Tagged: PSP

Relive the PlayStation Lifestyle of 2008 with this Blu-ray

Want to remind yourself of how Sony was selling the PlayStation 3 lifestyle in 2008? In the mood for some old game trailers you may have forgotten about? Do you love Blu-ray movies? There’s something for everyone on this 2008 “Welcome to PlayStation 3” promo disc that I picked up at a flea market back in April.

It’s a little odd that it was produced on a Blu-ray and you’d need a Blu-ray player (one of the PS3’s biggest selling points back in ‘08) in order to watch it. Nevertheless, there’s some choice marketing tomfoolery in Part 1. Lots of happy gamer dudes dancing around while playing, mimicking Minority Report hand gestures to navigate the XMB interface that never, ever worked that way. The PSP segment is also great, projecting gameplay footage on billboards and the sides of buildings when you were actually staring down at a tiny screen and ignoring the world. There’s even a “Karen” moment akin to the Nintendo Switch reveal trailer where a guy hands his PSP to a DJ at a party to really bring the heat with his Sony Music-approved playlist.

I know I’m way behind the curve on video resolution with 4K steamrolling its way into homes but this is also one of my first 1080p recordings. Oh yeah, it’s presented in 4 parts because I fully expect copyright claims to come down hard on these movie trailers and Sony BMG tracks. So far it hasn’t been blocked worldwide like my Guitar Hero Live video.

Oh hey! I’m doing a new playthrough series

I’ve spent a couple of days getting my production pipeline in order and trying to finally ditch my SingStar microphones (it didn’t happen) and am ready to start posting my new playthrough series. What’s the game? It’s R-Type Command on PSP! I’ve been thinking about replaying it a lot lately and figured if I was going to do it, why not hook it up to the TV and share the embarrassment with the Internet for posterity? Here’s Episode 00 in which I remember what the hell this game even is. I’ll try to do a new one once a week as the missions aren’t terribly long but there sure are a lot of them.

Probably Done Playing: Patchwork Heroes (PSP)

What I was hoping to get from Patchwork Heroes was essentially Qix with some clever artwork and asymmetrically shaped stages. Clamoring around massive airships, hacking away little chunks that the game calculated in size and percentage with colorful skyscapes flying by is about all I needed. Repeat a dozen times or more and that would’ve justified the $10 price tag for me. And everything was going great until about Stage 3. There’s a bunch of funny self-aware conversation and oddball antics going on in the brief intermissions and I love the vibrant patchworked art style but once the game started layering on new mechanics my interest fell apart quicker than a swiss cheesed airship.

The biggest problem I have with Patchwork Heroes is the timer. Unlike Qix, which may have docked you some points for taking a while to finish a stage, Patchwork Heroes gives you a maximum of maybe three minutes to get the job done. And you’re not just hacking apart the airships as you get past the first few missions, you’re also rescuing prisoners from barred windows or cutting around certain areas or objects. An increasing array of enemies and obstacles block your path and you’re also encouraged to finish with time to spare, without losing any of cutting crew (read: lives), and all prisoners rescued.

It’s another game brought to you by the PlayStation C.A.M.P. initiative that disappointed me with Trash Panic and Patchwork Heroes suffers the same fate in my book. With the painfully short timer always ticking away and so many goals to complete it becomes clear that this isn’t a game of exploration and haphazard fun but a game you’re meant to restart over and over until you discover the magical roadmap to success.

Cut from here to here, rescue this prisoner, now cut a chunk of this size, destroy every enemy along the way to build up your “mojo” power in order to cut through these metal plates, win. Deviate more than a little bit, fail.

I can’t help but screw around on each new stage, though, learning the ins and outs of a new airship, dodging enemies and trying to outdo myself on cutting away huge chunks. It always starts out fun but as I run out of time or miss my goals I restart repeatedly until I realize there’s only a few timely paths to take. By then it’s boiled down to a speedrun of perfectly timed button presses and that just isn’t enjoyable to me in the least.

It’s another game where the designer’s idea of fun and my own start out on the same page but wind up being as different as an encyclopedia and a comic book. I’m still looking forward to finishing Patchwork Heroes, it seems to be on perpetual pause as long as I keep the PSP juiced up, but it may only be a hollow victory for my backlog roster by the time I’ve mastered its demands of perfection.

E3 2010: The Sony Stuff

Trying to wrap some of the little chunks of games and things that looked interesting from E3 into fewer, larger posts here’s a rundown on as much Sony stuff as I can cobble together. Third Parties to follow. Here’s what I thought of Nintendo and Microsoft.

