor when a console is released. IIRC, Sony shipped 500,000 PS2's to the USA on launch date, and several thousand each week after that. Right now there is a small selection of PS2 games, so there is little competition between developers, plus releasing a game early means sales throughout the life of the console, not just a few months. Releasing a game early in a popular console's life is very beneficial to the developer
  • I hate Sony, but I hate FUD more.

    Here's the deal: You don't need lots of RAM, 'cause you can stream textures from main memory every frame. How? 3.2 GB/s of memory bandwidth. That's why the PS2 can look so good with so little VRAM.
  • Every toymaker wants to have the hot toy that people wait in line for. It is much more valuable to get all that publicity, and be anointed as the "one to have," than to make a few extra bucks by selling to everyone who wants one at Xmas. I am convinced that Sony planned this carefully and will have lots of PS2s available come February. Until then, get in line - preferably the one with TV cameras rolling!
  • is sufferring /. effect, most likely.. I can't access it.

    Can Anyone who's at the page and has some time setup a mirror? :)

  • The game is called SSX, and honestly it RULES. The place you saw it at most likely had some crap connect to whatever display it was on. The EB I got my copy at had it running on a Phillips-esque flatscreen TV, and it blew me away. I can notice some polys on the larger architecture, but as a whole the game is rather smooth, not to mention addicting.

    Now, if you want other titles to get that look nice, there's Dead or Alive 2 Hardcore, an enhanced version of DoA2 that came out for DreamCast. I don't know what specifically is different (except for the graphics, of course), but it looks GREAT. Summoner, Evergrace, and Armored Core 2 also are very graphically pleasing games. And if you can wait till Jan 2001, Gran Turismo 2000 will be out, which is absolutely STUNNING.
  • Huh? What kind of review has cartoons?

    Oh, well.

    More stuff I don't quite get []

  • I guess we need to burn the Whitehouse again to get some attention. :-)

    Politics are, in some small way, news for nerds. The reason the EFF is fighting such an uphill battle, and the reason the US has DMCA, UCITA, etc., is because geeks don't care enough about the evil that is politics. Slashdot has a civic responsibility to change that, and that responsibility isn't just limited to the US.
  • You don't have to be in a "highbrow literary publication" to put a little depth into an article that someone paid you to write. There are thousands of writers out there who would love to rest on their laurels and not actually extend any effort in their writing and still make money hand over fist.
  • You don't really think he went to FAO, Circuit City, or the MALL! do you? Good god man, have you seen the people who frequent such establishments. That's what the help is for...
  • by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @12:16PM (#595991) Homepage Journal

    Yesterday, one of my office colleagues passed around a copy of a 15M MPEG video shot by an amateur videographer of the PS2 launch in Paris, France. (Perhaps another kind Slashdotter will post the original link?) I found I was actually disturbed by what I saw.

    The camera was positioned on a balcony high above the main floor where the unveiling took place. A kiosk in the middle of the floor was covered by a two-story-tall phallic mylar curtain. High-tech lighting effects splattered over the curtain and the crowd. A half-dozen or so Sony salesdroids were manning the kiosk, preparing to hand out units to lucky buyers. Surrounding the kiosk were a solid ring of red-shirted security personnel, and surrounding them were easily over a thousand people on the main floor.

    As the MPEG opens, the curtain begins its rise. My ears were hammered by the volume of the cheering crowd. As the curtain clears the top of the kiosk, one of the Sony people in the lower right portion of the picture takes a PS2 box from the kiosk and moves to hand it over a security person to one of the dozens of hands stabbing out for it. A dimple forms in the security ring, heading towards the Sony guy...

    Moments later, the entire ring collapses like wet tissue paper, and the kiosk is engulfed. Screams of terrified women emanate from the mass, which has abandoned all pretense of civilization. The security people are now helplessly trapped in the crowd itself, and the Sony people have climbed up on the kiosk, giving themselves a bit of safety on higher ground.

    The camera zooms in, and we begin to see details of the throng. It looks like a study in fluid dynamics as pressure waves move through the packed mass of people. As the camera slowly pans around, we see a Sony guy pull a woman from the crowd to safety on the kiosk (someone pin a medal on that guy). A French voice booms out impotently over the PA system pleading for calm. One red shirted security guy remains near the kiosk trying to keep the four or five people immediately near him from getting too close; it's not clear if he can see over their heads to see what a job he's got. Meanwhile, the Sony guys continue to hand out PS2 units to the insane crowd.

