One of the many benefits of living in Vancouver, besides near constant rain and high taxes and all the natural beauty your eyes can take: Becoming friends with developers.
A couple of things about watching the Super Bowl in Canada:
1. The commercials are completely different here and, for the most part, lame. (I had to watch all the "real" commercials online after the fact, including the Dante's Inferno commercial.)
2. It's very difficult to find anyone who genuinely gives a rat's ass about the Super Bowl in Canada.
My friend, who I will refer to as "Thumb-Blaster" in order to protect his identity, is probably the only person on earth to have finished No More Heroes (the man found every damn collectible in the game) and to also suffer from a pathological Modern Warfare 2 obsession. He's a terrific human being, full of curiosity, neuroses and savvy insights into life, and more importantly, how games are made.
As you've probably guessed, Thumb-Blaster isn't much of a football fan. To keep Thumb-Blaster engaged, I did my best to make nerd-centric small talk during the game's idle moments (i.e. during the Canadian commercials). We discussed Battlestar, the merits of The Saboteur, The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess (he loved it; I'd rather have my taxes done than play it again), and so forth.
Yes, it was an old fashioned, boot-stomping, nerd-style hoedown.
During halftime, as we consumed sausages at an almost alarming rate, I asked Thumb-Blaster why Wii games haven't evolved the way that games typically evolve over the lifecycle of a console. In other words, Twilight Princess (2006) and, to an even greater degree Metroid Prime 3 (2007), looked terrific, but more recent Wii games don't necessarily look, or play, any better than those first-generation Wii titles. Early games for the PS2, 360, and PS3 have all made significant strides over time. Yet the Wii appears to have stalled out. How come?
Thumb-Blaster's response: "It's because the Wii just kind of laid it all out there."
Explanation: "It's an easy machine to understand, and to program for. Therefore, there are no hidden possibilities in the hardware to be uncovered. Basically, with the Wii, what you see is what you get."
On the other hand, Thumb-Blaster continued, the nuances of both the 360 and the PS3 are still being sussed out. "We don't really know what [these machines] are capable of yet. We're still trying to figure them out. Truth is, no one really knows what to do with the cell processors yet. Nobody really knows how to use them. People are starting to experiment, but we're still a long way from having a handle on them."
I went back to my sausage sandwich. I'd never thought of these machines as being mysterious before. I liked the idea that both machines hold some hidden, unrealized potential. Neither machine seems even remotely tapped out yet. (Hell, I'm still convinced that the PS2 has some life left in it.)
I once loved my consoles. The Super Nintendo? Man, I would have married that thing, and kissed it and loved it all night long in the honeymoon suite at the Radisson.
I've never been in love with the 360 or the PS3; not like that, anyway. Both seem a little cold and distant and distant and alien. They're like attractive women at a party who won't talk to me, but instead prefer only to peer at me askance. I've never loved them as objects; I don't think I ever could. I need them, but I'm indifferent towards them. If either one broke down, I wouldn't mourn the loss. I'd simply head to the nearest store and buy a new one.
Still, after Thumb-Blaster's words of wisdom--Thumb-Blaster is so very wise--I'm not exactly ready to rent out the Radisson honeymoon suite just yet, but I am just a tad more fond of both machines today.