Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Social gaming in 2008
I'm playing Little Big Planet in ways I've never played games before. Ever.
No, I'm not talking about all that fancy creation mode stuff. I'm talking about turning on my PS3 and having at least 2 or 3 people I can play the game with. And this isn't some hardcore shooter where we all the planets have to align in order for us to have fun. I'm jumping into games with my friend and his "non-gamer" sister. My sister and her boyfriend(who happen to live in a different city than me). We're just casually moving through levels, having fun without even trying.
This experience is enabled by the online capabilities of these current gen consoles. The constant connection to the internet. Knowing what your friends are playing by glancing at the buddy list. Even before LittleBigPlanet launched, this connectedness of game consoles was setting my expectations. However inconsequential it might seem, seeing what your friends are playing and them seeing what you're playing has some sort of psychological hold on me.
Connectedness is even making me play PS2 games less. Loading up PS2 games on my PS3 causes the console to enter an emulation mode. Meaning no friend list capability. No one would know what I was doing. How horribly solitary.
Over the course of a few weeks last month, most of my PS3 owning friends had bought PixelJunk Monsters. Though the game had online leaderboards, there really wasn't a way to interact with everyone. LBP's release a few weeks later answered all of my prayers.
Comparing contemporary gaming to my middle school days of sinking hours into Final Fantasy or GTA 3 alone in the living room seems so primitive.
I know to anyone who owns an Xbox360 this must be news from 2 years ago. But my little clique of PlayStation fanboys over here is just now catching up.