Plebian Plays Playstation 3

I never thought that I’d be writing this article on why I enjoyed my first thorough thrashing of the Playstation 3. My interest in video games has, with the exception of the Nintendo Wii, been limited within the past year to the X-Men Legends series and some occasional skull crushing in WWE Day of Reckoning. I had been over to my friend’s house and had thus far been able to resist the temptation to play the PS3. It sat there, nestled in the darkness of his entertainment shelf, looking expensive and imposing. I was so enamored with the Wii that I never thought I would enjoy Sony’s new entertainment monster. I was dead wrong. Even when played on a non-HD screen like a 46″ Plasma ED, the PS3 delivers breathtaking and stunning visuals. You’re probably thinking, “Of course it does, you moron. And an Enzo Ferrari is a fast automobile.”

First up was turning on the Playstation. Finished in black metallic paint coupled with touch-sensitive controls, the presentation silently screams the extravagant price tag. It wasn’t excessively noisy, and it sounded like a PC with its whooshing fans. Visually, the controller is a near clone of the PS2 style, except wireless (courtesy of Bluetooth), and it feels a smidge wider with surprisingly comfortable ergonomics. For a guy whose hands are big enough that they felt at home on the original super-sized Xbox controller, this was good news. I instantly became a fan of the PS3 controller shape, which I didn’t think I would, since I’m used to the Gamecube and the current Logitech Wingman controllers.

Madden 07 was the first game we played, and the learning curve was nil. The typical football controls I’ve enjoyed since my Dreamcast days pulled through, replete with lifelike grass, dirt stains on jerseys and just about everything else except for the fans. The fan models were kind of generic, with only a few fan types repeated again and again. It’s not that I expect 65,000 individual faces, but I expected more from the $600+ behemoth.


Major League Baseball 2K7 easily bested Madden 07 graphics-wise, as the latter was one of the launch titles for the new high-tech system. The crane shot as the camera flew into Shea Stadium actually gave me a few pangs of professional sports excitement that I had experienced when I went to FedEx Field to see the Eagles edge out my Redskins last December. When you’re up to bat, the wind tears through the batter’s jersey in exponential, hypnotic ripples. When the camera swoops in to look at the player’s face, the expressions are eerily humanoid and reminiscent of the replicants from Blade Runner. The grass looks real and fresh enough to cut, and the dirt cam will leave you spitting out chunks of the infield.

Major League Baseball 2K7 also gave me my first run-in with the motion-sensitive function of the PS3 controller, where it’s used for batting; you have to thrust the controller in a straight line and the sensitivity was pretty high. I was determined to master it, despite being hitless in three innings. Eventually I got a few hits off, but not enough to escape a home-run-fueled 12-3 pummeling and rounded out my first run-in with the PS3. The six-axis controller proved both annoying and fun.

Bottom line: if someone you know makes you an offer to play a PS3, do not turn it down, as — on paper and in reality — it will not disappoint. I couldn’t have been the only skeptic out there. Or maybe I was.