Monday, March 9, 2015

Aabs Animals on PS3 makes man doubt existence of benevolent god, quality control

I’ve always had a soft spot for oddball software on the PS3, like Flower, Super Rub-a-Dub, Proteus, and PAIN. Sometimes I really enjoy a simple idea turned into an elegant experience that transcends normal gaming, or in the case of PAIN, an experience with a lot of wiener and fart jokes.

After watching the first few chapters of that Yakuza 4 movie that was free for PlayStation Plus users last month (someone said there’s a game in there, but I have yet to find it), I fired up Linger in Shadows for the first time since May of 2009. Linger is essentially a glorified demo, but a good waste of an hour. It made me nostalgic for that special time in my life when PS3 was the new hotness, I still lived at home with my parents, I had a job that would make even a clown sob, and all the whiskey in the world couldn’t dull the ever-present darkness spilling from my soul.

Lady Gaga’s “Pokerface” was number one on the Billboard charts for 40 weeks that year.

So I took a virtual trip to the virtual PSN Store on my actual couch, and discovered a curiosity called “Aabs Animals.” It looked fresh and unique, sort of like an anti-video game. It was only $4.99, so I took the plunge.

Boot it up and you’re greeted with a kitten. Only the kitten doesn’t do anything. Oh, it walks a bit, but it doesn’t actually move from the center of the screen. And when it falls asleep on its back, it looks less like a kitten and more like a corpse. Occasionally it meows. That’s it.

It’s the animal version of Desert Bus.

Fooling about with the analogue sticks moves the camera around a bit, and you realize your cat is blessed with the awesome power of levitation, ‘cause it never actually touches the ground. Also, it’s really, really easy to lose sight of your kitten entirely, instead staring into the vast, unreachable vegetation in the distance, where you swear you’ll see your wasted five bucks gently riding the wind towards the Abbs company’s insidious banker.

Furiously ramming all the other buttons on the controller does nothing. And the cat just stares you down, making you feel like you’ve made the worst financial move of your life, like Aabs Animals comes with a 997.8 percent APR or something.

In the first 15 seconds, a trophy popped up. Then another. And another.

“Oh, it’s a not a virtual pet,” I realized. “It’s trophy simulator.”

And with five trophies – three gold – earned over a mere five minutes, it’s a generous one. I “completed” the entire game in 5 minutes.

If I learned something from this experience, I’m not sure what it was. What I do know is that it would have been simpler for me just to pay for the trophies outright and get rid of the freaky feline middleman.

As Lady Gaga might say, “Russian Roulette is not the same without a gun.” Also, “Mum mum mum mah, Mum mum mum mah, Mum mum mum mah, Mum mum mum mah, Mum mum mum mah.”

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