Thursday, October 31, 2013

Countdown to PS4!!! - 4. A love letter to the PS3

This is it guys...two weeks left. One pay period. Gamestop is confirmed to be doing a midnight launch for the PS4 (complete with security guards to make sure things run smoothly) and I plan on being near the front of the line. Unfortunately I'll have to work Thursday night, so I won't be able to get to the store until after work. I'm working on getting some kind of recording program for the laptop I use, and I plan on making an unboxing video as I open my PS4. More details as we get nearer to the day!

I'm excited to write this up...the console that rekindled my lifelong love for gaming - the Playstation 3. As a forewarning, this might get a little lengthy, because I have a lot to say about this particular console.

This system actually changed me as a person (for the better!) I know that sounds really lame and crazy, but hear me out. I had been going through a year or so of emotional crisis due to some shitty cards life had dealt to me. For men, "emotional crisis" generally means "heavy drinking". I won't bore you with the details, but its safe to say it was probably the lowest point in my life. I hadn't been gaming much and I had sold my Wii and my 360.

I purchased my PS3 slim for $280 from a local (now defunct) gaming store called Game Nutz on September 10th, 2010. I recall calling them up at the end of their night and asking them to stay open for me a little longer so I could get a ride over to buy it. I didn't even have enough cash left for a game, but the kid working in there felt bad for me and threw one in with my purchase. I chose Littlebigplanet, because it seemed fun and friendly for someone who had been away from gaming for a while.

Looking back through my trophies list, it seems it took me a few months to make it through the Littlebigplanet campaign. I didn't get fully sucked back into gaming immediately. I remember loving the trophy system because I could see a list of all my progress. It gave me a concrete goal - something to work for. Trophies/achievements get a lot of criticism, but I now feel like games are incomplete without them. They really add another level of fun and depth to games for me, and I try to get as many as possible. I just hit level 17 on PSN a few weeks ago, and I'm excited to continue the leveling process on my PS4 and Vita.

The original Bioshock was the game that got me really sucked back in. I can remember playing through it and just being amazed at the visuals and the story line. It all seemed very mature to me in comparison to the Pokemon and Mario games I had been playing for years (not that I'm discrediting those games - please don't misunderstand!). I remember beating Bioshock, and - for the first time in YEARS - having to run out the door within the next few days to buy the sequel. By the time I had finished the sequel, I had gained a few levels on my trophy card, and that was it. I was hooked again. I can't really remember exactly what order I played my next games in, but the next milestone I can think of is the first Borderlands game.

I loved Borderlands, and I believe it was the first non-Pokemon game I had bothered to get any post-game content in since Animal Crossing on the Gamecube. It was my first platinum trophy. As I kept playing and playing, I started to remember just how much I used to enjoy gaming. I started to actually play games through to the end, which was somewhat new for me. There are a lot of games I beat before my PS3, don't get me wrong. But either the incomplete story trophies or the greater amount of discipline I have as an adult drove me to finish the games I started. I usually don't start a new game without finishing the old one unless its something I really didn't like or couldn't manage to beat (or was a freebie from PS+ I didn't really want but downloaded anyway). I started holding onto the games for my PS3, and the next summer (2011) I started buying games at garage sales for other systems...and well, you can see the culmination of that here in my photos and blog posts.

I'd like to thank Sony (although I'm sure they'll never see this) from the bottom of my heart. The PS3 gave me something positive to do in my abundance of spare time and reignited my passion for gaming. From the most simple and fun Little Big Planet, to the immersive worlds of Uncharted, to the spiritual and artistic journey of Journey, the PS3 showed me gaming could be more than a few hour long distraction. Provided you're playing the right games, the stories are comparable to an interactive big budget movie (and often times are better!). The PS3 made me realize that video games are my favorite form of story telling. Movies are great, but video games draw you in and involve you with the progression of the story. Its so easy to look at a game and dismiss it as childish, but actually paying attention and following the storyline can definitely prove otherwise. I wish the people denying video games as "art" or casting them of as childish could experience the full stories of some of my favorite games. Is it fair to judge a movie by a 30 second clip? No, nor should games be judged by a 3 minute gameplay viewing.

My First PS3 Game - LittleBigPlanet
My Top 5 PS3 Games -  LittleBigPlanet, Bioshock 2, Borderlands, Journey, The Last of Us

Next week - Playstation Vita!

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