    While all this is going on, the moron running the high-tech light show doesn't turn it off and go to normal lighting. So along with all the pushing, shoving, yelling, and terrified screaming, the crowd continues to be bombarded with panning spots and flashing strobes, adding to the already disorienting environment. I have no idea if anyone was seriously injured.

    From the behavior of the crowd, you'd swear there was a food shortage going on. But it wasn't a critical resource that was in short supply, it was a fscking game machine. And, from all reports so far, not even a very good game machine. I found it disturbing to watch, to see that so many people could go so bonkers and inflict such harm on each other over something so unimportant.


  • I totally agree with you on this point. I recently bought a used NES from a used video game store and started rebuilding my childhood video game collection, and I am also currently trying to find an Atari 2600. I must say, some of these games are certainly more entertaining than those that come out today. (Not saying that there aren't the rare few really good games out there today, but it's hard to beat the funfactor and replayability of classics such as Super Mario 3 and Metroid.)


  • Cool! Thanks for the info...have you heard the version of the war by Jimmy Horton?

  • "Dave Barry Takes On Sony"

    Really? I thought he just sat in a room, other there, and wrote about it. My mistake.

  • by dboyles ( 65512 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @12:36PM (#595995) Homepage
    I'm not exactly sure why there is a shortage on PS2s. I haven't really kept up with it since I certainly don't have $500 to spend on a game system and a few games. Barring a parts shortage, here's what Sony should have done:

    For the sake of argument, let's say Sony would expect to be able to sell 5 million PS2s between release date and December 24. On the release date, they release 100,000; but there exists demand for at least 2 million. Now those 1,900,000 people who are willing to buy one but can't are just dying to be one of the few lucky ones.

    Now fast forward to mid/late November. Sony could release several hundred thousand. These would be bought up quickly, but most importantly, it would keep the PS2 on everybody's Christmas (or whatever) list because they now think they can actually have a chance at getting one.

    Now fast forward further to somewhere around December 10. Sony can suddenly release millions of PS2s and they'll sell like Brittney Spears pornos. The kids are happy because they got their PS2 (which they still think is very in-demand), and Sony is happy because they've sold hundreds of thousands of units more than expected.
  • I think you miss the point. He's not angry with Sony for failing to supply as per their hype, in fact, if I've read Dave Barry right for the last 15 years, he's not really angry at all. He's pointing out how absolutely ridiculous the entire craze is, b/c, after all... it's NOT about the material things... as he CLEARLY states.

    He's making fun of Sony for failing to meet their own demand in such a dramatic way, but I'd hesitate to say he's MAD at them for it...

    Funny (as in odd), that the ONE serious sentence in his ENTIRE essay is the one sentence that you ignore...

    Also funny is that I agree with both you and Barry, at least on where the fault (such that it is) lays.
  • At least this year's big crazy every-kid-must-have, selling-for-2000%-its-actual-value gift is something moderately interesting, and not glorified stuffed animal.

    It seems that hype and corporate control over the masses has reached a point that we are going to have something that people are going to go completely crazy over each year, so this year it might as well be the PS2.
  • by RhetoricalQuestion ( 213393 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @10:04AM (#595998) Homepage

    A funny article, as usual. Berry writes well but this article doesn't have much content.

    You see, Dave Barry is what they call in the publishing world a "humourist." (Or what's known as a humorist in the States.) A humourist's job is to write articles that are funny. Being funny does not necessarily require any actual content -- in fact, many humourists find that things like content and truth get in the way. (Though, given the US election situation, that's not always true.)

    If you want quotes, statistics, news stories, etc., you'll have to find what's called a "journalist".

  • come on, give parents a little credit here. they'd rather have a crappy DVD player and a game station then a PC. after all, little junior can look at p0rn sites with a PC. the game station just lets him play violent games. and we all know that violence is much better for us then sex.

    Anonymous Moron
  • Don't bash Dreamcast, its games are amazing, and original...

