Tuesday, July 27, 2010

PlayStation Home: All Investment, and NO RETURN…

I knew before I even loaded it up that the PS3 “social network” – PlayStation Home – is a colossal waste of time. But I’ve discovered over the last few weeks that if you’re not careful, Home will consume your every free moment like a bear eating a honey-drenched child, whether you like it or not.

The first time I used PlayStation Home, I fashioned my avatar after my real life appearance: an obese, four foot tall vampire child with an impeccable mullet. I found my way to the Central Plaza where hundreds of tweens just like me were talking about lol, wtf, and of course, stfu. No one understood what I was saying because I occasionally spoke in full sentences, so I signed off after about three minutes. Add that to the time it takes the software to load, and my first Home experience only lasted about 45 minutes.

But one dark day several months later, while I was waiting for my girlfriend to finish eating her dinner, I fired up PlayStation Home on her PS3. She had made the same mistake I did by modeling her avatar after her real life appearance. Not six seconds after materializing in the Central Plaza, a man with a bucket on his head, trousers of gray steel and horrifying lobster claws barreled up to me and informed me that he wanted to “lick [my] pepperoni nipples."

That’s when I knew it was time for a virtual sex change.

Back on my own PS3, I did my best to create a respectable woman to represent me online. After witnessing a cavalcade of scantily clad women populating the PlayStation Home world, it was my attempt counteract thousands of years of chauvinism and female repression. Then I spent the first 20 minutes trying to look up my own skirt.

Sure enough, as a woman I met all manner of wierdos, with a good 20 percent of them trying to get into my virtual pantaloons. I’m really not sure what the point is of hitting on people via a crappy, sometimes creepy PS3 application, but then again, I’m not a freaky eyeball man with a grass skirt and a drinking problem.

But even with Playstation Home’s violently dressed child molester avatars like these, talking to people online hasn’t been fun since the novelty wore off around 1998. I realized that the only real way to have fun with PlayStation Home is to become a good ol’ fashioned troll. For example, think of all the fun you’d have in the following scenario:

“Hello,” you say to a random male avatar. You make your video vixen stand as sexfully as possible by using the “coy” expression.

“hay baby,” they reply, very slowly.

“Anus,” you say. While he’s dumbfounded and searching for a response, you run away while yelling “Goodbye.” It’s a bit sophomoric, but it’s still funnier than anything Larry the Cable Guy has come up with.

Another of my favorites is to tell people I’m “magic” and ask them if they want to see a trick. When they inevitably say yes, I change from a pretty young redhead to a fat old man. Then I begin grinding on their avatars via the woefully abusable “casual dance” option.

Despite acting like a crack-addled seven-year-old virtually every chance I get, I still receive random friend requests and, even better, messages touting the sturdiness of another user’s wang. For example: “i have a cam if you want to see my cock.”

I typed up the following reply: “I have a cam too if you want to see MINE.” Then I thought better of sending it for obvious reasons.

The more time you spend using PlayStation Home, the more you’ll wonder if it was coded by a group of Midwestern third graders as some sort of class project. I’ve already alluded to the fact that you could go play a quick game of Monopoly while waiting for it to load, but there’s also a host of weird bugs, especially in the content offered by third party companies. Consider Red Bull Beach, where levitation isn’t just a way of life, but also a great way to look up terrible slug women’s dresses.

There’s also a bunch of clipping problems that children love to take advantage of at when mom and dad aren’t looking.

Not even InFAMOUS guy knows what to do with this one.

The entire PlayStation Home experience can be summed up by an interaction I had once with someone Sony hired to help new users get into the game. I walked up to her, getting ready to turn into a fat old man while yelling “anus,” but then she asked me if I needed any help. I asked her if there were some way to set PlayStation Home to “fun” on the options screen.

“I don’t understand what you mean,” she replied. “What options screen?” Then she told me to buy a keyboard so I could get the most out of PlayStation Home.

The second I read that, I realized my odd infatuation had finally been drained dry.

“No thanks,” I said. “I think I’ve had enough.”

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