Master the Art of the Quincy
December 14, 2008 6:31 PM   Subscribe

HOME is out for the Playstation 3, and as Penny Arcade has observed, it really is "nothing more than a cumbersome menu, a rampart over which you must hoist yourself to accomplish the most basic tasks." But it's not a complete waste of time. Where else can you have the joy of observing someone being Quincyed? Here's a video of Quincying in action. Observe the quick change, the expedient retreat of the male suitors, the provocative pelvic motion. Here's how to master the art of the Quincy, should you be so inclined.
posted by Effigy2000 (97 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I just listened to the joystiq podcast and laughed my ever-loving ass off, hilarious. glad to see another joystiq fan
posted by Del Far at 6:38 PM on December 14, 2008


I'm not sure what's sadder: Hanging around hoping to see a poorly-rendered electronic simulacrum of a sexless female image or creating said image and then mastering techniques to use it to fool others.
posted by DU at 6:42 PM on December 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


BAAAHAHAHAHA
posted by penduluum at 6:47 PM on December 14, 2008


Being a douchebag has never been so cumbersome.
posted by nanojath at 6:47 PM on December 14, 2008 [16 favorites]


Sure beats playing video games, dunnit?
posted by Dr-Baa at 6:53 PM on December 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


is this something you have to have no life to understand?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:55 PM on December 14, 2008 [13 favorites]


MASH UP
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:57 PM on December 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


eh, there's not enough grinding in HOME. I'm waiting until WORK comes out for the ps3.
posted by vorfeed at 7:03 PM on December 14, 2008 [6 favorites]


I'm not sure what's sadder: Hanging around hoping to see a poorly-rendered electronic simulacrum of a sexless female image or creating said image and then mastering techniques to use it to fool others.

The answer is that the second one is sadder.
posted by danb at 7:05 PM on December 14, 2008


Actually, the first one is probably sadder. But the second is more to be pitied.

THIS FINE DISTINCTION BROUGHT TO YOU BY BEANCORP. BEANCORP: HELPING YOU OVERTHINK SINCE 2001.
posted by DU at 7:07 PM on December 14, 2008 [6 favorites]


That's so creepy how the guys (virtually) surround her. Or him.
posted by HopperFan at 7:08 PM on December 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've never been more disappointed to find out something was not about Jack Klugman.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:15 PM on December 14, 2008 [31 favorites]


Does this act even deserve its own name? I couldn't imagine Quincying for fun, and I do a lot of dull things for fun.
posted by munchingzombie at 7:20 PM on December 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Leroy Jenkins at :39
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:20 PM on December 14, 2008


HOME is kinda dull. Roommate was wandering around in it yesterday... everyone looks virtually identical (as Sony didn't release very many wardrobe options in the launch), the menus are unbelievably cumbersome and unwieldy (I mean seriously, couldn't you at least map submenus to various buttons?), the mini-games are neat until you realise you're using a $300 piece of equipment to play chess for god's sake, and it's just sort of generally dull.

The graphics are nice, of course. And in about an hour or so of watching him wander around I saw several examples of neat emergent behaviour--one person starts doing a given action, a group forms of people doing the same thing--but meh. Dull dull boring and dull.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:36 PM on December 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why is this surprising? It's mostly puberty stricken boys who do this.
posted by Mephisto at 7:42 PM on December 14, 2008


So you don't even get to start out with a crowbar?
posted by maxwelton at 7:43 PM on December 14, 2008 [15 favorites]


It goes without saying that Home is very, very stupid. With that out of the way, I have a question: Has anyone else seen a few random avatars that are made of pure white polygonal figures from the shoulders down? Kinda look like Imperial stormtroopers, or maybe a knight in white plastic armor.

If so, does anyone know what the deal is with that? I'm guessing it's some sort of weird, awesome glitch wherein the clothing/body doesn't load or display correctly, leaving instead the polygonal skeleton.
posted by incomple at 7:45 PM on December 14, 2008


HopperFan: As a girl who has tried Playstation Home a few times, I can honestly say that stuff like that happens almost all the time. There are so few girls that when we do show up, we are mobbed.

I've even been cussed at for not wanting to go back to some guy's "virtual" apartment with him.

It's... It kind of sucks, really.

And some (decent) guys have suggested just switching to a male avatar, but I feel I shouldn't *have* to. I should not have to hide the fact that I'm female just so I won't get harassed in a damned game, you know? :[
posted by Zarya at 7:53 PM on December 14, 2008 [15 favorites]


incomple: That's the Echochrome outfit you can win by getting a high score in the arcade game in the bowling alley.
posted by Zarya at 7:56 PM on December 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


One of these MMP worlds really needs to try all-androgynous avatars sometime. The dynamics would be fascinatingly different, methinks.
posted by rokusan at 7:58 PM on December 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


There are multiple levels of creepy going on there.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:00 PM on December 14, 2008


Sony just does not get software... They don't get developer partnerships, they don't get software/virtual worlds - what is the point?

