Pain station

25.04.2011 21:37

I'm almost ashamed to admit that there is a PlayStation 3 on the desk in front of me. You know, the piece of hardware that lost the official support to run Linux last year and whose manufacturer's master signing keys were revealed earlier this year.

For the moment I won't go into how it's 7-core Cell microprocessor can be used for all sorts of useful number crunching. Instead I want to give my first experience of the system from the standpoint of someone whose last encounter with a game console was probably a friends NES countless years ago.

If you've seen a modern game up close I guess you already know where this is heading. From the first boot on things did not go as expected. Somehow I still thought of these things as simple devices where you plug in a ROM module (OK, it's a disc now) and you can enjoy a few minutes of playing, without bothering to find proper settings or worrying whether your system is powerful enough to run the latest game.

The 10-something settings sub-menus and the list of system requirements on the bundled game quickly disposed of those ideas.

Seriously, I don't get it. This thing is connected with a digital connection (HDMI cable I had to buy separately by the way) to a digital display (an LCD TV also made by Sony). It has all the capabilities to figure out everything it needs to display a picture on the screen. And the first thing it does is to ask me to manually set up the visible area of the screen!? Just to check that this isn't something left over from the analogue days I connected it to another Sony-made HDMI enabled TV and the visible area was indeed a few percent different. With both TVs claiming to support the same 1080p HDTV resolution! Mind boggles. I won't even go into the details of getting the sound working on one of these TVs that involved 30 minutes of digging through those damned settings menus.

Also, the bundled game (a well-known racing simulation I'm told) is far from a thing you might pick up in a few spare minutes. First of all, it requires installation and setup of its own. After that you have to earn "money", buy "things", gather "experience", setup a "profile", keep up a "reputation", live a "life". I thought people play games to get away from all those things for a while.

Actually, everything is surprisingly set up in a way to keep people from enjoying a game in company. You get only one controller in the box. You have to create a user account for each person. The fact that the game keeps up your statistics, virtual bank balance and what not probably means that you can't even give someone a try without worrying that he will mess up this or that part of your account.

I really did not see that coming.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Life


Ah, it ain't that bad. You're talking about GranTurismo 5, of course. If you just want to play it with a buddy, there's an arcade mode with enough things unlocked off the bat. It can be a relatively serious driving simulator, but with all the electronic driving aids turned on, even my mother can handle it... just. :) And the unlockable bits are there to make for the 'game'. You can't have much of a story mode going on in racing games, so new cars and tracks are unlocked via a career mode. If you enjoy the game genre, the career mode is quite enjoyable.

The fact that you don't get two controllers does boggle the mind a bit, but honestly, people don't seem to enjoy split-screen gaming as much anymore. I love it and made my brother buy the extra controller, but the trend is shifting towards everyone having their own game and playing online.

I don't really have much to say on PS3's behalf, but it is amusing to see a Linux geek complain over a complicated piece of software. :)

Posted by Oskar

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