    Dance Dance Revolution ... a dancing game, HOW COOL

    Samba De Amigo ... a Mexican dancing/music making monkey game...... HOW COOL

    Shenmue ... it has so much it creates a new genre, maybe a SUPER GAME genre, the graphics are insane, you can do everything, you can even dial rotary phones 1 number at a time! (hehe)

    Jet Grind Radio.. it's Tony Hawk * 10.. you roller blade to awesome music and you spray paint graffiti, and tag rival gangs with spray paint, and have cool missions, its real cool...

    Dreamcast has amazing graphics, and totally original titles... so say N64 isn't original, that's fine, by leave Dreamcast alone!

    Oh my god, I've been bitch slapped by Slashdot, You Bastard!
  • IANAL: is this legal?

    No, and YAAI. You didn't even mention Dave Barry's name!

  • Kibo: If you weren't on an S-Video connection then you should probably wait. However, at S-Video or Component there are a couple of games that look quite nice: Tekken Tag, SSX, DoA2 Hardcore, Smuggler's Run. Madden's not too bad either.

    Could you have been watching ESPN Winter X? I've heard that one's not as crisp as SSX. Chunky snowflakes?

    And before you jump all over me for including Smuggler's Run: Rent it (or whatever) and Joy Ride the Winter level. Find the tall mountain and make your way to the top (about 6 times around). Carefully turn 360 degrees and marvel at the 2+ mile visibility...

    I never said PS2 had beaten DC. That's gonna take at least one more generation. However, I'll bet my Gran Turismo Skyline Hybrid with 1535hp that the PS2 improves dramtically between its generations, more so than DC has.

    Totally aside, I read that Resident Evil: Code Veronica was being ported to PS2, but as Sega did most of the work for Capcom, Sega might actually see royalties from a PS2 game. Now that should make you happy!

    - GT2 Sucked!

  • alarosa: Jan 2001 is the expected Japanese release of GT3 A-Spec (name changed to protect the delay). The US release is expected a couple of months after, a 'la GT1.

    Personally, considering how bad GT2 was because SCEA rushed Polyphony, I hope it gets delayed further...

    If you can read Japanese or just like to try, here's the SCEI official GT3 page [].

    - Where's the McLaren F1 GTR?

  • as the amusing recollection of the "vibrating" footbal field.

    Was anyone who had one of these ever able to get the QB to pass or the kicker to kick?

    I know I couldn't...
  • That would be 0.18 micron and 0.21 micron. You'll not get many gates on a chip a one-fifth of a mm per feature.
  • try going through (or or or etc etc) - works for me!
  • by belgin ( 111046 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @12:41PM (#596007) Homepage
    It amazes me how many dollars a company will spend on advertising, and how LITTLE damn money they spend on production, if sony had spent the billion or so dollars it spend on pushing the PS2 on actually making the damn thing

    Well. I looked into this and thought I would share the results for those who have not:

    Sony had everything set more or less for their U.S. launch but decided that they would outsource production of the main graphics CPU to a fab plant that could do 18 micron chips instead of their plant which did 21 micron chips. The other company was also supposed to make chips at three to four times the rate of Sony's plant. About a month or two before launch, Sony found out that the chips the other company was making weren't working and that they had to produce over a million chips out of their arse. Sony cranked it's 21 micron plant into overtime, and tried to salvage as many 18 micron chips as possible (not bloody many).

    End result: Sony's graphics chip plant has been in hyper overtime ever since, and Sony is air-shipping hundreds of thousands of units they had planned to ship via ocean as they can finish the units. I'm given to understand that they are rather upset with the company they had originally outsourced these chips to and are still trying to bring them online, simply because it would increse the rate at which they can sell completed PS2s that are missing the critical main graphics chip.

    Think what you will of Sony (I like many of their products but not their overall mindset), but I seriously doubt that they destroyed their profit margins like this on purpose.

    B. Elgin

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm sorry, this may be off topic but...

    what happened to the moderation on this one? Or am I just too stupid to find it funny? Somebody make this thing interesting or insightful or something, unless I'm just too much of a dimwit to catch the humor, and then reply to this and list in careful detail what's supposed to be funny about this so I know what to laugh at.


    Anonymous Coward
  • "all consoles are sold at a loss, always and forever"

    Not sure the N64 is. Not sure about the PSX-One either, thinking about it.

