Opinion » Cybernaut


The thumb season



Now that Thanksgiving has passed, Whistler is officially in a time and space known as the "shoulder season" – the slow season between summer and snow that presumably must be borne on our shoulders like the weight of the world.

Summer jobs are winding down and winter jobs are still weeks away from starting up. The flood of tourists is slowed to a mere trickle.

The weather also changes for the worse, generally driving people indoors.

There’s nothing to do but wait – eat, sleep, read, sleep, watch movies, sleep, and exercise your thumb playing hours and hours of video games.

If you don’t own a game console, or are thinking about upgrading to one of the new super systems, it’s going to be an interesting winter – a heavyweight competition is emerging that should make the Lewis vs. Rahman rematch look like a sissy slap fight.

It would be an easy match to decide if the systems were all the same, but each one has different capabilities, prices, and availability of games. Choose well.


The Sony Playstation 2 (PS2) beat all of the other systems to the market last winter, and have recently celebrated the sale of their 20 millionth (!) console – not too shabby when you consider that people lined up in the cold for days last Christmas because of the limited supplies that were available.

The graphics are high quality, the action is fast, and while it still takes a while to load games, it’s generally worth the wait.

At the core of the Playstation 2 is Sony’s so-called "Emotion Engine"; the lethal combination of hardware that powers the PS2 experience. Without going into too much detail, the central processing unit, or CPU, of a regular computer is designed to be generic in order to handle all of the various tasks that computers are called upon to perform. The CPU of the PS2 is designed for one specific purpose – 3D gaming – and as a result it is faster than anything ever designed for home computing. While most computers run on a 64 bit CPU, the PS2 runs on the first 128-bit CPU ever developed with about four times the bandwith of a computer.

Sony also developed the fastest graphics rendering processor with built-in, high-bandwith memory to make the graphics as seamless as possible.

The story at the time of the PS2’s release was that the CPU and graphics processors were too fast – the U.S. military reportedly asked Sony to adapt it in such a way that it couldn’t be reused to control a missile.