And I have to laugh, so this is it... every other non-Nintendo company is poorly imitating Mii's with their "avatar" systems? Pitiful.
posted by jkaczor at 8:05 PM on December 14, 2008


Thanks, Zarya. I'll have to give it a shot...

Because I have a hackneyed sense of humor (and, in addition, truly have no sense of decorum), I made one of my avatars an obese, shoeless old black man with the Little Richard-y haircut. I would trot up to people and dance, or sometimes just stand around, and within a few moments they would almost always run away.

Later, I was trying to start a bowling game and no one wanted to play with me. Eventually, someone did, and he called me the dreaded n-word. (Well, with weird spacing, as the PlayStation Home autocensor is extremely overzealous.)

Anyway, the point is that it's amazing how people treat your avatar how they would like to treat what your avatar represents in the physical world. After an hour with my homeless, black avatar, I was actually kind of saddened and angry at the world.
posted by incomple at 8:08 PM on December 14, 2008 [22 favorites]


I can't believe I wasted 2 minutes and 36 seconds watching that retarded video.
posted by exhilaration at 8:09 PM on December 14, 2008


The first is sad. The second discourages the idiocy of the first and provides comedy, making it not sad.

To add more context, creepiness, trollery, rage, etc. I will point out that "IT'S A TRAP" is likely, though not necessarily, a transsexuality reference.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:13 PM on December 14, 2008


Sony just does not get software...

Sony doesn't get anything. Sony has become in recent years possibly the stupidest company on the planet, at least among companies that weren't always stupid. I don't know if it's a failure of management or they're all on freakin' drugs or what, but it is astonishing the series of utter failures, technological boondoggles and brand-destroying fuckups they've unleashed after so many successes in the past.

Fascinating, like a car crash.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:17 PM on December 14, 2008 [14 favorites]


Admiral Ackbar knows when it's a trap.
posted by Effigy2000 at 8:20 PM on December 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I can't believe I wasted 2 minutes and 36 seconds watching that retarded video.

You mean you wouldn't have wasted it otherwise? If so, how else would you like to have wasted it? If not, I sure would like to see what your schedule looks like that you couldn't spare three minutes out of the day for something meaningless.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:21 PM on December 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


HOME: A Metaverse full of Clints and Brandys. No Hero in sight.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:24 PM on December 14, 2008 [21 favorites]


I don't know if it's a failure of management or they're all on freakin' drugs or what

If my living in Tokyo for most of the 90s is of any use, I think it's due to the difficulty of recruiting brilliant, creative, well-rounded people who have an acumen for business.

While Sony itself is something of a standout, Japan Inc doesn't really have a career path for smart people to get educated & then end up at eg. Apple, Yahoo, Google, or Microsoft.

In Japan the brilliant, creative, well-rounded people can't get through the educational filtering establishment intact.

Plus the sheer lack of numbers of college graduates is staggering.

Kutaragi is the proverbial exception that proves the rule -- a company of Kutaragis could do wonders but I don't think he has much backing, either above him in the corporate management or below him in the rank & file.
posted by troy at 8:27 PM on December 14, 2008


P.o.B. - meaningless is one thing, negative impact of aggregate subjective opinion of your experience of life (or your day, afternoon, or whatever) is entirely another.

This fell firmly in the latter category.
posted by Dysk at 8:28 PM on December 14, 2008


So is this like Second Life for the Playstation, or is it more like The Sims for the Playstation?

Modern life is so confusing...
posted by mr_roboto at 8:37 PM on December 14, 2008


Home has some potential, but it's mostly unfulfilled. It's almost as if someone at Sony said, "Hey, Second Life's pretty big" and then decided to copy it, but neutered it with fewer options and less creativity.

The coolest thing I've done so far is create a Japanese PSN account, download a Japan-only demo, and play it to unlock a Pac-man arcade machine for my virtual summer home. Of course, I can't actually use it to actually play Pac-man, though... sad.

The problem is that the PS3 does not have the installed base to make investing in a free virtual world for it worthwhile, and it's unlikely to ever have much of a base because of Sony's poor management. Look at the NPD figures for last month; the 360 sold more than twice the PS3, and the Wii sold more than five times.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:41 PM on December 14, 2008


I think a fun thing would be if there was this tin man. And he bought a playstion 3 and plugged it and went online and played home obsessively. Night and day, trying everything that home had to offer. People would know that home wasn't fun. Why would he play it till his joints got all squeaky? It doesn't make any sense. Someone would ask the tin man why he played home and the tin man would say "Because I've heard Home is where the heart is." They would reply "Oh tin man, poor naive tin man. That's just an expression. Zelda is the video game with the hearts in it. Also Zelda is awesome."
posted by I Foody at 9:02 PM on December 14, 2008 [27 favorites]


I will point out that "IT'S A TRAP" is likely, though not necessarily, a transsexuality reference.

