Friday, 6 July 2012

Me? Modern Gaming?

As those of you with whom I'm friends on Facebook will already know, as of this past weekend I not-altogether-enthusiastically joined the ranks of the modern gamers! Well, that's not actually correct yet but I do now possess a current generation console, namely a PlayStation 3 - eeek! But what brought this on? What could make a self-professed 'retro king' step foot into the camp of the accursed enemy?

Just about found space for the PS3 beneath the new TV!
Up until now, my experience with the current consoles equates to a few hours with a friend's Wii (mostly playing Sports Resort and Animal Crossing), around an hour with an Xbox 360 at the Replay Gaming Expo back in November 2010 (playing the splendid Split/Second), and a few hours with one of those guitar games on a friend’s PS3 during my last visit to Brazil. None of these brief experiences impressed me enough to ‘take the plunge’ and actually buy one of the system’s in question but I’ve always held the 360 in the highest regard of the three. This is primarily due to the splendid retro-flavoured updates and sequels on offer for Microsoft’s Live Arcade service as well as the mental bullet-hell shmups getting released for it in Japan so I always thought that if I did buy a current system, it would be that one.

So why the PS3, and why now? Well, the answer to that does have a very loose connection to the theme of this humble blog! In most of the few places I frequent on the internet, I’m known as RetroKingSimon. It wasn’t me who came up with the nickname – I’m not arrogant enough to call myself a 'king' of anything - but I can see how it came about. My enthusiasm for retro gaming of most kinds is known better here than anywhere but I’m also keen on various other things that could be called ‘retro’ as well.

Although far from a complete hermit, I often seek solace in things from the past (or more often, things from my past) and I’m slow to adapt to and accept fancy new technologies. I didn't get round to buying a mobile phone until a few years ago, for example, and to further illustrate the point, just a few weeks ago saw my forced introduction to the world of High-Definition entertainment when my wife bought us a swanky new HDTV. Some of the benefits of this were quickly realised such as the option of turning it into a giant PC monitor. However, being a big movie fan, I couldn’t wait too long before buying a Blu-Ray player now that I finally had something to plug it into it!

My new wares which still haven't been used properly...
I almost bought a normal player but then I realised – doesn’t that stupid PS3 thing have a Blu-Ray player? Even I knew that much about the modern systems and if I’m going to buy something to watch HD movies on, it might as well be something I can also potentially play games on as well! Not long after this revelation I was at my local CEX a few days after payday and I was in luck – they had one which I think is a pretty good one – a 320Gb model which was swiftly purchased along with a couple of movies on those fancy new(ish) discs. I thought it might also be worth buying a game to ‘test’ the new system in that way as well and I have to say, I was rather underwhelmed by the selection (the 360 section, on the other hand, featured several titles I was interested in). Being partial to racing games though, I settled on Need For Speed: Shift which, I believed at the time, was a arcade-style game. Nonetheless, my new purchases were taken home.

Shift - the hardest racing game since F355 Challenge?
I was disappointed to find that the system apparently doesn’t come with an HDMI cable but luckily I had bought a couple of spare ones anyway and was soon treated to the very PSP-ish menu screen the PS3 also possesses. A movie was tested first - Deception, chosen by my wife as it stars Hugh Jackman - so my first glimpse of a Blu-Ray film (outside of HMV and suchlike) consisted of Ewan McGregor in an office! A mighty fine quality picture it was though, but the desire to see my 'arcade racer' was also strong so I tried NFS:Shift next. Despite taking longer than a Commodore 64 tape game to load, it was immediately loud, flashy, and looked very promising. Of course, I soon discovered that it's actually not an arcade-style game at all and is instead harder than ten angry lions, but more on that tomfoolery another time! It looks like a pretty sweet game anyway, although I think I'll need to invest in a steering wheel at some point - I never could get on with those 'Dual Shock' controllers...

And so it came to pass; RetroKingSimon did enter unto the realms of modern console gaming. For a year or so, at least, until the the PlayStation 4, Xbox 720, and Nintendo Poo are released. So what next for Red Parsley? Will your (possibly) beloved retro haven sell out and start featuring less retro content, PlayStation 3 reviews even? Probably not, given my extreme opposition to tagged screenshots and my inability to 'grab' my own for this particular system, but there may be a forthcoming 'Exploring...' post - once I've got a few more games, but which ones do I want? Street Fighter 4 perhaps, Split/Second for sure, maybe even one of those guitar games... Any ideas of any titles that might appeal to a retro-head?