    I heard a rumour, which is probably all it is but it sounds technically possible, which was that Sony were going to put the psx onto a chip/small board and include them, built in, with some/most/all of their standard domestic audio cd players. Dunno how many audio cd players sony sell, but i imagine its 100`s of millions per year, so even if people were effectively getting a psx for free, it`d mean a big instant user base for the ps2 (with is backwards compatibility).
  • "Flamebait"... this was moderated as "Flamebait"?


    I don' git it...
  • The differences are similarly striking, I think.

    • The Saturn had no extant game library to tap into, upon release.
    • The PS2 can play most of the current PSX game library.

    • The Saturn had no extant video library to tap into, upon release.
    • The PS2 can play most DVDs, depending on driver software, region coding, and other hacks.

    • The Saturn actually had a fairly successful launch, considering their biggest competitor was the NES(see FAQ [].)
    • The PS2's biggest competitor is the PSX, it's direct ancestor.

    I suspect, regardless of what else happens, the PS2 won't be a failure. There is this very nice gradual transfer from PSX to PS2 that exists; developers can continue to make and release PS games, to be bought and played by owners of both PS2 and PSX consoles, while releasing and selling 'enhanced' PS2 versions of exact same games(Thereby reusing much of the same art, animation, music, and production costs, while only incurring the, admittedly not inconsequential, development costs of the PS2). There is also the advantage, to Sony, of buyers indulging in DVDs, if only because they just happen to have a DVD player, in their PS2. VCDs never had this kind of option with the Saturn.

    Geek dating! []
  • We really don't know what the hold up is; it could be anything, and we have to accept what Sony says at face value, barring some other startling revelation.

    As for the RAMBUS, which is my point, that's just a low blow.

    I agree that their legal tactics are dispicable, but the technology is real and demonstrated. RAMBUS has certain performance artifacts, as well as price, design, and technical constraints. For low latency, RAMBUS is a bad choice. For high throughput, it's a winner.

    Which is why they happen to be in the N64 and PS2; if future developments of DDR and SDRAM change that... well, that's just speculation.

    Geek dating! []
  • IANAL: is this legal?

    Given the anti-circumvention provisions in the DMCA, does that mean that Copy and Paste is illegal in the USA?

  • by moller ( 82888 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @10:12AM (#596020) Homepage
    but must we always accept articles submitted by people who work at the site?

    Yea, all the guys at gamespy are cool, but it still bugs me a bit when Slashdot posts a story on (insert site here) and the person who submitted the story is from (insert same site here).

  • Is how many of the buyers are actually getting PS2 units for their kids?

    I know *I* would like one; as would every other friend I have, and we certainly don't qualify as kids, in the traditional parents buying Christmas gifts for kids sense, though we would certainly qualify as kids in the still playing video games and reading comic books despite owning a car, having a job, and graduating from college sense.

    I can't imagine how many of these consoles would be wasted on 'kids', vs being wasted on 'adults'. Who would get it for the games? Who would get it for the DVD playback? Who would get it for both?

    I would imagine that the PS2 would best be targeted towards the working graduated geek who still acts like a kid demographic; we have disposable income, no kids (dinks!), and plenty of recreational habit to feed.

    Geek dating! []
  • Dave Barry is still the best reason to actually get a Sunday paper delivered. Drinking my coffee, reading Dave, and laughing myself silly while my son watches cartoons and my wife sleeps is usually one of the highlights of my week.
  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <> on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @10:16AM (#596027)
    Think of it this way: somewhere out there in America, there is a guy who is entirely too rich. He bought a lot of stock in Microsoft, or Disney, or whatever back in the day, and sold it when it was still at $140. Or maybe his daddy had a bunch of oil wells in Texas in 1983; doesn't matter. He's got way to much money to spend, and by now is used to getting whatever he wants.

    So his kid tells him that if he doesn't get a PS2 at release, he'll kill himself. Mr. Rich has no idea what a PS2 is, but Jr. is really starting to intrude on Daddy's Nasdaq time. So the old man heads over the fao Schwartz, but finds none in stock. Desperate, he degrades himself to Best Buy, Circuit City, and *gasp* The Mall, but still no luck. Sorry mister, should have been in line at 1:00 last night.

    But this is a man used to being able to buy whatever he wants, price be damned. Solution?: Ebay, of course. On Ebay, money talks. Would he really spend $15,000? I saw some of those, and my guess is that the really high-end auctions were goof bids. But I would bet there are many out there who would have dropped $1500+ on one, just to prove to themselves that their money CAN buy whatever they want.
  • The similarities are striking:

    • The Saturn had an unusual architecture and was difficult for developers to program for.
    • The PS2 has an unusual architecture that is difficult for developers to program for.

