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My First Impressions of the OUYA

NOTE: These are my initial impressions after a little over a week of play-time. I will do a follow up piece after a few more months.

The OUYA is an interesting little console. I've been extremely skeptical ever since it was posted on Kickstarter last year. I started to pay more attention to it once it blew past its goal and ended up reaching a staggering $8.5 Million, the second largest backed item in Kickstarter history. It promises a cheap way to play games on a HD TV. It's also a very open system. The creators encourage modding and anyone who owns an OUYA can make games for it as the system can be used as a development kit. Sounds almost too good to be true.

The weeks leading up to release were interesting times for the OUYA. If you backed it on Kickstarter you were supposed to get the system along with another controller but many people still haven't received their units yet. Also, early reviews of the OUYA were hitting to some pretty negative comments. Seeing many negative written pieces on the OUYA, I almost wrote the thing off. A few days out of release though, I got the urge to purchase one. I think this was mainly due to the fact that I love tech and I for some reason must own everything. 

I didn't pre-order it and was under the impression that I would not be able to obtain one seeing is that the system sold out everywhere on launch day. I made one final stop to my local GameStop and they actually had one. So I picked up the device and went home with excitement but also prepared disappointment. So how is the system? Well I will go over my first initial impressions and hope to write more impression pieces in the coming months once I spend more time with it.

First impression I had was amazement at just how small the system actual was. I also opened it up to take a peak at the inner workings ans there is actually a lot of free space inside the little box. After that, I checked out the controller which I can say that I don't care for. It feels okay albeit a little "off." You pop the faceplate on each side of the controller to access the battery area. This is a little weird and upon putting the faceplates back on, there is a distinct lack of knowing if it's snapped into place or not. They just kinda go into place. The box also contains the power adapter and HDMI cable. It's nice they included a HDMI but the bale is extremely short so I assume most people wont bother with it and use their own. It was strange to see that the box contained no manual or any piece of paper with instructions. With all the neat possibilities the system has, I would have like to seen at least a little booklet detailing everything.

Upon firing up the system, you will have to connect to the Internet via wi-fi or Ethernet. I had quite a bit of trouble connecting to my wi-fi even though my router was sitting right next to the system. After I connected I was greeted with a system update. The update doesn't take too long and comes with some clever one-liners about what the system is updating. Then comes a part I struggled with for way too long. You must enter a credit or debit card in order to continue. No big deal however, it would not verify my card even though all the information is correct. I tried several times to no avail. I had to completely shut off the system and restart it in order for it to take. Very frustrating.

After finally getting into the UI and messing around, one thing stood out. The controller is BAD. The basic reasoning is the unresponsiveness of it. Everything you do,  from playing games to navigating the menu is hit of miss with the thing. It also comes with a touch pad that works poorly as well. There really isn't one good thing I can say about the controller. Luckily, you can use your Dualshock 3 with the system.

The game selection is kinda weak at the moment and pretty lackluster. Most are just bad ports or mediocre phone games that aren't even optimized for the OUYA. The lone exception may be Towerfall but that game is only good with friends. Also, don't believe that "games are free" slogan. The OUYA works like every other system. Each game has a demo. Like the game? Then you can buy it.

The main reasoning for most to buy the system is the ability to run emulators, side-load a bunch of programs and the ability to develop on the system with little to no cost. As of having the system for a little over a week, I can say that if you are just looking to play games, STAY AWAY. At least for now. If your someone who loves to tinker around with tech and do a little modding here and there you may find this little guy interesting.
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About Kovalski248one of us since 11:51 AM on 06.15.2013

23 year old gamer looking to one day become a gaming journalist.

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