Saturday, March 18, 2017

Gaming Memories - Goodbye PS3

It always makes me a bit sad to write these types of posts, but it won't be my first, nor will it be my last. Earlier this week Sony officially announced that the PlayStation 3 would be ending production in Japan. The console that originally struggled to get off it's feet, only to go on to become what I'd consider one of the greatest consoles of all time, is now finally being put to rest. Although new PS3 games haven't actually been out here in the West for quite awhile, a handful of games were still being released for it in Japan -- mainly JRPGs that we got a PS4 port of. They were also actively supporting updating and supporting the console, but I guess it is finally time for them to move on to the PS4 full time. So today I'd like to take a moment to look back at my memories of the console, and ask that you all do the same as well. As for my story, it's not quite what you would expect.

When the PS3 was coming out, I was one of "those" guys who couldn't care any less, and thought it was stupid. I was still a kid in high school at the time, I had no job, the thing was over $600 bucks, and it had no games I even wanted! Heck I didn't even care about the Xbox 360 at the time, the Nintendo Wii was all I cared about. My mindset was pretty much "why would I buy a console with bad games, and that's expensive?" I still remember watching parody videos singing about how bad the PS3 was at launch, and how the Wii was beating it out. Although I didn't really consider myself one, I guess you could have called me a Nintendo fanboy at the time. Of course as I got a bit older the Xbox 360 started to move into my sights due to everyone talking about it at school, but the PS3 was something that seemed useless to me. Stupid piece of crap console with no games! I can still remember the conversations I had with friends on MSN about it as well, and they all basically shared my same view (including someone else you may know from reading this blog... Who now owns not only a PS3, but a PS4 and Vita as well).

After spending quite some time avoiding the PS3, I slowly started to question if I was in the wrong. When the bakery opened and I had the money to buy an Xbox 360, I actually did consider buying a PS3 instead. The PS3 had some of the games I wanted to buy on 360, but ultimately I decided against it because everyone else I knew had the 360 instead. Personally I'm still glad I chose the 360 over the PS3 at that time, but within a few years everything would change for me.

One day when I was home from college one of my cousins came over to hang out. We didn't do much, just sat around playing some games, but that's when we started talking about the bakery. I don't remember how it happened, but eventually he brought up the box of tip money I had sitting in the corner of my room and we decided to count it and see if I had enough money to buy some sort of new game. Well, I did! But that wasn't what shocked us the most. After throwing cash in there for who knows how long, I had built up well over $300 and could basically buy any game I wanted (or multiple games). That's when casually my cousin said something along the lines of "you could buy a PS3 with that!" And I sort of laughed it off. Little did he know though, he planted the seed inside my head, and I set out on the hunt for the newer slim model.

Finding the PS3 wasn't easy. I don't know what was going on at the time, but it was sold out of every store in the area. I must have called nearly every store within 100 miles of my house, only to be turned down time and time again. That's when a call to a K Mart about an hour away changed everything. "Yeah, we have it!" Those were words I wasn't expecting to hear that day, but my excitement was at an all time high, and I quickly rushed out the door as fast as I could. My dad was home at the time as well, with my mom working overnight, so he ended up going with me so we could also grab something to eat on the way back. Really I was glad he could go with me, as the city was one I wasn't familiar with at the time, and the store was located in a somewhat "bad" area.

Walking into K Mart, I was a little paranoid. The store wasn't in the best of shape, and being in that location I couldn't help but be on edge. The game section was in the back of the store, I noticed some people giving me funny looks as I raced back there (or maybe I just imagined it?), and when I finally walked up to the game display case I was crushed. No PlayStations! Or, so I thought. Turns out the PS3 was hidden behind a building column that was blocking off the display case. Why did they put a shelf in front of a column, and have the PS3s hidden behind it? Don't know, and at this point I no longer cared. The PS3 was mine, and all I had left to do was run over to the mall and buy some games. I was still a bit paranoid about walking out of the building with the PS3 in hands, but everything went fine. We did walk past some guy screaming at and cussing out his crying kid (which my dad made a comment about.... out loud.........), but everything else was ok.

At the mall I managed to find a brand new copy of Valkyria Chronicles, and LittleBigPlanet. While LBP seemed interesting to me, the only reason I bought it was to have something else to play. The main reason I was there, and the main reason I even went with my cousin's idea was actually because of Valkyria Chronicles. VC was a game that I had originally wanted since the day it was announced, but was unable to buy because it was PS3 exclusive. I always wished that it would one day come to the Xbox 360, and after watching the anime adaptation of it I wanted it even more. This game alone was worth it to me, and I was so happy to see they had a copy in stock. By this time though it was already getting late into the day, and I had to wake up early to go to work the next morning...

When I finally got home it was well after dark, and I only had about an hour to set the PS3 up and start playing it. Back then I still didn't know much about the PS3 or what would all be needed for it, and I didn't know about these so called "HDMI" cables that let me play games in HD (as my 360 used component cables). I was a bit sad to see the PS3 didn't come with one, but that's when I remembered a guy at Best Buy tricking me and my mom into buying one a few years before -- back when we got our very first HD TV. "Oh, you need this to even use your TV" he said, and went right over to the shelf and picked out the $80 one. We didn't know any better, and when we came back with it and the TV we both felt like we were taken. That HDMI cable sat in storage for a few years after that, but when I bought that PS3 it finally had a use. That night I would spend about 20-30 minutes playing Valkyria Chronicles, and about 10 minutes on LittleBigPlanet before I went to bed. Around that time I realized I didn't have much else I wanted on the PS3, but I figured I'd just go to the store later and see what I could find. Before long I was introduced to games like Infamous and Uncharted, and I couldn't get enough of them.

After that, the Xbox 360 would continue to be my main console for quite some time. I'd get a new PS3 game here and there (Another Century's Episode R was one of my earlier ones), but if it was multiplatform I would always go with the 360 version. That was a trend that continued up until the day my Xbox 360's disc drive broke, and I started buying PS3 games instead. Jump ahead to today and there are now shelves filled with PlayStation 3 games, and about just as many filled with PS4 and Vita games as well. The PS3 is what brought me back to Sony, and I'm glad it did.

Thanks for everything PS3!

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