That nuance was the one thing about the video that made me smile. And then I realized that that meant I owed a sort of intellectual debt to 4chan, and I stopped smiling again.
posted by cortex at 9:03 PM on December 14, 2008 [12 favorites]


If they added the ability to pointlessly drive back and forth down a highway, this would be a pixel perfect rendition of my hometown, though the quincy-ing usually ended in tragedy.
posted by drezdn at 9:28 PM on December 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Huh. I know some dudes who work over at Sony in Bellevue or Redmond or wherever that office is. They're doing some sort of FPS. Hope it's better than this.
posted by maxwelton at 9:33 PM on December 14, 2008


So it's like Desert Bus, but without the bus, or the desert.
posted by Damn That Television at 9:38 PM on December 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ok, I have to say that I enjoyed the Quincying video, perhaps just for a little vicarious "payback". I'm with Zarya on this. Why should I have to hide that I'm female in order to not be harassed? Because there are so few gamer girls, the attention can get super, uber annoying, to the point that it's no longer a fun activity to game, which sucks.

Luckily, there are some places - not PS Home, unfortunately - where you get mostly decent and good guys (like MeFight Club, for instance, which is full of awesome people). But it can take a long time to find a place like that, which is IMHO one of the major obstacles to a lot of girls getting into serious online gaming.
posted by gemmy at 9:41 PM on December 14, 2008


I briefly played a game like this (There), which was fun but simply required too much money for me to justify the time I spent chasing my virtual dog off cliffsides with my virtual hoverboard.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:42 PM on December 14, 2008


It's almost as if someone at Sony said, "Hey, Second Life's pretty big" and then decided to copy it, but neutered it with fewer options and less creativity.

Yes, exactly. Your options are... a shopping mall and a bowling alley.

Woo.

I mean.. what about a nightclub where users could mix their own music, or upload songs they've written? How about a grownups area where **** ain't **** censored? Hangout areas for gathering people to play games together like CD4 or Rock Band or whatnot? Even better for Rock Band (which I hate, but eh), what about some sort of tournament room that lets other people watch people go head-to-head or play as a band?

The trick that Sony has missed with this SecondLifeLite is that they have a serious hook that SL doesn't: everyone using home already has something in common: they all play PS3 games. So the logical option for creating a virtual world is to create areas that cater to those people as adjuncts to the main socialising areas. Not having at least a dozen or so of those available at launch is a ridiculous oversight. They also need a grownup-grownups section; from the inclusion of things like chess and bowling and pool it looks like Sony is trying to garner some interest from the casual gamer/parent/grandparent market that Nintendo has scooped so brilliantly with the Wii. Those segments are unlikely to get involved unless they can escape the BUTTS LOL tweakers and basement-dwellers.

The other trick that Sony missed is one that SL got right: the ability to truly create your own environment. Following from the thoughts above, maybe a hardcore Rock Band devotee wants their apartment to look like some grimy squat with KISS posters all over the walls. Let them! Let your trophies earn you credits for new clothes/decor/living space. Let every user start with X amount of free credits to spruce up their $whatever; you're more likely to get people to spend money if you give them a good taste first.

It's actually kind of depressing, now that I'm really thinking about it, at how very much Sony got so very, very wrong with this.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:47 PM on December 14, 2008 [10 favorites]


> there are so few gamer girls

Are you sure? That might be confirmation bias.

ESA study: 40 percent of US gamers are women
posted by sdodd at 9:48 PM on December 14, 2008


The problem is that even though Quincying can be payback for guys giving girls all kinds of crap, it reinforces the idea that there ARE NO GIRLS online.

Meanwhile, most of the girls are probably playing with male avatars, just to avoid all that nonsense.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:49 PM on December 14, 2008


Wait, Ackbar was trans? I thought he was some kind of squid.
posted by ryanrs at 9:57 PM on December 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


OK, someone tell me how to Quincy in real life, NOW please.

I can't wait to try this on the bus tomorrow.
posted by not_on_display at 9:58 PM on December 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


In before white knights?

No such luck.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:59 PM on December 14, 2008


Spring of 1998. I was 18, a senior in high school, and had just been accepted to NYU for film school the previous December. The trouble was that I hadn't actually visited the campus (as much as NYU has a true "campus," so for my spring break, my folks and I went to NY for the week.

Sometime midway through the week, we went up to Times Square, and were eating lunch at Lindy's. As we were leaving, a massive crowd had built up in front of the building, spilling way out into the street. As it turned out, MTV had just moved into that building, and they were currently filming Total Request Live.

I saw Jesse Camp, who in his high-heeled boots must have been over seven feet tall and thus towered over the adolescent and teenaged crowd. I've got about as much meat on me as a chopstick, so I weasled through the screaming mass in about thirty seconds and got up to him (it should be mentioned at this point that my parents encouraged this, not because they know anything about pop-culture, but just trusted that whatever happened would be funny.)

Camp had his microphone, and was talking to Carson Daly, who was of course up in the windowed studio above. A hundred shrieking girls were bellowing for him to come down to the street and grace them with his glorious presence. And that was just the people immediately surrounding Jesse.