  1. I know I already commented on this dramatic turn of events on your Facebook wall, but I want to do so here because ... well, because I'm procrastinating at the moment, to tell you the truth :P

    Anyway, congrats! I don't yet own a PS3 myself, so I can really pretend to know how great or not great the system and its library are. Still, I think it's great that you've decided to join the land of the living, so to speak, and pick up a 'modern' console.

    I, for one, look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on the system and its games -- should you be willing to share those thoughts, of course.

    As for titles that may appeal to you: Well, for starters, you should know that quite a few indie and even full-on retro game titles can be picked up via PSN. SEGA has released a bunch of 'HD remasters' of its Dreamcast hits, for instance, and some straight-up ports of its old arcade games, too. Also available via PSN: Pac-Man Championship Edition. Actually, I believe the one on PSN is the DX 'sequel,' which IMO isn't as good as the original, but it's still worth checking out if you like Pac-Man.

    Other digital and non-digital games you may want to consider: 3D Dot Game Heroes, Katamari Forever, Tokyo Jungle and Valkyria Chronicles. At least, those are some of the games I'm planning to pick up once I finally get my hands on a PS3 :)

  2. Cowabunga! Welcome to real world Neo. It has more ace games than i can remember. I'm sure it will grow on you, more as time goes by. If not, I'll happily take off your hands! :D

  3. Thanks for the suggestions, Bryan, I forgot about Pac-Man Championship - that's definitely one to get. Galaga Legions too! I find it interesting that you both talk as though I've been missing out all this time - I had another look through a PS3 section in a store today - lots of games at reasonable prices and I was interested in none of them... :| Since writing this feature, I've still not used the console for anything other than Netflix. Not sure what that says about it! Luke, why would you take the console from me - you already have one!

  4. Welcome to the dark side! If you do go for Street Fighter IV (which you should because it's ace) then make sure you get Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition. It's the second revision of the original game and has the most characters. It was released as DLC for Super Street Fighter IV but Capcom also did a disc version which is always better in my opinion.

    The PSN re-release of Daytona USA is also an arcade-perfect port at last that is far better than the Saturn versions in terms of accuracy. I still like the Saturn ports but it's nice to have a convenient copy ready to go on your PS3 menu whenever you get the Daytona urge.

    I hope you get on with the PS3 and find some great games because they do exist beyond the usual generic big-name crap that dwarfs everything else.

  5. Hello sir :) I nearly bought SSFIV when I bought the console, actually. Not sure if it was the arcade edition or not though. I tried a PSN download last night and it was yet more hassle. Really not getting into the gaming aspect of this console...

  6. Honestly, the PSN side of things and the lengthy install times really annoy me too and it makes me long for the PS1/PS2 days of just putting a disc in the console and getting straight to it but there are too many games I'm interested in to ignore the PS3. Like you, I prefer the simplicity of retro hardware and the 'way things used to be'.

    Oh and SSFIV AE looks like this:

    That'll be the one to go for :)

    Like I said before, I hope you find something to like as there's plenty to hate about modern gaming but also some real gems in there and nice experiences.

  7. Yeah, it's not doing it for me at the moment... I've only played two games on it so far. Both needed to download something, both spent ages 'installing', both needed to 'update' the system software or some stupid bullcrap... Good grief, this is the exact kind of thing that always made me steer clear of PC gaming... :| Thanks for the help and encouragement though, we'll see how I get on!

  8. Edit: and no, that's not the version of SSFIV I saw... :P

  9. Another one bites the dust:)

    I actually used the same logic to justify my PS2 purchase a few years ago, I needed a DVD player and I could get a used PS2 for almost the same price as a new DVD player so why not?

    Anyway, don`t forget your retro roots!!

  10. Hi Sean :) Haha, my roots have been solidified by the pain-in-the-arse experience of gaming on this system so far, if anything. I've watching one Blu-Ray on it, played two games, each for about five minutes each, all the rest of the time it's been used for its admittedly superb Netflix service :|

  11. Did you ever buy the wrong console! I hate to sound like a fanboy, but You would have been much better served by an XBox 360. The Live Arcade and Indie Games services have a world of retro inspired fun waiting for you. Having said that, make sure you check out Flower and Journey, two incredible games.

    Oh, and welcome to the 21st century!

  12. Hi Marc :) You're right, if it was purely a gaming decision it would've been the 360 I went for (or, even more likely, none of them!) but the PS3's BR drive was my main point of interest. Thanks for the tips though, I'll check them out :)