Revolution: Worth the Wait?


posted 6/24/2005 by Sean Colleli
other articles by Sean Colleli
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Revolution. The word itself sparks controversy. It implies upheaval, new ideas, monumental change. It’s also the codename of Nintendo’s next generation console. By design, the Big N has been aggravatingly secretive about the machine. While Sony and Microsoft have flaunted and flashed their machines at the media, Nintendo has kept theirs vaulted behind closed doors. The big question: is this smart? Should Iwata and company be adamantly sitting on this so-called revolutionary machine, while their competitors are getting all of the attention? Is the Revolution even worth the wait, or will it be another huge gimmick, like the virtual boy? Here’s what I think.

I’m going to break this down section by section, feature by feature, and give my opinion of every aspect of the N’s new machine, from its guts to the games it’ll be playing. I hope you find my ideas informative and though-provoking, but above all I hope I don’t piss off too many people. I’ll be honest, I’m a Nintendo fan, but a lot of this Revolution business has me scratching my head like the rest of you. So, for starters...

What everyone wants to know: how powerful will it be? Well, Nintendo hasn’t really told us yet. Everyone was expecting this info to be available at E3, but it just didn’t happen. Despite popular opinion, I believe this was the intelligent decision. Sony and Microsoft got into a virtual shoving match about their respective machines’ capabilities, spouting system specs and trying to one-up each other.

Per usual, Nintendo was more-soft spoken. They didn’t promise a processing beast that could power the known universe, they simply said that the Revolution would be "2 to3 times more powerful than the GameCube." Huh? That’s all? That’s what I said at first. But Nintendo also stated that they wanted a quiet, cool-running console that wouldn’t suck electricity as if through a straw.

What it comes down to is how that power is used. Nintendo and its developers are notorious for squeezing blood out of rocks when it comes to hardware. Look at Metroid Prime and its sequel; they look almost as good as some current-generation PC titles. Satoru Iwata stated that massive power is not the way of the future; rather, innovation is the key. That doesn’t mean, however, that the Revolution won’t pull its weight. ATI is manufacturing the GPU, codenamed Hollywood, and IBM is making the CPU, tagged Broadway. Both companies have done well for Nintendo in the past, and I have no reason to believe that they’ll screw up this time. Sure, the names are a bit funky, but I’m sure they’ll be changed. "Ultra64" and "Project Dolphin" didn’t exactly roll off the tongue, either.
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