When I get up to him, I somehow give off the impression of the person who knows what to do in this situation (Jesse Camp surely didn't) and I tell him to just let me have the mic, and I'll handle this. Jesse, clearly overwhelmed and confused, just gives me the damn microphone.

I summon the most "female" voice I could muster, and offer in sultry, coquettish tones, the following demand:

"Dammit, come on, you sexy baby, get down here!"

I look up at the window, and watch Daly slam his hands against it as he looks down to se who was talking. I wave and raise a big thumbs up, as his excited smile turns to shocked disappointment at the sight of the pasty, gawky, and very MALE teen who had just gotten him all hot and bothered.

I assure you this story is completely true, but in recent years I've wondered how I managed to get his attention, when this sort of thing had to have been said to him day-in and day-out, by all accounts, and by actual women (or at least girls.) So that line of questioning disturbs me a bit. Still had to giggle at the Quincying, though. Can be a fun pastime in the right context.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:11 PM on December 14, 2008 [34 favorites]


Brother Dysk: Which category does snootiness fall into? By the way I'm not particularly coming down on you. I just don't I think people who do state such things fully understand it's implied meaning. But whatevs, somebody owes you I guess.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:21 PM on December 14, 2008


I think these types of interactions are interesting to watch in these environments. Is this what we get to look forward to when virtual reality becomes fully immersive, or will the immersion peel back some of the anonymity layers that inevitably produce the Internet Fuckwad Theory?
posted by P.o.B. at 10:30 PM on December 14, 2008


The content: pretty funny, I guess. It certainly exploits what appears to be a very odd social dynamic. Has this sort of groupthink posturing become the thing-to-do (that's free) on HOME—does it define it—or is it just a tiny part of it?

I was more pleased by the way the video was shot than anything else. The resolution in video games, when displayed in high-definition, is at the point that, now, you can zoom in on the action and not lose much quality; the television is not perceived. With older equipment, this would not have been the case. With these technological advances in mind, they used deliberate reframing, by means of zooms and pans, to better capture a socially engineered 'public' event.

Now that I've typed that out, it sounds like some lost Harmony Korine project.
posted by defenestration at 10:35 PM on December 14, 2008


P.o.B. - depends how much one enjoys snootiness, I'd've thought ;)
posted by Dysk at 10:39 PM on December 14, 2008


Upon watching it again, it was less panning and more moving the in-game camera. The zooming stands. They were simultaneously moving two cameras—one physical, one digital. That's pretty interesting, too, I guess.

Oh look, there's a plate of beans...
posted by defenestration at 10:40 PM on December 14, 2008


If my living in Tokyo for most of the 90s is of any use, I think it's due to the difficulty of recruiting brilliant, creative, well-rounded people who have an acumen for business.

While Sony itself is something of a standout, Japan Inc doesn't really have a career path for smart people to get educated & then end up at eg. Apple, Yahoo, Google, or Microsoft.

In Japan the brilliant, creative, well-rounded people can't get through the educational filtering establishment intact.


Obviously there are cultural differences between Japanese and American companies, stuff that's been studied a lot, but to lay Sony's problems at the feet of Japanese cultural diffrences is a bit ridiculous. They're not problems affecting Toyota or Nintendo. Sony used to be a pretty good company. And the original play station was a success. Indeed, this seems to be a relatively recent problem on their part.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of these problems couldn't be attributed to their Western CEO, Howard Stringer. His background was in content and media, not engineering. Rather then making great hardware, they switched to being a content company, and letting their hardware either rot or serve the content needs, which meant Crazy-ass DRM schemes.
posted by delmoi at 11:57 PM on December 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


They're not problems affecting Toyota or Nintendo.

I'd argue they're affecting Toyota, too. The Prius is a much-ballyhooed success but really it's a borderline technology advance and the story of its rocky development doesn't really put corporate Toyota in a good light.

Nintendo is generally smart and very conservative and knows the secret formula for creating a solid , if vanillariffic, home entertainment experience.

but to lay Sony's problems at the feet of Japanese cultural diffrences is a bit ridiculous.

Well, I was trying to go a bit deeper than that. Sony can't develop a strong Engineer culture because it lacks the bodies and, increasingly, money. Its content side makes the money so they call the shots.

And the original play station was a success.

Again, lack of bodies and/or brains.

The scale & scope of the console biz in the 90s was half or less what it is now. Sony innovated awesomely with its Net Yaroze program, but apparently lacks the bodies or corporate will to continue that today, while Microsoft's effort & IQ investment to get XNA going is awe-inspiring by comparison.
posted by troy at 12:31 AM on December 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


I mean.. what about a nightclub where users could mix their own music, or upload songs they've written?

What, and reduce the sales of Sony Music Entertainment? Not bloody likely.
posted by grouse at 12:49 AM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


delmoi's got it exactly right: Sony let its media division strangle its hardware division. Instead of making wonderful devices to make OUR lives better, they make devices to make their CONTENT DIVISION'S lives better, and people mostly don't go for that.