    • The Saturn had a great deal of unused power under the hood that was exploited later.
    • The PS2 has a great deal of unused power that will likely be exploited later.

    • The Saturn was released to only a handful of retailers in limited numbers.
    • The PS2 was released to many retailers in extremely limited numbers.

    • The Saturn cost much more than the competition at launch.
    • The PS2 costs much more than the competition at launch.

    Time will only tell if the PS2 is more successful than the Saturn was, but Sony desperately needs to get these things in peoples' homes if they're going to have any success. There's a lot of demand now, but it's not going to last forever.

  • Userfriendly [] already did the PS2 joke.

    For better laughs get a copy of Complete Guide to Guys, read the section on exploding vacuum cleaners.

    The Exploding Hoovers would make an excellent name for a band.


  • as the amusing recollection of the "vibrating" footbal field.
    Was anyone who had one of these ever able to get the QB to pass or the kicker to kick?

    I know I couldn't...

    Well, *I* could get the QB to pass, as could my little brother.

    The only difference was that his QB always threw incomplete passes, while mine always threw interceptions. Indeed, most of the points scored in our games happened when my QB threw an interception to his "magic guy", if you know what I mean.

    On the bright side, the rest of the points in our games happened when his lame ass kicker dribbled a kick on the ground to my "magic guy", or the occasional safety happened. I think I did kick a field goal, once.

    Way better than this was the rods-and-slots hockey game, where the "players" were these cardboard things that snapped onto the "stick" bases; you could get different teams in different "uniforms"... On the down side, no magnets were involved. :-)

  • ... that theory would kind of be like discontinuing Windows 95/98/ME so that everyone would jump to Windows 2000. Aside from the issue of "If you don't buy a PS2, what guarantees you'll stick with Sony?"...

    Sony apparently makes a very large chunk of it's profits from the original Playstation. The reason why Sony was supposed to take off into the stratosphere with the PS2 launch was that, even though they would be losing money on PS2 sales themselves, the licensing and the market share would add up to humongous bucks... that is, if they could get it into as many households as possible. Personally, I found the idea mind-boggling, as stomping out the Dreamcast while leading the other consoles by a year might have been the beginning of a home entertainment revolution...

    But it didn't happen that way.

    The difference? Sony no longer looks invincible. Dreamcast will have strong sales for another holiday season, and Sega will stay healthy for once, something that hasn't happened since Sega Genesis! Nintendo and MS now look very much fearsome on the horizon. And, Sony will prosper, but not nearly as much as it could have with more penetration into the market. Sony might actually be in TROUBLE, since it'll take a while for them to get heavy penetration into the market now, and the day-traders might not be too keen on that...

    It would have been in their best interests to saturate the market with systems, at a loss, so they could sell more games for the system, at a huge profit (in licensing fees). Sony was prepared from the start to do that, and I don't think they changed strategy... I think they screwed up somewhere. But, they'll do well in the end.

    However, the idea that Sony cut back on PS2 units to make more DVD players... it's possible, but not smart. Sony makes more revenue on game licensing (minus losses from hardware sales) than on DVD player sales no matter what. Considering that Sony can do a lot of things and have a lot of control (licensing revenue, product expandability and integration) if they sell a lot of PS2 units, it's in their best interests to do just that. DVD players, on the other hand, don't offer that... and for that matter, don't soothe the angry hordes outside the stores who can't get the must-have gift of the season (never piss off the consumer)...
  • by Flounder ( 42112 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @10:17AM (#596037)
    If you're having a problem because your network has a firewall (and a sysadmin with no sense of fun), use this link []. It's to the article on the Miami Herald site.
  • I find it amazing how much power corporations wield over individuals. We had Tickle-me-Elmo, Star Wars EP1 (remember people lining up weeks in advance?) and now this.

    People need to wake up and stop being sheeple. There was an excellent documentary on PBS about this called "Affluenza" - people are so taken in by having to always have the latest - driving themselves into debt and misery because of this. Apparently, although in real terms we earn about twice as much as we did in the 50s, and our houses are twice as big, and we have twice as many toys, we are a lot less happy than when families typically lived in 1000 sq.ft and had only one car, and no color TV. Why can't parents tell their kids "No!" when they demand the latest expensive toy? We are bringing up a generation of spoiled brats. Why is hanging out at the mall cool? Are people's lives really this dull and consumer oriented?

