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Tycho / on Fri, Dec 12 2008 at 12:00 am

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A Penetrating Look

The Beta for Playstation home is now available to everyone, and now you know what I know:  this is what happens when your marketing department tries to make a game.  Here is everything you need to understand about Home, if you should accidentally launch it from your XMB:  press and hold the Playstation button in the center of your Dual-Shock or Sixaxis controller.  From the menu that appears, select Quit.

There are things about Home that are simply beyond my understanding.  Chief among these bizarre maneuvers is the idea that, when manufacturing their flimsy dystopia, they actually ported the pernicious notion of scarcity from our world into their digital one.  This is like having the ability to shape being from non-being at the subatomic level, and the first thing you decide to make is AIDS.

If you approach an arcade machine and there is a person standing in front of it, you will not be able to play it.  Likewise, if you see people bowling and think that bowling is something you might like to do, you probably wont be able to.  Unable to play arcade games like Ice Breakers and Carriage Return the first several times we logged on, these games had begun to take on an epic stature in our minds.  These were gushing fonts of liquid fun, habit-forming and dangerous - for the good of our virtual society, the supply had to be controlled.  When we were finally able to play them, we learned that they were the equivalent of browser games.

There is nothing about the experience of using Home to suggest that you are actually moving through a single, contiguous environment.  It is very clearly a handful of walled off zones, where you are confronted by incessant load screens in a desperate search for stimulation.  From the moment you enter one of their ultrahygenic “amusement regions,” it’s clear that all life has been burned away.  You get the sense that this is a place in which no interesting thing could ever happen.

There is already a growing school of Home apologetics, fostered by the same Order of Perpetual Masochism that lauded the rumble-free Sixaxis at launch and suggested, hilariously, that Lair and Heavenly Sword were videogames.  They’re under the impression that because something is free, this places it on some golden dais beyond censure.  It’s no virtue to give away something that no-one in their right mind would buy. Sony has no idea what this world is for, and that ambiguity infuses every simulated millimeter of it.

This is the terrible secret that roils beneath their false universe: it is nothing more than a cumbersome menu, a rampart over which you must hoist yourself to accomplish the most basic tasks.

(CW)TB out.

the sun has come to earth

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