They decided they were primarily in the business of selling bits, and using their own hardware to make those bits both convenient and artificially expensive. Without a monopoly position to enforce their edicts, that's a poor business model, one they're having to use the guns of the US Government to enforce.

Stringer chose the wrong side of the company, and he's doing his very best to screw you over to make a profit. It didn't have to be that way.
posted by Malor at 1:11 AM on December 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


"They're not problems affecting Toyota or Nintendo. "
Although Nintendo's cornered the family/casual market fantastically well, they've completely screwed up the whole online aspect. As with Sony, it's as if they don't have anyone in the company with any awareness of the history of online communities and gaming or the vast business opportunities.
posted by malevolent at 1:47 AM on December 15, 2008


The fact that one of the few chat macros available is "I don't have a keyboard" is a good indicator of how successful Home will turn out to be.
posted by influx at 1:48 AM on December 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


/me reads back through a few penny arcades...

WTF? OBAMA HAS A ZUNE? Can I haz my vote back?
posted by kaibutsu at 1:48 AM on December 15, 2008


Didn't you get the memo? The Zune and XBOX are Microsoft products that are now OK to like. (Statement not valid for Zunes below version 3.0 and the original kill-a-baby-brick-sized-original-XBOX)
posted by amuseDetachment at 1:53 AM on December 15, 2008


> Rather then making great hardware

I don't know. I've always heard the PS3 complimented on its technical specs. I certainly like it.
posted by Mephisto at 2:38 AM on December 15, 2008


And some (decent) guys have suggested just switching to a male avatar, but I feel I shouldn't *have* to. I should not have to hide the fact that I'm female just so I won't get harassed in a damned game, you know? :[

'moonMan was messing around with Home with a female avatar, and while I wondered for a moment if this was a statement about gender equality, I realized that he was trying to mess with 15 year old boys. *sigh*
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:03 AM on December 15, 2008


Instead of making wonderful devices to make OUR lives better, they make devices to make their CONTENT DIVISION'S lives better, and people mostly don't go for that.

Sony has always behaved this way; to suggest that it is something new is ridiculous. Sony has always held its breath and stamped its feet and insisted that its customers buy from Sony and Sony alone. Witness Sony's fucking up Betamax by refusing to license out the technology, or the hundreds of Sony cameras and other small electronic devices that only take Sony Memory Sticks.

There was an apocryphal quote from Sony's CEO a couple of years back about the PS3, where he insisted that Sony could do whatever they wanted with the PS3 and it would still sell like hotcakes, because people were more interested in the Sony name than anything else. Part of why the quote was so believable was because it exemplified the unspeakable arrogance that has been present in Sony's business dealings for decades.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:08 AM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


HOME seems to be set up, in the long run, for two types of people: griefers and newbies. The newbies (the kind version, those that are new, not newbs or n00bs or whatever) would come to Home to fiddle around and check things out. As they discover all the depth of the setting (bowling alley or shopping mall?), they slowly phase out and lose interest. The griefers, who know the setting well enough to exploit it, would be the only people coming back on a regular basis, hungry for more clueless folks to grief via Quincying, chatspamming, or whatever.

The lack of depth in the setting (wardrobes, too) means that soon enough Home will be like that Far Side cartoon with all the wolves taking off their sheep costumes trying to figure out if anyone is actually what they say they are.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:45 AM on December 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


Another thing from Sony that is completely pointless.
posted by asok at 5:00 AM on December 15, 2008


I kind of wish the big three game companies would get away from the whole Avatar thing. I have a Mii and a Xbox Live Avatar that both look enough like me. But why should I care? It's just an animation that doesn't really add anything to the experience outside of the 15 minutes spent trying to decide which nose is the least offensive. After you get done designing your avatar, it's less helpful than the damn Word Paperclip.

I would much rather a Muse feature, a superevolved Paperclip that recommends games, serves as your opponent in single player matches, and so on. Take a page from all those helpful sidekicks in games and bring that to the console. Let the player only have a little direct influence about what the Muse looks like. Instead, let their game choices (and what they do in said games) determine what the Muse looks like and what it becomes. For example, recently I've played Fable II, Rockband 2, and Fallout 3. In the RPGs, I've tended to play good, helpful characters. In Rockband, I drum. Given that each of the RPGs has ways of tracking your behavior, certainly the system could pull from that to help influence what your Muse looks like? So if I started with a generic female Muse, over time the system would pick up how and what I'd play, evolving the Muse to match. Maybe I'd end up with an angel wearing combat boots and holding a pair of flaming drumsticks. If I started playing Halo again, then over time the angelic robes would transition into Spartan armor.

The Muse would also track what I like to play and offer suggestions. I enjoyed Hexic and Puzzle Quest. When new games like those come out, my Muse should come by and let me know. When I play Uno, my Muse should be one of the computer controlled players. Reaching certain milestones in games should let me lock in a feature or accessory or two on the Muse. Beat Fable II? Great, you can give your Muse the Dog. Beat Fallout 3? Here's Fawkes! You can now pick one who will hang out with your Muse and keep it company. Out of game awards for in game victories (Achievements, Trophies, etc) have proved pretty popular, so why not?