    Worse of all, the rampant consumerism of the West (the United States in particular) is unsustainable. Something will give sooner or later - the economy or the environment, or maybe both. People like Sony, to quote Douglas Adams, will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes.

    Frankly, I'd much rather play a good old MUD like Shades (been running since 1984) than any console game. The beauty of a text-mud is that you can play it on any ancient box that supports telnet if you're hard up ;-)

  • Try using safeweb []. It is a secure and encrypted proxy like system. It even runs the images through safeweb site.
  • It's alredy been stated by many other posters in more words that Dave Barry is a satirist and not a mindless consumer. But this isn't the first time he's spoken out on rampant consumerism, even rampant consumerism based on a religious observance. Check out Barry's take on Halloween []
  • by dmatos ( 232892 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @09:37AM (#596060)
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this just another case of people who want bleeding edge technology getting screwed out of their retirement savings? If they wait three months, won't everyone be able to pick up a PS2 at Walmart for the regular price tag, rather than shelling out $15,000+ on eBay?

    Let the parents give their children rain cheques for Xmas. I've gotten those a couple of times. As long as the kid isn't a spoiled brat, will it kill them to wait a few weeks for their gift? Hell, I've sometimes waited 4 months for a rain cheque I got for Xmas to show up. It didn't kill me, just taught me a little patience.

    Just so you all know, I apply the same reasoning to computers, as anyone with half a brain will. Three years ago I got an AMD 233MHz with 32MB RAM, 4GB HDD for $1000 new, at a time when 300MHz machines were selling for over $3000. Now, I'm finally considering getting an upgrade (yes, my computer has served me faithfully until now) and I can get 600MHz machines etc. etc. etc. for $1200. Anyone who buys on the bleeding edge should have their heads examined.
  • what happened to the moderation on this one? Or am I just too stupid to find it funny? Somebody make this thing interesting or insightful or something, unless I'm just too much of a dimwit to catch the humor, and then reply to this and list in careful detail what's supposed to be funny about this so I know what to laugh at.

    I agree with you completely, actually. I found that pretty odd. My best guess is that someone thought they detected thickly-veiled sarcasm towards the end. Who knows.

  • I think you might want to add the Atari Jaguar to that comparison list. It certainly fits in with the first point: an unusual architecture that is difficult for developers to program for.
  • ...CmdrTaco is going to change his nick to

    Wokohito Mumuwama

  • Nevertheless the Mumuwamas have been cranking out these babies at the rate of nearly one per month, for a total of 11 so far

    Ya - or maybe it's RAMBUS. Not the easiest part to get through fabrication. The PS2 contains two things that should make any technologically aware citizen sick to their stomach: Rambus and a DVD-CCA licensed player.

    Buy a Dreamcast. It's better for your Constitution.
  • exactly. His randomness is exactly what makes me laugh a lot of the time. While not razor-sharp, you can see there's a wit back there though. He's not an idiot.

    For wickedly funny satire that relentlessly and mercilessly beats its target into a pulp, waits for it to try and get up, and then delivers another sharp kick to take the fight out of it and crush its very soul, I read the Onion. Those people are good ;-)

    For stuff to really deliver some substance and jar your thinking, there are lots of good, high-profile writers. Read any highbrow literary publication.

  • I've always had much more fun playing NES and Super NES games than with these modern systems like the N64 and the Dreamcast.

    New games are either clones of great ideas from the past or lame adaptations from computer games. They don't cut it and probably never will.

    Most of the times you just need simplicity. For an analogy, just look at Microsoft and their need for more features.

    It's all in your head, not in your optic nerves.

  • by All Dat ( 180680 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @09:38AM (#596078) Homepage
    HAHAHA all microsoft has to do now is market it's X-Box with the slogan. "X-Box, because we made enough" It amazes me how many dollars a company will spend on advertising, and how LITTLE damn money they spend on production, if sony had spent the billion or so dollars it spend on pushing the PS2 on actually making the damn thing, perhaps everyone would be raving about how good it is in real life, instead of how good the reviews all are.
  • why do kids need a psx2 now?? why can't they wait a month.. dave barry is pretty funny, and he is hip to whats going on..

    psx2 isn't that hard to find. I saw them on the shelves about 2 weeks ago, of course this was before the thanksgiving day sales started.. I don't think kids would mind getting a raincheck and a few games for their playstations, instead of their parents spending 700 dollars on one.. think of how many games they could have bought if they didn't scalp one off of ebay..