The Press Conference
Once again I preface that I didn’t see this show in its entirety but I did manage to get home in time to see about an hour of it live. I didn’t pick up on it myself but Maxx pointed out the awkwardly raucous applause for obscure things like turning into a rat in Sorcery, the presenter’s numerous mulligans in Tiger Woods and a new season of The Tester. Clearly some of those seats were pre-paid by Sony. But that didn’t dampen things too much; there were loads of montages that always do the trick for me and I love the imagery of all the PlayStation products and peripherals that served as transitions. Man, they’ve made a lot of stuff over the years!

Having been to two Sony press conferences myself I can tell you that surviving them is a test of all that it means to be human. Slow, protracted, and filled with figures and bar graphs, I was thrilled to see most of that put aside this year for some actual personality. But then the weirdest thing happened when The Kevin Butler interrupted with his best Stephen Colbert impersonation… only Kevin Butler is a script-reading actor, not even a real person. His skit went on way too long and the planted crowd went nuts for every word he uttered. It was unsettling to watch online, I can’t imagine the discomfort he coated the walls with.

There were also loads of demos of things I have no interest in. Like Microsoft and Nintendo’s shows, I seem to fall well outside of the target market and things like Killzone 3, 3D TVs, The Sly Collection, Medal of Honor and inFAMOUS 2 just hold no interest. One of the few moments of E3 where I genuinely got all tingly, though, was when Gabe Newell came on stage, admitted the spiteful comments he’s made about Sony, and then proceeded to say the PS3 version of Portal 2 would be the best. I don’t know if the tingle was from this peculiar E3 moment or the return of GLaDOS but I can’t wait for any version of Portal 2!

I love the tech but most of the Move demos rolled right off my back. Killzone 3: blah. The Shoot: I guess everyone needs minigame collections. Heroes on the Move: I sure wish I liked any of those characters! What stuck with me the most from the conference (besides the bitchin’ Move montage music, watch above) was the pricing. I’ve already got a PlayStation Eye but for most that’ll be $30, then another $50 for the wand and $30 more for the navigation controller; that’s $110 total. There’s a $99 bundle but it includes the camera which I don’t need. It does come with Sports Champions and a demo disc but that doesn’t seem worth the extra bucks. We’ve known how it all works for a while but it didn’t really hit me until their presentation; there are a lot of pieces required just to Move.

The paid subscription plan of PlayStation+ seems like it may eventually be cool for some far-off exclusive demo but they’re going with the troublesome structure where as soon as you stop paying all the exclusive content you “own” on your PS3 gets locked up. On second though, not even a demo of The Last Guardian is worth that. And then there were some more games I didn’t care about and one that I’m not sure if I can care about; Twisted Metal. With a sloppy, topless, clown-masked actor sitting in an ice cream truck, series frontman David Jaffe, proceeded to play a demo of the game. Nostalgia hit me first with big destructible environments and classic weaponry but as he explained new modes and the multiplayer focus, reality hit me. I don’t play online multiplayer games. I only enjoyed Twisted Metal with my neighbor or against the A.I. in “Story Mode”. That’s not liable to keep this new $60 reboot playing for long and I had to ask myself, is this even something you want to play anymore? Maybe car combat feels the best in my memory… and then the show ended with Sweet Tooth’s demon man-boobs flopping out of his ice cream truck. Ummm… way to end a press conference Sony!

PlayStation Move
The Move hardware has always looked closest to actual 1:1 motion tracking and it always seemed to be fast and responsive. The games, though, aren’t doing much for me so far; I was more impressed with last year’s tech demos. Tiger Woods, yes, that’ll be an amazing experience for people who like that kind of thing. Sorcery looks like a playable (if ugly) faux-Harry Potter adventure that incorporates a lot of the stuff we saw in the original Eye Toy demos but it also looks pretty simplistic. Sports Champions might be fun but the realistic look of the character models reminds me of the lifeless PlayStation Home. Like Kinectimals, EyePet has me worried over how long its cute critters will entertain me. SingStar Dance was little more than a confirmation but the idea is promising. LittleBigPlanet 2 is a foregone conclusion in my book, as is Echochrome ii where you use the Move controller like a flashlight to create shadows for your manikin character to navigate. Brilliant stuff. Finally there’s Kung Fu Rider (read this!) and the retro-fitted PAIN, both of which make me wonder if I wouldn’t just rather play them with a controller.

Grim as that all sounds I really am excited about Move even without a must-have title. I’ve always had a soft spot for the EyeToy and its creator, Dr. Richard Marks, who is wholly behind Move, I just need developers to start making really crazy stuff. Once Journey is finished I expect thatgamecompany to do something incredible and am looking forward to the insane experiments of both Hideo Kojima and Keita Takahashi.

