Its price tag ($599)--and a supply shortage that had the system going for $3,000 on eBay--made Sony's PlayStation 3 look like the hardware hit of the year. But besides the ability to play Blu-ray movies, the PS3 brought little new to the gaming table; its graphics aren't a quantum leap over the Xbox 360, and the controller is a new-and-unimproved version of the PS2's. Gamers looking for a unique experience could turn to Nintendo's Wii, a comparative bargain ($249) released with much less hype. The Wii's sleek unit interacts with wireless motion-sensitive controllers that can translate a player's movements into golf swings or, in Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam (right), skateboard tricks. The result is gaming for active couch potatoes--in Madden 07 you actually flick your wrist to make Brett Favre pass or stretch to break up the play. Gamers who break a sweat: Now that's an innovation.
Four pro hoops games hit shelves in the past four months--two too many. 2K Sports's NBA 2K7 is the MVP, and EA Sports's NBA Live '07 isn't bad. But even the most obsessed gamer can skip Sony's story-line-driven NBA '07 and EA Sports's cartoonish NBA Street V3.
MOST SATISFYING FALLBACK
Can't get your hands on a Wii or PS3? Supplies of the Xbox 360 are strong, and it has come a long way since its 2005 release. The 360's Gears of War is better than any shooting game on the PS3, and the spookily realistic NBA 2K7 is as as good on the Xbox as it is on the Sony system.