LittleBigFailure

Soccer season started and the company I work for is in bankruptcy right now. Hence… I’m kinda busy and don’t have a ton of time to play games.

That said, one of the biggest upcoming releases on PlayStation 3 is one I keep seeing certain segments of the hardcore touting as the next big thing, and every time I watch it in action I think about how no one will be able to play it competently enough to enjoy it.

I came upon LittleBigPlanet footage on the PlayStation Store today while browsing for new demos and game videos that were recently posted. I thought, “Hey, this Sackzilla thing is something the kids can watch (many game videos do not conform to Motion Picture Association of America standards for previews that can be viewed by all audiences), so why don’t I download that?” A few minutes later, I fire it up and watch some Sack Boys creating a bigger Sack Boy panted green and then dancing around the screen making faces.

Calvin – “What’s this game about, Dad? What do you do?”

Me – “You can’t tell from this video, can you?”

Calvin – “No, it just looks dumb.”

From the mouths of babes (Calvin’s ten years old for those that don’t know…).

This little exchange and a follow up encounter with Sucker Punch’s next game encapsulate everything that’s wrong with Sony’s machine. The Sucker Punch game? It’s called Infamous. What did Sucker Punch make before this? Three games that are among my sons’ favorites: the three Sly Cooper titles. I had downloaded that bit of video from E3 or the Leipzig Convention or somewhere like that and figure I can take a look at it, knowing that it’s a superhero game of sorts. That lasted all of ten seconds before there were blood curdling screams and the narrator talking about how “no one saw it coming”. I quickly stopped it and Isaac says, “What didn’t they see coming?” (He’s 8.)

Me – “I have on idea. But they never do see it coming, do they?”

It amazes me how completely out of touch Sony is with the audience that bought PlayStation 2. Here are three children sitting down with Pop to check out some games in the little bit of downtime we have on the weekend and one game I’m sure they’ll “get” has an absolutely awful trailer for it that’s clearly aimed at the technogeek “kewl d00d” gamer who frequents messageboards and knows everything there is to know about LittleBigPlanet and the other one shows that the developer of Sly Cooper doesn’t have the time to make games for the kids who bought the games that put them where they are now.

After all of that, just now I thought to myself that maybe I didn’t give LittleBigPlanet enough of a chance. Now I’ve seen other videos of it before, so I know what the gist of the whole thing is. But I go check out a video on YouTube from some gaming TV show and what do I see but a quick cut away after watching two people clearly failing multiple times to work in tandem to accomplish what seems like a simple in-game task. Now, consider that gamers today are way softer than they’ve ever been, seeing as how most games want to hand you the victory with the push of button A, and it’s easy to see that LittleBigPlanet is destined for failure amongst all but the hardest of the hardcore.

The bottom line here is that people really do suck at most videogames, and some of the loudest and most obnoxious among them HATE ACTION-PLATFORM GAMES. The only ones that enjoy them unconditionally anymore are dudes like me who still have all our l337 skillz from our youths still intact, and those youths currently developing their l337 skillz for later on down the road when they have kids of their own and get gaming blogs like this one. It’s nice that Media Molecule is filling that niche, and making their game even more nichey by focusing on those same dudes making levels for them, but it’s not going to set the world on fire. In fact, it might just be one more log on the roaring blaze that’s cooking PS3’s goose.

Ah well, Sony, like Nintendo before them, needed this lesson in becoming too big for their own britches.

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2 Responses to LittleBigFailure

  1. Hey Dave,

    I’ll play Little Big Planet with you. I think you might be right about it, though I disagree that the PS3 will is getting cooked. This game appeals to me because I love games, like you do, and are interested in most things that people try out that aren’t within the normal confines of the industry. However, this game will probably not make a sizable impact with the casual gamer because of the level of difficulty it seems to posses. More than likely, it will be an underground success after all of the people who bought it because of the way it looks end up taking it back.

    Oh well, Sony always misses the point.

  2. Oh man, I really thought I was above this (really, I did), but I feel a fanboy rising within me.
    I think the point is that 8 or 10 year olds don’t buy consoles, don’t buy games, and don’t download preview videos of games not coming out for months later.
    8 and 10 year olds predominately get their games from their parents, and have little interest in the trends and hype surrounding big releases – obviously apart from the television ads released around the games launch time.
    8 and 10 year olds decide which games to buy based on word of mouth, box art and what looks cool.
    From what I’ve seen, LBP looks awesome. I think anyone that isn’t trying to explain it to a 10 year old thinks it looks unique and fun, and could really bring something new to this generation of gaming. If anyone asked me (or any of the others who for one reason or another think LBP looks interesting) what I thought of LBP, i’d tell them it looks good so far. That’s word of mouth. and we know how much children like to mimic others – especially teenagers.
    The preview videos aren’t there for casual gamers, they are for the hardcore that want to know as much as they can about releases months in advance. The plus side is this will filter back to the casual gamers via word of mouth – and closer or after release the marketing aimed at casual gamers will begin.

    As far as infamous and them leaving behind the kiddies that made them rich – this generation of console has given developers more freedom, and the higher graphical fidelity allows for realistic faces and expressions. During the PS2s era, many companies created franchises with toon characters, one reason was because big eyes allowed for face emotion to be displayed – these devolpers are now able to convincingly show emotion on realistic human faces.
    If Sucker Punch really made such great games that Isaac loved in the past, shouldn’t Isaac and yourself be excited about their next outing? A chance to see something different from a developer you know? Or at least be optimistic about their new game?

    I’m trying to re-read my own comment here to see if there is any point to it, but first I think i’d have to find a point to your post.
    I guess Sony and anyone who develop for them is just making the same old mistakes – Sony never learn. I guess the reason they continue to do what they do is because they’ve created the two most successful consoles to date.

    Sorry about that, I haven’t let my fanboy out in a very long time 😛

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