OUYA and its controller

I don’t normally talk about video games. I’m not really into them like I used to be when I was a kid. I wouldn’t say I outgrew them, though they don’t appeal to me quite like they used to. Maybe it’s because most games now it seems are all about the graphics and how many polygons they can cram onto the screen rather than the actual game play. That’s not to say there aren’t good games nowadays, but it just doesn’t feel the same anymore.

So what the heck is the Ouya (stylized as OUYA)? It’s a new video game console released June 25 (retail) for $99. It began on Kickstarter asking for $950,000. More than 63,000 backers pledged and they got more than $8.5 million, becoming the second most successful Kickstarter ever. I pre-ordered mine on June 19th via Amazon.ca and I received it on June 25th. So far I have been pretty happy with it, but it can be rough around the edges.

The console is based on the Android operating system (running 4.1 Jellybean). Ouya (also the name of the company making it) pledged that it would be open and hackable, in both software and hardware, though I think they were a little overzealous with those statements and have since locked the console down a bit, but it’s still one of the most open consoles ever; you can open it up with a simple screwdriver.

Don’t expect the console to compete with the Xbox 360, PS3, or the new consoles of the eighth generation in both games or hardware. Most games right now are Android ports, but many developers have begun creating original games, and it does have a few exclusives that are pretty good. I’ll go into more detail about the games in a later post.

In upcoming posts I’ll go into more detail about the individual aspects of the console such as the hardware, the controller, the games, the shipping and communication fiasco, etc. I’d like to give each component of the console the attention it deserves, while (hopefully) keeping any bias I have in check.

The next post will be about the hardware of the console. Stay tuned.