Tale of the Tape: Wii vs. PS3

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It was Main Street vs. the Mean Streets as next-generation video-game consoles Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3 both launched in late November. The family-marketed and well-stocked Wii flew off the shelves in an orderly fashion, while the cool but shortage-beset PS3 inspired flying fists from disorderly and desperate customers. Two days and two vastly different launches made us wonder what the consoles would say if they weren't just brands but real characters.

Personality:

Wii: Hi-ya! So, I love good family-friendly interactive games, especially ones where people get up and move-games like bowling, golf or tennis. I don't like to brag, but Wii Sports software comes bundled in my package, while the other hardware consoles fly solo. My motion-sensitive controller responds to your every move, and it's just loads of fun.

PS3: Yo, what up? Sleek black box. Cell processor. Bluetooth. Blu-ray high-definition player. Get it? And I don't mind bragging about the fact that no one else had the cohones to make HD internal. My wireless six-axis controller senses movement along all 3-D axes.

Best friends:

Wii: Zelda, Mario, Pokemon and an entire kennel full of Nintendogs

PS3: Sgt. Nathan Hale, Tony Hawk, the Call of Duty brothers and all the Grand Theft Auto series thugs

In line waiting to buy on launch night:

Wii: Lots of friends-some dressed as Nintendo characters-who had fun in mostly orderly stakeouts. The Times Square Toys "R" Us midnight line was the bomb: more 3,000 fans waiting for the more than 4,000 boxes inside the store. Wii reps handed out free T-shirts and hats. Sell myself on eBay? No way!

PS3: Shootings and robberies kept late-night lines short and dangerous-and fairy tale free. Most retail outlets received fewer than a dozen boxes, resulting in fights, shout downs and general chaos. Want to make a deal on eBay? For the right cash-$1,000 or more-I'm in.

Marketing:

Wii: $200 million budget to push hands-on family play with mall tours, sponsored music tours and tie-ins with Pringles and 7-Eleven. TV ads star two earnest Japanese guys knocking on doors in Middle America and inviting consumers with the polite come-on "We would like to play."

PS3: Baby dolls crying backward tears, eggs that smash against a wall to release flying black crows, and Rubik's cubes that levitate and explode are just some of the images at the core of my hipper-than-hip $100 million-plus push tagged "Play B3yond."

Reviews:

Wii: Love the reasonable $250 price and lots of kid-friendly content, moms say. Gotta have it, Nintendo fanboys say. Analysts wonder if the novelty will last. I say: jealous meanies!

PS3: Killer graphics with high-definition built in, game critics say. Amazing speed from cell processors, current PS owners say. Some cry foul over $599 price tag. I say: Cash-poor whiners can f-off!

Mishaps:

Wii: A little slippery on the controller. Already there's a report of one user bowling, losing his grip on the Wiimote and cracking his 60-inch TV screen. Ooopsy!

PS3: None. C'mon, what's a little bullet spray to true gamers?
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