30 August 2009

Playstation 3

The Blu-ray player I mentioned in the last post is actually a PS3--Sony's latest game console. I skipped the video game revolution. I was around, and watched it happen, but for a few forays into some PC sports games I ignored the expanding popularity of this youth-oriented medium for the last thirty years. I'm not sure why I had no interest--admittedly I'm on the leading edge of the age group of game consumers--but I know that I often reject new technolgies at first glance before surrendering to them down the road. In the case of video games, I suppose I will never achieve any sort of skill or mastery in a world of rapid sensory input requiring even more rapid dexterity, but I felt the need to at least explore and find out what all the fuss was about. I started with Bioshock--a shooter/adventure game a young friend recommended--which fortunately has a "newbie-level" difficulty setting. I found the controller to be remarkably sensitive and fast-acting, and more often than not I would find myself hopelessly lost and turned around in the game's world. Thank goodness for the maps and hints feature, I would have given up without them. The graphics, design, and layout of Bioshock are superb, as rich and satisfying as a movie, and the story you become involved in has the sophistication of a novel. Some day, not soon, I'll "get to the end," but in the meantime it has been fun to spend a few spare moments playing around in an imaginary space, like reading a comic book that lets you re-arrange the panels. Another game, in fact the one that started me on this path, is also by the same company, 2K Games. It's a baseball game, of course, MLB 2K9, and it features Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants on the cover. When you're a fan like me, you don't need much of an excuse to indulge in something Giants-related. I got that one installed and running, and immediately was overwhelmed by the myriad of choices presented to me. I've got left and right buttons in the front of the controller, two each, and then four buttons on top for each side, as well as two sticks which also toggle another set of commands. I have to keep stopping and looking at the directions so I can remember how to throw, pitch, hit, catch, run and all the rest of the stuff you have to do in a ballgame. I feel like a kid in T-ball who suddenly finds himself in the middle of a high school hardball contest. I tried a game with the Giants and Matt Cain against the Milwaukee Brewers. After Prince Fielder's 3-run homer in the first inning I set it to "practice mode." I then managed three innings of a 1-1 duel with the same lineups, including a bases-loaded single by Matt Cain! I was so tired keeping track of every little thing by then that I quit and took a long break. Eventually I'll learn to play an entire game, and maybe even play against someone. That could be some time though. I just don't think I've got the thumbs for it.

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