Of course, this would require a huge investment on the part of the console maker. I think it could be done, and done well, and could add some longevity to the system. Don't like how your Muse is transitioning from punk rocker to a soldier? Well, you have been playing a lot of Gears of War lately. Pop in Rockband and tell your Muse to 'pay attention' and he'll start to revert back. So now you're going back and playing games that you would have let gather dust. Great!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:08 AM on December 15, 2008 [17 favorites]


Sony has always behaved this way; to suggest that it is something new is ridiculous

The only thing that's really changed is the formation of a nemisis (the internet, and especially the Digg-Boing Boing-Engadget angry nerd axis) to call out each of their missteps. The products are pretty much the same as ever.
posted by cillit bang at 5:11 AM on December 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Another thing from Sony that is completely pointless.

I'm sad to admit, I'd buy a Rolly. Pointless, but oh-so-neat-o. I want to play some music with wide stereo separation on it.
posted by Dr-Baa at 5:16 AM on December 15, 2008


Up until the Quincy, it reminds me a lot of what I´ve seen here at Naval Nuclear Power school. I suspect we have a lot of Home users around here.
posted by concrete at 6:18 AM on December 15, 2008


I'd argue they're affecting Toyota, too. The Prius is a much-ballyhooed success but really it's a borderline technology advance and the story of its rocky development doesn't really put corporate Toyota in a good light.

"Success" being the key word there. Obviously you can ladle on as many negative sounding qualifiers as you want ("rocky" "bad light"), but that doesn't really prove or illustrate anything. I mean, you could say "Yeah, the U.S. got to the moon in ten years but they spent a lot of money and had some accidents along the way. And it was all government run. Clearly U.S. engineering in the middle 20th century sucked!)

Well, I was trying to go a bit deeper than that. Sony can't develop a strong Engineer culture because it lacks the bodies and, increasingly, money. Its content side makes the money so they call the shots.

Well, maybe they can't. But it doesn't make any sense to lay this at the feet of "Japanese culture" when clearly they had a great engineering culture in the past, and furthermore they're a huge international company capable of hiring people from anywhere in the world. Lots of Japanese companies have R&D labs in the U.S. Googling around a bit it looks like they have R&D centers in California, New York, India, China and Taiwan.

You're argument is just nonsensical.
posted by delmoi at 6:44 AM on December 15, 2008


I have no idea what I just watched. Why does that calendar thing pop up and block the image? What is this?
posted by Outlawyr at 7:16 AM on December 15, 2008


I have no idea what I just watched. Why does that calendar thing pop up and block the image? What is this?

That was an on-screen keyboard from which the user was picking letters to say something.

Basically, what you watched was someone using a Hott Female avatar; they started it Sexy Dancing, which drew in a hilarious-on-its-own-merits swarm of Horny Dudes who wanted to Dance with the Hott Female. The user then swapped out its Hott Female for a Fugly Dude, dressed in similar-but-not-Hott-clothing, who continued the same Sexy Dance. The Horny Dudes then fled in horror and disgust.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:00 AM on December 15, 2008


So if I started with a generic female Muse, over time the system would pick up how and what I'd play, evolving the Muse to match. Maybe I'd end up with an angel wearing combat boots and holding a pair of flaming drumsticks.

Fuck yes. Now that would be cool.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:22 AM on December 15, 2008


I was the Lead Designer on Home for a short stint before I moved up to SCEE Cambridge in early 2008.

This is a good example of why we were pushing for specific locations for character customization.

The call was made to ignore all of the design and community building lessons learned over the past 20 years of Online game development and simply go with what you see now.

Bowling and Bullshit.

Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't. Some good people are still there, so I hope it does well, even though i think it's an amazing disaster.


Wait, so instead of just bringing up a menu to change your avatar, you wanted people to go somewhere inside the virtual world to change? Is that correct?

In that case, that is just the kind of real world-to-virtual world translation that's unnecessary and just complicates things. Like the requirement that you need to wait for a lane in a virtual bowling alley.
posted by ymgve at 8:25 AM on December 15, 2008


The problem is that the PS3 does not have the installed base to make investing in a free virtual world for it worthwhile

Yes - though I think they *may* get some momentum now that Little Big Planet is out - that is the big family gift for us this Christmas, we are buying a PS3 because if it (that and easy BluRay - trying to get the family to play BluRay discs via software, changing the screen resolution and a dead-slow PC-drive has been nearly impossible)...
posted by jkaczor at 9:11 AM on December 15, 2008


Yes - though I think they *may* get some momentum now that Little Big Planet is out

Can I take a moment to say that I LOVE THE LIVING HELL OUT OF LBP? Ok, I just did.