  • Nintendo asked Sony to develop the playstation, as an add-on for the SNES. But, when Sony turned up at a games expo, they found Nintendo in bed with Philips for the same project, and got the huff. Thus, Nintendo created their own arch-nemesis, which amuses me quite a lot. Like GM saying to Firestone "we were gonna buy your tyres, but screw you", and Firestone turning around and decimating GM's market share.

    As for PSX, it was never a Sony development name. It was invented by scummy people everywhere who have to have a TLA (ok, maybe just an A) for everything, and X is kinda like "tion". Honest.

  • Well, part of the point he humorously makes is that most little kids are under the impression that Santa, not their parents, gives them their presents. Why would Santa give a rain cheque?

    Happily, I'm not yet at the point in my life where I have kids, forcing me to choose whether or not to perpetuate the myth of Santa Claus. Santa has some good and bad points. On the good side, I think it reduces the degree of spoiling that occurs, because the kids don't think that they should expect to get quite so much from their parents, but it still allows the parents to go overboard in buying their kids presents. On the downside, you have situations like this, where kids want a certain present, and have every reason to expect that Santa will get it, but parents will be unable to find it.

  • Way better than this was the rods-and-slots hockey game, where the "players" were these cardboard things that snapped onto the "stick" bases; you could get different teams in different "uniforms"... On the down side, no magnets were involved. :-)

    Yeah, but the puck could get stuck behind the net!

    P.S. My daughter's favorite fictional character is Babar!
  • I did it in the days of the 486. My mom had done some favors for the local University, and thus was on their payroll. I set up an account under her name (technically with her permission, but as computer illiterate as she was at the time she didn't realize it) and I dialed up with an old 9600 kbps modem that my dad had lying around in the basement that he thought was broken. Actually it was fine except for the dip-switches being set wrong.

    Ok, so maybe I'm not everyone's little kid, but the computers are easier these days, and the kids are getting computer literate a whole lot faster than the adults are.

    I can just imagine the parent who thinks they've cut off their kid's access to the smut by pulling the plug on the cable modem coming home one day to find that their kid is watching the SOS but at a lower resolution over the free year of (insert 3-letter online service here) that came with the computer.
  • Funny, I just downloaded an Atari 2600 and 512 games yesterday :) and the first thing I played was Adventure, too. I grew up on that stuff, I'm 32 :)
  • by alhaz ( 11039 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @09:44AM (#596097) Homepage
    Sony is probably selling these things at a loss. That's generally the way with game consoles, with the presumption that they can make up for it in licensing when everybody buys the games.

    But as we've all read before, there just aren't many PS2 games out there. And they aren't very good. Mostly because the SDK isn't really ready for primetime.

    DVD laser heads are in somewhat short supply, according to various industrial news sources. If that's true, Sony had to make a decision.

    DVD video is main-stream this holiday season. Sony has a good name in video systems, and an intense rivalry with Toshiba, who aparantly has a very good name in DVD players.

    The DVD players are sold with a good margin, and make good money. This is more than likely where Sony believes they can make big money this season.

    So, what would you do, given a limited supply of a component, needed for the construction of two devices, both in very high demand, both involving equally heated competition, where one of them probably won't make any money?

    It's unfortunate that the PS2 isn't yet everything they told us it would be, but it's not, and they have to go with what's going to increase the bottom line.

  • by q2k ( 67077 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2000 @09:45AM (#596099) Homepage
    Altough Barry is obviously trying to be funny - I think he is also trying to slap a few parents upside the head. This attitude that we have to have everything NOW is what drives the massive consumer debtloads in this country. Parents make sure that the attitude is passed on their kids by going to these extrodinary lengths to get this years hot toy. Anybody remember the $100 Furby's on Ebay a couple of Christams' ago?? Or the talking Elmo? It nuts.

    Hell, I stil can't win on most of the games I have for the original Playstation ...
  • Still is, but now this namestealer has stolen the name and made it bad!

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court