We have had a PlayStation 3 for well over a year now.
It showed up in our household where the Wii had been our only video console for the previous four years.
The PlayStation 3 was planned to have three roles in our home.
The first was to play Blu-ray disks. In this role it has performed admirably. It has show itself to be completely compatible with all the disks I have fed into it and Blu-ray movies look fantastic on our TV. The opening scenes of Star Wars Episode III from the Blu-ray set were of such high quality that I had to get up and stand closer to the TV and drool. Still, the unit was a bit pricey for just a Blu-ray player.
The second role involved streaming video. This has been primarily from NetFlix, though Amazon Prime has jumped into the market with a PS3 app. This has also delivered high quality. I have been quite surprised actually at how smoothly NetFlix streams given our relatively low bandwidth DSL and the fact that the PS3 hooks up to the router over WiFi from half way across the house.
And the third role, the one for which it was designed, was to play… you know… video games. And this is where it fell down on the job, much to my surprise. I figured it would be higher quality video and about the same when it came to controllers. In one of my more ironic complaints, I had previously griped about the fact that most Wii games end up having use the Wii remote and nun-chuck as a two piece standard game controller.
So imagine my surprise when I started using the PS3 controller only to discover that having the game controller in two pieces is actually much easier the body when playing for more than 20 minutes at a stretch. It turns out that the small PS3 controller forces you into that “gamer’s clutch” with the unit grasped in front of you… a position which makes your arms and shoulders ache after a while if you are not used to it.
That was part of the issue. A small part of it in any case.
The bigger reason for the PS3 failing to take on a significant role as a game platform in our house was that my daughter and her friends just like Wii games. They all have Wiis and like the same games and so the PS3 would sit quietly while the Wii got all the game time. And my daughter has become the real driver for console gaming in our house. Long gone are the days when she would come to me to help her out. Now it is she who pities me when she wrangles me into playing Super Mario Bros. Wii or Super Smash Bros. Brawl, a platformer and a fighting game respectively, neither of which were my strong suit even when I was young. Now suddenly I am my own father struggling to simply not fail utterly while playing a video game with my child.
But recently, one game from the PS3 has been taking hold of my daughter, Little Big Planet.
I picked this game up early on, along with a couple of others people recommended, like Mod Nation Racers. And while it was clearly a deep and interesting game, it still got shoved aside for the most part. My daughter had Super Mario to play with her friends and as much as I liked the game, it was still a platform jumper, which meant I was horrible at it.
Over the last couple of months though, LBP came into fashion for my daughter. She is trending on the creative path right now. She wanted PhotoShop Elements for her birthday and saved up money for a Wacom tablet. So the ability to dress up your sack boy avatar struck the right chord with her. Then she started playing people’s custom levels. Then she started making her own custom levels. And recently she has been after me about some downloadable content that will give her more tools and features with which to create levels. (She wanted the Pirates of the Caribbean pack, since it let you have water in your levels.)
And then one day I noticed that on Raptr I was ranked Elite for Little Big Planet, something measured not in hours but achievements. There were 42 listed, which put me in the top 10% of Raptr users.
I got the ranking because I hooked Raptr up to my PlayStation account, but those achievements were all earned by my daughter. Those include achievements for having a given number of people play levels you created.
This has become her game of choice for the moment. The Wii still gets its time when her friends are over, but even they are being introduced to LBP.
So now my daughter asks me to come and play LBP with her… and I still suck, because it is a platform jumper. Once in a while she’ll play Mod Nation Racers with me, where I can still hold my own.
And just the other day she heard there was a Little Big Planet 2. This, of course, came up just after I let her buy some content for LBP. Fortunately, all of the DLC for LBP appears to transfer over to LBP2, along with all the levels you have made and so forth. It all just shows up in higher quality with better visual effects.
So we might look at the sequel at some point, though for my daughter we are now at the far end of the calendar for birthdays, Christmas, and such. Our change jar collection might have to go towards that rather than a certain panda-themed expansion.