I mean, holy cow I love that game. I have epilepsy and finding fun games that don't make me sick... well, they're few and far between. 'moonMan bought LBP for me because he knew I'd squee over the sack people and it's been one of the greatest gifts ever. A fun game! That is cute! That isn't flashy-flashy! YAY!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:34 AM on December 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Is this based on the title sequence to the TV show Quincy, where Quincy lifts up a sheet to show the medical students *something*, and they all faint and fall over? I’m a big fan of that one (my theory is it’s a puppet show Quincy is putting on using the living organs of a patient).
posted by Artw at 9:35 AM on December 15, 2008


I love LittleBigPlanet, too, but sales have been disappointing. Its October debut barely cracked the top ten, and it's not even in the top 20 software titles for November 2008.

As much as I love it, I don't think it's compelling enough to drive many people to spend $400-500 on hardware to play it.
posted by MegoSteve at 9:53 AM on December 15, 2008


ESA study: 40 percent of US gamers are women
Most of these women probably play casual games like Diner Dash, Cake Mania, PopCap games etc. Those are not the women you see when you play console games online.
posted by davar at 10:06 AM on December 15, 2008


As much as I love it, I don't think it's compelling enough to drive many people to spend $400-500 on hardware to play it.

True dat. We already had a PS3 here in the nest, so it was only a $60 investment. It's worth quite a bit more than that to me, but certainly not $400. Do Playstations really go for that much? I seem to recall 'moonMan getting his for $250, but I could be wrong.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:06 AM on December 15, 2008


I don't think it's compelling enough to drive many people to spend $400-500 on hardware to play it.

Guilty, and now regretful.

On the bright side, I created a red-mulleted white guy in Home, wearing shades, ear-studs, headphones, a tank top, sweat pants, and no shoes, and spent about an hour wandering around telling people my shoes had been stolen and I had an ugly haircut, but at least no one would recognize me wearing the shades. Totally worth $400 - $500.
posted by owtytrof at 10:09 AM on December 15, 2008


Wait, so instead of just bringing up a menu to change your avatar, you wanted people to go somewhere inside the virtual world to change? Is that correct?

In that case, that is just the kind of real world-to-virtual world translation that's unnecessary and just complicates things. Like the requirement that you need to wait for a lane in a virtual bowling alley.


As someone who has spent a bit of time in and thinking about virtual worlds....

There is not necessarily anything wrong with making people go to a certain place to do things. In fact, it helps to make some locations in the world special, instead of making everywhere in the universe an analogue for everywhere else, which is a problem with these kinds of things.

However, it helps if some thought is put into these kinds of issues. If bowling alleys are limited in number, then it helps if there are enough of them, or a system is in place to produce more at that time.

Mind that these particular problems may just go away when Home's launch buzz goes down and a more reasonable level of occupancy is established. By that time however the damage'll be done and some people will have simply given up.

robocop is bleeding: After you get done designing your avatar, it's less helpful than the damn Word Paperclip.

I would much rather a Muse feature, a superevolved Paperclip that recommends games, serves as your opponent in single player matches, and so on.


Game recommendations are present, although done by other software (Nintendo does theirs with the downloadable "Nintendo Channel," which is actually super wasteful of system space, being a couple hundred blocks itself and over another hundred for a huge save file). Miis do have some features of what you suggest; some games use them as both player characters and opponents. It's rather amusing in Mario Kart: pictures of Miis, taken from the Mii Channel, are plastered on walls in certain levels (especially the Mall), and if you're playing with a Mii character the game will even switch out character statues in some levels for Miis. Sadly however, what could have been a wonderful, system-defining feature has proved to be so difficult (expensive?) to get rights from Nintendo to work with that many companies have actually gone out of their way to develop their own Mii analogues to use in Wii games. Hence, MySims, We Ski, We Cheer, Carnival Games and a dozen others. It's ridiculous.

I'm still waiting for the Mii RPG, where you get to play as, and fight against, all the Miis on your system, using the Mii parameters as a random seed for stat generation. That could be awesome, and no one's done anything like it yet.

Dammit, does anyone here have a Wii dev kit I could use? Pretty please?
posted by JHarris at 10:35 AM on December 15, 2008


Unfortunately, I doubt that I will ever be involved in any kind of Quincying action, because I don't have a PS3, don't really like avatar based life-simulations, and I don't see myself getting involved in dancing online with strangers, but surely the best reaction to this if it happened to you would be to simply continue with more gusto, saying things like "Wow, that's way hotter!" or "Now you got what I want" or something.

I mean, this whole thing plays on an expected not-too-subtle homophobic reaction, right? Wouldn't the funniest retaliation be to turn that around on the griefer and make them realize that they are now a guy, dancing with another guy, who seems to be liking it...

