With the economy on the ropes and a recession running around like death at the masquerade, it seems inevitable that we're going to be dealing with question eventually, so let's get to it now. NPR argued yesterday that video games could serve as the mass opiate of this generation's great depression. In the 30s that role was served by nickle movies, but today's audience can perhaps get more bang for their buck, more distraction for their dollar with a game. So which one will best help people to forget their worldly woes?The Playstation 3 has theoretical future-proofing in the bag and includes a bunch of built in features that make using it for other purposes (without additional cost) a breeze and of course it has a Blu-ray player. Then again it's the most expensive, and blu-ray movies aren't exactly cheap either. The Wii is the family friendliest of the bunch, the one most likely to attract reticent non-gamers to it's fold. Of course most of its games aren't as deep and it isn't the cheapest on the market anymore. The Xbox 360 has the biggest selection of consoles, including the cheapest on the market. It also has the biggest selection of cheap downloadable titles and robust video on demand support, soon to be amplified by Netflix. But tapping into all of the 360's potential features means buying expensive add-ons, like the harddrive. The arcade. Yes, the arcade. While they are almost non-existent in the U.S. and the likelihood that someone is going to suddenly invest in opening them up, especially now, is crazy, I think arcades are really the closest example of what happened in the 30s with movies. You don't need a television, you don't even need electricity, you just need a quarter and the time to play.