So there’s this hardcore gamer who wants to set up his Sony PS3 for the holidays, but he keeps hitting hurdles at every turn, and writes about these travails on his blog. It’s tough for him to find many launch titles he likes (“I settle on Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom because it’s literally the only other game [besides Resistance]… that supports more than one player and isn’t a sports game”), and discovers he’s not able to switch it out with his PS2 (“I won’t give up Guitar Hero, and the guitar controllers do not work on the PS3”), and setting it up with his wireless router is so complicated, he actually starts giving out tech support advice to random readers (“[I]f you came here via Google for ‘Linksys router WRT54G crash network playstation 3 ps3’ the answer is, go to 192.168.1.1 in your browser and look for the DMZ option…”)
And his milestones of pain continue. No doubt many other PS3 owners around the world are experiencing troubles like these, this holiday season, but this particular hardcore gamer is fairly unique, because he happens to be Raph Koster, lead designer of Ultima Online and creative director of Star Wars Galaxies, and– to make the irony even more keen– was most recently a Chief Creative Officer at Sony.
Read his painfully hilarious blow-by-blow tale of personal PS3 woe here and here. His smart and chatty blog is extremely popular with game industry folks, so a lot of his fellow developers already have. (You have to think his observations will have a subterranean influence on them, when they wonder if their studio should create a PS3 version of their latest game.)
In fairness, Koster is also critical of his new Wii (“friend codes are stupid… “[and t]here’s nothing on the Virtual Console that I feel the urge to buy”), but in the end, pronounces, “All in all, it rocks.”
Koster is the author of A Theory of Fun for Game Design, so here’s my own theory of fun for next generation consoles: top game developers should be able to set them up right out of the box without having to first endure a cascade of misery and frustration. (Maybe he was distracted by the launch of his new game studio, but somehow I doubt that.)