Where This Meets That
Let me count the ways . . .
I’ve said it many times, to many people: the PlayStation 3 (PS3) is the high water mark for home entertainment and a masterpiece of loafery. Before hooking up my long-awaited PS3 just over a year ago, I could never have imagined being able to do so little in so many different ways.
I’ve never considered myself a “gamer”. I am simply an aficionado of the sport of football (the American variety), and I’ve been drawn to the electronic versions of the sport ever since I was a kid. I remember playing the tabletop football arcade game at Pizza Hut on Friday nights after our local high school games. I’d roll that Centipede-esque trackball to manipulate the little “X and O” football player surrogates and somehow imagine actual football game play.
Onward through Apple II and Commodore 64 versions I forged, never stymied by low-resolution graphics or flawed artificial intelligence (ahem, the computer’s). Eventually I splurged on the Sega Genesis and upgraded my football fantasy to the world of Madden football, and if I wasn’t addicted already, that one had me hook, line, and sinker.
Hang with me, because, while I do love to play my football video games, this post is about my love for the PS3. I’m getting there.
See, from Sega Genesis to PlayStation and even the PS2, I was all about the football. There were a few other games sprinkled in, but football was always the draw for me. I never viewed a game console as anything more than a necessary interface for the best available football game. My standard process was simply to buy the latest, greatest console and corresponding football game then play it until the next console became affordable a few years later.
Enter the PS3.
I had wanted one since its debut in 2006, but as a family man this time around, I was never willing or able to lay down the asking price on a “video game”. So, when I completed my MBA in December 2009, my wife and our parents rewarded me with funds to buy a flat screen TV. During my negotiation with the sales associate, the planets aligned in such a way that I went home with a TV, a PS3, a Blu-ray movie and a PS3 game for less than the sale price of the TV by itself!
Talk about a glorious day! In one fell swoop, my MBA coursework became worth it! I came home probably all-too-closely resembling an overgrown Ralphie tearing open his new Red Rider BB gun, knocking my kids out of the way like they were tackling dummies on my way to the end zone.
Now, the mark of a good product is that it meets your expectations. The mark of a great product is that it exceeds your expectations. It quickly became clear that the PS3 could do far more than I’d expected.
From my scouting reports, I’d realized, of course, that it promised to set a new standard for football game play (which EA’s NCAA Football easily accomplishes), even allowing me to play against remote friends. I also knew that it doubled as a CD and Blu-ray DVD player, although I was skeptical at the degree of enhancement Blu-ray offered over standard DVD’s.
As I became more familiar with our PS3, I was increasingly more delighted.
First off, I never fully appreciated the value of standard wireless Bluetooth game controllers, which allow me to pursue the national championship from any seat in the room. In a word: fantastic! Another great value comes via the countless free game demos available for download from the PS3 Store. These give users ample exposure to titles to determine if they are worth purchasing. Frequently, the demos are sufficiently entertaining for the kids that we don’t need to buy many games. Further, there are great, complete games also available for download for cheap.
Additionally, Netflix instant movies stream beautifully through the PS3. I also found that if we eject a DVD in the middle of a movie, it will automatically restart where we left off the next time we insert the DVD, with no need for searching the menu for the right chapter; a small but nice surprise.
Finally, with a little network tweaking, I found the ability to share media between the PS3 and our computer, easily transferring music, pictures, and more.
I realize that all this is old news to those fortunate (or immature) enough to have bought into the PS3 experience; after all, it was released over four years ago. However, after I recently finished singing its praises to yet another individual, he suggested that it sounded like something I needed to write about here on Le Blah-Blah-Blog, so here it is.
Now I’m off to go see my PS3!