Playstation Home is over. Home has been doing its thing for close to 7 years now. It's gone through multiple worthwhile updates, featured plenty of its own games, and been a fun little social platform for those who owned a Playstation 3 to dive into. Now I know there are other actual 'games' that do the same, but for me Home was perfect. While I know the service has a bad rep (or is utterly ignored or forgotten about) by most of the gaming populace I'm going to just reminisce of how I enjoyed my time in Home, in hopes that this is a fitting sendoff.
I was working in a small, local office at the time. Doing what could be described as pushing paper and propping pencils to most. It was horribly boring. Worst boss I've ever come across in my life. My co workers and I got along just fine, but we didn't really have anything to talk about, common ground. It stayed that way until I came back from the local GameStop with a PS3 I purchased with my tax refund. A WILDLY moronic purchase mind you, as the system was still in the $500 range (though I also bought Ratchet and Clank). Now the REAL reason I bought the system is something I'll save for another cBlog but once my co workers saw I had a PS3 the floodgates burst open. Suddenly I find out that they all enjoy gaming in same manner. My supervisor had being playing since the PSX era; other co workers had just started with the PS3. Work got a bit more enjoyable.
Anyway, that year Sony dropped all the goodies coming to the PS3. I don't even remember what they were because only one stuck out, Playstation Home. I remember that sprawling shot with a bunch of folks just gathered around, talking, running around. Showing off your virtual apartment, and then actually asking people to play a game with you from home and launching it right then and there. I mean that just blew my mind.
What you folks here on Destructoid have to understand is that I can get laughably stubborn and set in my ways. Old ways at times. I bought a PS3 for two reasons, one being Ratchet and Clank, the other I'll discuss at a later time. I was really close to returning it a few times. I mean Ratchet and clank was great but the amount of money I paid to play still left a bad aftertaste. When Home dropped though, well that changed alot. For me anyway.
IT IS HERES
I have a cynical line of thinking that goes like this: "This game doesn't look bad; it just looks like a bigger / newer version of X". While that's a horribly way to go about things it just cemented that the PS3 wasn't much of a push forward to me. Games looking better, six axis control, none of that really did anything for me. I had no pride being part of this new generation.
Why did Home change any of that? Well to me, it was something new. It wasn't a game, it was a way to immerse myself into the future. Some folks may have wanted to dip their toes into it but I was already gunning for the diving board and prepping for a cannonball. This felt like the new generation to me.
Yeah that's dumb. It's like the mantra that permeated through 1950's suburbia where talk of flying cars and self cleaning homes were all you could imagine of the future. Well whatever Home was, I wanted in. I wasn't stuck with a set of numbers like some prison cell network (good job Wii) and I wasn't all that into PC gaming at the time either. I mean my own virtual apartment? My own avatar? I could run around and talk to folks? I could interact with folks all over the world while dressed up as a pickle? Sign me up! I could pester folks into playing games with me while looking an idiot? What was I waiting for?
The day I downloaded Playstation Home and made a character I didn't actually talk to anyone on Home. I spent hours playing around with the character creator and was horribly meticulous with my 'apartment'. I mean I'll keep apologizing but I just thought it was so cool. This avatar represents me. This apartment is my apartment. I can invite people into this silly apartment. I can gawk at how pretty the water looks. I can eye the cars moving in the background or enjoy the ambient noise of the seagulls and boats off in the distance. It was the most mundane nonsense and I was going bonkers for it. I could not get enough of it. I stopped the games I owned just so I could enjoy Home more.
WHATS I DOING?
Well after I made myself an avatar and got my apartment up what exactly was I doing? What was there to Home? What happened with me enjoying Home when I could have actually been playing games? What life altering activity kept me from playing video games on my video game console?
Home had no overlaying goal. I didn't need to level up my character. There was no grinding necessary. No calling ten friends and fighting a boss for an hour or so. It was for all intents and purposes a giant, global chartroom. A large amount of environments there just for you to chill in and just talk. I loved that.
I mean sure, there were actual events in Home. Anytime a big game came out for the PS3 you would have an event you could be part of that would net you goodies on Home and sometimes those games would also throw something your way too. It was fun. You got a better understanding of how many folks played these games when you saw half the folks on home adorned in costumes from said games. Watching a Big Daddy do the cha-cha with Ryu from Street Fighter just isn't going to happen anywhere else.
That was the beauty of it. Home was an acceptable companion to gaming on the PS3 AND a fantastic way to relieve stress that came from gaming as well. Hell it was great to relieve stress period. If I found myself stuck on some level, perplexed by a puzzle, or just stuck in a rut my caveman brain couldn't figure its way out of I went on home. I visited the Ratchet and Clank area and danced to the Groovitron till something clicked. If work was hectic that day I just signed onto Home and things just faded away.
Honestly Home got me through a rather difficult time in my life (I'm just barely getting over it right now). Many folks will tell you of a game that did the same, being able to relate to something that happens in game or just allowing the game to settle in as a part of their lives while life has them down. Well Home was that to me, but the difference is that it was simply talking to friends around the world, as a bald guy with a floating crown above my head and TEAMWORK blaring in the background.
I get it though. There's probably a vast majority of this website that didn't bother with Home. It just sat there as part of the interface for the PS3. A reminder that hey, it was there if you wanted to join. I agree that yes, it was overrun by teens and tweens at times who couldn't actually hold a normal conversation with anyone outside of 'HAY GURL CHEK MY CLAN AND APT YO'. I'm not denying any of that. Even Destructoid has its own shirt in Home. Even the claim that Home was little more than a glorified chartroom or a hand me down Second Life of sorts isn't something I'll refute (we had way, way, way less furries. Promise).
I will argue that it held value and was a worthwhile addition to gaming on the Playstation 3. I'm really grateful for it and am sad to see it go.
See you around Home~