Or am I just way off base here?
posted by quin at 10:40 AM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Rolly is insane. I mean it should be a $39 piece of crap toy but at $400? It's cuckoo.
posted by Wood at 10:47 AM on December 15, 2008


Thanks Tomorrowful. I'm guessing there's no way to hook up an actual keyboard to this thing. Pretty awkward way to type text, but then so is a cell phone and that doesn't seem to bother anyone.
posted by Outlawyr at 10:50 AM on December 15, 2008


Outlawyr: Sony has actually released a clip-on thumb keyboard that fits right onto the gamepad.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:57 AM on December 15, 2008


You can plug a USB keyboard and mouse right into the front. A wireless setup is less awkward than you would think.
posted by concrete at 11:05 AM on December 15, 2008


Outlawyr, you certainly CAN hook up a usb keyboard to all three of the major consoles. I have one on my PS3, mainly for the browser.
posted by hellphish at 11:37 AM on December 15, 2008


I love LittleBigPlanet, too, but sales have been disappointing. Its October debut barely cracked the top ten, and it's not even in the top 20 software titles for November 2008.

As much as I love it, I don't think it's compelling enough to drive many people to spend $400-500 on hardware to play it.


Anecdotally - LBP was flying off the shelf at 2 retailers I stopped by at over the weekend.

(I am hopeful that there will be a few other games I can enjoy - even picked up a couple other titles just to see...)
posted by jkaczor at 11:45 AM on December 15, 2008


About the waiting in line for a bowling lane: I think it can be a good thing, if done right. The important thing is to make the actual environment fun enough that it doesn't feel like you're staring at a download status bar.

When you go out bowling with your friends, does it annoy you to have to wait a little while for a lane? No, because you're hanging out with your friends. You drink beer, you eat onion rings, you watch other people bowl and shout at the football game on TV. You flirt.

Waiting for a lane can be a social instigator in a virtual world, just like it is in the real world. But the trick is to provide multiple opportunities for casual entertainment and interaction, as well as a sort of continuity of experience throughout the bowling alley. It looks like this is where Home really fails.

Some people who build entertainment areas in Second Life really get this idea; others, not so much. When it comes down to it, the games that the kids play in second life are pretty lame; most of them could run on a Commodore 64 with no problem.
posted by roll truck roll at 11:53 AM on December 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


1. I'm hoping to get a ps3 for Christmas from my wife even though I only really want one for LBP and teh 'Blue Ray'. For everything else, I'm a hopeless X-Box 360 fanboy. They hooked me from the very, very beginning with the Achievement points system which has encouraged me to play every fucking game I can get my hands on just to cheese my score higher than anyone ever in the world. I'm failing by leaps and bounds, but hey, I'm about to break 20k and that's at least better than all the people I'm friends with on Live.

2. Am I the only person who hates my Wii? At first, I loved the bowling. Zelda was neat for about an hour. Smash bros had me for about a week. Other than that, uh, the surgery game was fun and.... yep. I see a brazillion games a week get released and they're all just... crap. Terrible, terrible crap. Wait! Elebits was pretty fun too. For my money though, I'd rather play endless hours of Fallout 3, Gears of War 2... shit, I even rented and played DC vs. Mortal Kombat and had a great time.

3. I don't know why all the systems are copying the wii format, but I sure hope the 360 does more with theirs because, while I like what they've done so far, they need much more customizing options. Unlocking items from games I play to customize my dude would be very, very crescent fresh.
posted by Bageena at 12:58 PM on December 15, 2008


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.

I lol'd.

I can't really understand wasting time playing something like this, though. You know, obviously, that behind EVERY female avatar is a 14 year old boy.
posted by ninjew at 8:52 PM on December 15, 2008


I can also add myself to the list of us who got a ps3 only for the amazing LittleBigPlanet experience, despite no interest in any other games for it (easy consideration since my last console was a Super Nintendo). I didnt know much else about ps3 games and Home didnt change this. I had to use google to figure out what was in Home, and had plenty of time while it loaded each room... anyway, despite the fail of Home, LBP falls at the other end of the awesome spectrum and continues to win win win!
posted by indigoskynet at 9:40 PM on December 15, 2008


The problem is that the PS3 does not have the installed base...

I don't know the numbers, or how they matter in a Japan vs Europe vs US way, but I have noticed over the last year that the ratio of shelf units for 360 games vs PS3 games at Wal-Mart has gone from 3:1 to 3:2 to 3:3.

So the perceived base has certainly leveled, anyway.

(I own both.)
posted by rokusan at 7:32 AM on December 16, 2008


Why are people so willing to assume the reality of other people's avatars, when they themselves have no doubt taken 'liberties' with the truth?

The reactions are pretty funny.
posted by graventy at 11:03 AM on December 16, 2008


The only thing that's really changed is the formation of a nemisis (the internet, and especially the Digg-Boing Boing-Engadget angry nerd axis) to call out each of their missteps. The products are pretty much the same as ever.

Well, that and both Nintendo and Microsoft improved their consoles dramatically from the last generation (especially Nintendo --- they went from a joke console (Gamecube) to a hit). The PS2 didn't face enough competition, I think, and they assumed they would continue to dominate this generation.

Instead, they're in third place and still falling (they sold fewer PS3's this November than last --- both Nintendo and Microsoft sold more despite economic conditions).
posted by wildcrdj at 2:45 PM on December 16, 2008


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