In the last month or so, a great horror was wrought onto my computer. To make a long story short, a child dumped their milk on it. After hours of pulling it apart and letting it dry out, I was left with a computer that stayed on for such short bursts that the guy from Memento could remember everything he did on it before it turned itself off.
If you don't get that reference, then too bad. We're moving on. As you're all most likely aware, Sony held a live streaming conference in late February showing off their next generation system, the Playstation 4. I was without a computer to watch it on, and the streaming on the Playstation 3's browser is pretty terrible, so I was left with one option - I had to journey into Playstation Home to watch. Yeah. Things get much worse from here.
I'll be honest, I tried the Playstation Home thing out a few years ago. My judgment was that the world Sony had crafted was extremely lifeless and cheap feeling. It had been about a year or three since I had last stepped inside Home, so I was in for quite a shock when everything had loaded up for the first time. Sony had completely scrapped their original design!
Sure, it was a more flashy and lively world now, but it still seemed wrong in some way. But that's a discussion for another day. I had a new problem I was facing. The theater where Sony was supposed to be streaming their conference was just gone. They David Copperfielded it. Dazed and confused in this new world, I set out on my search for the now missing theater. Since that story isn't interesting, I'll just say it was replaced with a teleporter that I found after about ten minutes.
Clicking the teleportation device brought up a list of different areas I could go to in the game, including the theater area, which was fortunately only 24MBs in size. Unfortunately, it took about fifteen minutes for Home to download it. I looked at the clock and saw that I only had ten minutes left to get to the right theater! I entered the lobby in as much of a hurry as one lifeless puppet could in a digital world.
Here's where we reach our next problem. There are seven different doors in the theater, all leading to different areas, NONE of them were labeled. It was just seven totally identical doors, each one containing a new area to slowly download. With time running out, I scrambled around trying to find any mention of which door was which. I eventually found a kiosk listing the information I needed, thankfully.
Why they couldn't just put the signs above the doors themselves, I'll never know, but we'll save that riddle for another day. I didn't have time to ponder, so I bolted as fast as my awkwardly animated avatar would carry me and started downloading the area with just a few minutes to spare. I took my seat in the theater and waited for the stream to begin.
Only, it didn't start.
The screen sat blankly in front of us. People started telling everyone over the chat that it had begun and we needed to exit the theater and come back in to start seeing it. Terrified of the thought that I was missing the stream, I exited the theater with everyone else. I hurried my little avatar back into the building only to be met with the dreaded black screen once again.
There was chatter among the other people in the room that the stream might have been delayed for Playstation Home for some reason, and that it would start any moment now. They were kind of right. After a few minutes the stream did start, but the only thing we saw was a small spinning circle in the middle of the blackness. For a solid ten minutes. People began to panic.
People were panicking and asking each other questions, but no one had any answers. Then suddenly, a hairless man appeared on the big screen for but a moment, in those few seconds he stared down at us with a kind of awe. An understanding that everything would be alright. Then the theater completely locked up and my Playstation froze. Screw that guy.
I made it back into the room in time to see the bald man jittering across the stage, pausing, and then transform into a totally new person. But after that strange display the stream started to normalize for the most part. But there were still a few big things nagging me. First of all, the screen was actually virtual. As in, they were playing the stream on a TV inside my TV.
Despite going full screen in the theater, you could still see other player's avatars running around the stage underneath the screen. Little heads bobbing back and forth like I was watching a really bad episode of MST3K. While that was annoying, the bubbles are what tore it. What bubbles, you ask? Well, people in the game have little machines in their inventory which they can activate at any time to make the area more bubble friendly.
The theater should have been one of those places where the bubble blower was restricted, but of course it wasn't. A few minutes into the already delayed stream, some people decided to give the room about 100% more bubbles than it previously had before. The bubbles almost immediately started blocking the screen for those watching. At this point, I physically hated Home off of my hard drive and just watched a super low quality stream on the Playstation Browser.
Keep up the good work, Playstation Home! Without your poorly thought out dead worlds I wouldn't have been able to write this article about my hilarious mistake of trying to watch a stream on the Home servers. I'm sure the application will eventually be fun to use, but now is not that time. As always, thank you for reading.