Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Playstation Home

I've been messing around with Playstation Home, which is this free virtual world thingy that just appeared one day in the menus of My PS3. For all you World of Warcraft players out there, it's like Second Life, but without anything fun to do. For you Second Lifers, it's like WoW without anything fun to do. For the rest of you, it's like Hell, as depicted in No Exit, but with bowling.

You start by making a avatar. The character creation system is fine, if you want to make a charming and attractive hipster mid-20s human avatar. Not super-surprising, but I was disappointed that the parameters are so limited. I made Mike (pictured, above), and it sort of looks like him.

You have your very own apartment, which overlooks a marina. Kind of relaxing. Nothing to do, though. So you leave and go to the Central Plaza, which looks like some sort of Central Plaza. The Central Plaza is filled with other avatars, real people having conversations that look like what you'd imagine 14-year olds' SMS conversations look like. Turns out, that's pretty much what's going on. Beyond "whr u from" and "lol this sux", I didn't get very far with anyone, as far as talking about stuff goes. I mean, the avatars are bland, the environments are bland, I figured that the point of Home was human interaction.

So I made a new avatar, and made her look like Lois. This unlocked a whole new aspect of the game, and out in the Plaza, lots of people had all kinds of things to say to me. Mostly "Hey baby", but often, folks dug deep and tried to think of interesting things to say.

I was talking to this person named Lonestar-Loc, (about the game environment, mostly, and specifically the Mall, where you can buy stuff using real money--including my green shirt, which I was totally willing to shell out a dollar for) and then this other person named Mid_Zero came and started dancing at us. He said some incomprehensible things, and then invited us back to his apartment. I had no idea you could do that, and I said yes right away. My new friend Lonestar came too. At which point, things quickly got out of hand.

Here are some things I have learned from this experiment:

  1. When random people come up to you and start dancing at you, it is a very strange thing they are doing. I vow to immediately stop doing this to women in real life.

  2. As you can see, Zero's apartment looks just like mine, and it overlooks the same marina. Sony is offering furniture for sale, again, for real dollars. While I heard many people in the Home complain about having to buy individuality in an essentially free game, I think it's worth pointing out that this is one of the most tried and true business models in human history.

  3. Sony does not want to have Home populated with creatures that look like giant penises. As noble a goal as that may be, it is clear that erring on the side of caution is still an err. I think having a giant penis head is a great conversation starter. I predict that this will be the next great debate in gaming, whether or not you allow giant penis people in your game. All else hinges upon this question.

  4. Rather than being accurate models of the real world, environments like this are subsets of subsets of subsets of people, and are full of weirdos. Not of women in these environments, either. I cannot blame them!

  5. I'm pretty sure Lonestar was a guy pretending to be a girl!

  6. I look good in green.

Later, I went bowling with some people. None of us said anything beyond "Nice shot." I got a strike!


Lungclops said...

yeah, lonestar was the fake wing woman--a decoy to facilitate mid-zero's getting in your tasteful cotton j. crew panties.

Mr. Pony said...

I feel ever-so-slightly violated.

Fugublowfish said...

I will lose all respect for you in the morning if you didn't end the conversation with "YOU KNOW I'M A DUDE, RIGHT?"

odori said...

Yikes. And more yikes.

Though I like how Lois is barefoot, island-style, at the bowling alley.

Mr. Pony said...

Fugu: It has been done, apparently. This is more avant garde, and more gay, probably.

Odori: The promise of anonymity holds untold horrors for all of us.

Fugublowfish said...

PSHome is as worthwhile as...I dunno. Gourmet rice crackers. Oil paintings of a bowl with fruit. A wonderfully written and designed instruction manual for a web browser. And Pony speaks truthiness--in comparison, honestly, you've got things like WoW:

1. It's not of bars or some frat boy's patio. It's filled with some excellent scenery that you just can't see at a midwest strip mall.

3. It's got some great history to uncover. The writers do a lot of research and planning for their lore, most recently adding tons of norse mythology to the mix (perfect for you budding SCA geeks... Panic... I'm looking in your general direction).

4. You can interact with other players in many ways other than cybering, including murdering them, or helping them murder others.

5. As a bonus, there are plenty of actual women playing. My sister and brother-in-law. Apparently this girl, here. They even form their own guilds (Guild of Significant Others, for example). And they are often True Adults (over 30).

6. Here, anonymity often holds some promise. Evidently Panic and I used to play with a guy who had enough social anxiety that he never left the house and we never even knew. And for all we know we've been playing with Obama this whole time!

Fugublowfish said...

Dude, that wasn't avant garde. Avant garde would have been getting his phone number and calling him the next day.

Mr. Pony said...

Well, I think that would've been gay.

Galspanic said...

Gay is the new avant garde...again.

odori said...

Mr. Pony -
I forgot to ask -- did Lois punch and maim Mid_Zero? How did you extract Lois from that situation? Can you press "delete" and make your avatar vanish from a scene?

Mr. Pony said...

Pretty much. I just said hey, I have to go, and teleported myself to the bowling alley. I like to leave folks wanting more, I guess.

Also, it's impossible to hit other players with an axe. That's one way in which PSH is very similar to World of Warcraft.

john said...

How did you get these screenshots?

Mr. Pony said...

With a camera.

Mike said...

That doesn't look a damn thing like me, Pony.