The most astounding thing about the PSP at E3 is that Sony chose to support it at all. I think we were all expecting a PSP2 announcement but what we got was a Kevin Butler for the urban youth market named Marcus. His debut showed off the PSP lineup which reminded me once again that I don’t ever want to use the PSP to play games. It’s sad, too, because there are some games I’d love to play like Peace Walker, The 3rd Birthday, Ace Combat Joint Assault and Invizimals but I can’t cope with that form factor any more. I can only hope they’re swiftly ported to PS3 so I can get some Trophies and play with a real controller.

The PlayStation 3
This is getting long so here rest of the PS3 exclusives I’m eagerly awaiting. thatgamecompany’s Journey looks like the kind of game I’ve been dreaming about. Abstract, artistic, and heavy on personal exploration. Umm, that’d be personal exploration in the go-wherever-you-want sense, not the introspective analytical sense. Pixeljunk Shooter 2 is a gimme, totally stoked for that. Eat Them (read this!) looks like it could be great fun with build-your-own-gigantic-monster, city-smashing gameplay.

In closing…
…this was the best press conference I’ve seen from Sony ever, despite the planted crowd and unnerving make-believe celebrity/marketing shill. Like Microsoft, there’s not an overwhelming amount of exclusive PlayStation stuff I’m waiting for but I really like Move and can’t wait to see what developers do with it. Also, The Last Guardian and the Team ICO collection should both show up at Tokyo Game Show so I’ll pre-award Sony with ‘Best of Show’ for that!

Flirtatious Gaming Adventures through April

Ok, this one’s going back to the beginning of the year and it’s going down shotgun style right now!! Pump~Blat~Pump! Part One: Go!

Fret Nice (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade)
Sort of like LocoRoco meets Vib Ribbon? Run side-scrolling style and defeat enemies with rhythmical chain attacks that your character (or you with a guitar controller) unleash with perfectly-timed button presses. Like Vib Ribbon, the iconography you rely on to know which buttons to press isn’t very intuitive, here corresponding to their number of eyes, antenna and limbs. Awkward and kind of frustrating, I like the LocoRoco-ish art style and the oddly customizable player characters but it’ll require a hefty price cut to get me to buy.

Darwinia+ (Xbox Live Arcade)
For as indescribably perplexing as everyone made it out to be, I found this game to play like Pikmin only sometimes you can directly attack enemies and most of the time they ambush you and spawn out of nowhere to ruin your best laid plans. Clever or just cheap? It’s pretty at the least, trippy and full of demoscene love but I quickly deleted it from my 360.

Castlevania the Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
I actually bought this one but it’s such a short and feature-free game that it might as well have been a trial! Classic 8-bit Castlevania gameplay (and graphics) guaranteed a challenge that I wasn’t all that crazy about but was prepared for thanks to some pre-purchase coverage. Apparently it’s loosely based on a Game Boy Castlevania title but has been augmented to be almost unidentifiable. There’s a couple neat ideas that would warrant a second playthrough like access to alternate routes but I couldn’t get past the health-sucking maze of death with enough energy to reach Dracula, let alone finish. Retired within a week.

Lazy Raiders (Xbox Live Arcade)
I’m a sucker for games that let you use your Xbox Avatar, mostly because I’ve spent real money dressing up my virtual Shawn and any time I can use him in a game I feel a wee bit more justified. Lazy Raiders lets you flip and slide your pretend persona around a series of 3D mazes, not unlike a marble in a wooden puzzle box. The game looks fantastic since it’s locked in a 2D view with nice details and lush lighting. The physics feel nice too as you rotate the world and even flip it around like a coin to access a dark alternate version of each stage to find collectible treasures. I was pretty close to buying it but decided to wait for a sale at which time I still didn’t bit but, dammit, I wish I had right now!

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)
I would just like to reiterate for the umpteenth time: the PSP does not have enough buttons or a comfortable enough layout for a serious 3D action game, especially a Metal Gear Solid title. I had my fingers wrapped up like a pretzel just trying to pop out from cover and I couldn’t even pull off the final CQC maneuver they showed me in the tutorial. It looks gorgeous and I really want to experience it but this is the absolute last place I’d ever want to play a game that focuses on the patient study of plodding soldier patrol paths. Please, Kojima-san, port this to XBLA or PSN ASAP, KTHX!

Final Fight Double Impact (PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade)
“HE HE HE, Mister Haggar!” There’s no denying my love for Final Fight and this version — with for-real Achievements and separate in-game stat tracking rewards — is probably as much love as the brawler is ever going to get. It looks flawless, includes silly visual tricks to emulate the arcade machine and it even comes with the equally-loved Black Tiger on the flipside of the great user interface. You’d really think I would’ve bought it but I was still invested in Deadly Premonition at the time.

Part Deux brings us up to The Now and it’s coming tomorrow and then I think I’ll be caught up!